Daily Archives: December 2, 2011

11 reasons why Tottenham Hotspurs can NEVER finish above Arsenal in the League

The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham goes way back and fixture is generally regarded as a six-pointer whenever both sides meet. Every football league has its own special sets of fixtures between rivals and the North London Derby is widely regarded as one of the biggest spectacles in English Football.

Down the years, the matches between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs have produced moments of quality and individual brilliance from footballers that have placed their names in the folklore of their clubs. Moments like Thierry Henry’s magnificent solo run in the 3-0 victory, Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal of the season in the 3-1 victory or David Bentley’s unbelievable long range projectile missile in the 4-4 draw could only be produced in a match of this caliber.

There have been epic encounters that provide enthralling displays for even the neutrals to enjoy. No one expected an unlikely comeback from Tottenham when they were two goals down with only five minutes to spare. Nobody also expected a Tottenham comeback when they were two goals down at halftime in the Emirates after they were outplayed by their illustrious neighbors but the second half was a different ball game.

The first North London Derby this season at White Hart Lane had it all. Arsenal’s recent scourge of the Derby, Rafael van der Vaart turned out to be a better handball player than a footballer as he controlled the ball cannily with his left arm before drilling it past Szczesny. Aaron Ramsey scored Arsenal’s equalizer after a lovely team move and Kyle Walker scored his first Tottenham goal from some distance even though fingers were clearly pointed at Wojciech Szczesny for his role in letting the ball skip past him easily.

However, the game was marred by a horrific injury suffered by Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna and he’ll be out till the New Year to say the least.

Tottenham has been in a rich vein of form this season and most Spurs fans believe that this will be the season where their Arsenal jinx will finally be broken but here’s 11 reasons why Tottenham can never finish above Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger

Since arriving in Arsenal in 1996, Arsene Wenger has never finished below Spurs and I’m pretty sure that he won’t want to end the season behind the club’s arch enemy with Champions League football probably at stake. Arsene Wenger’s 15-year stint at the club has seen him finish above Tottenham in stunning fashion and I’m confident that it’s going to stay that way.

Tottenham’s record against the traditional Top Four

Up until the 20th of November 2010 at the Emirates, Tottenham were on 68-game winless streak against the traditional top four sides of the Premier League. They’re always second best when they play Manchester United and there are times when they leveled Chelsea pound for pound but that fixture at the Emirates can never be forgotten by the Arsenal faithful as they watched their club capitulate in grand-style to lose the game despite being two goals up at the half time.

Tottenham started their season with a 3-0 loss to Manchester United and followed it up with a 5-1 drubbing in the hands of Manchester City. They managed to get a win past Arsenal and they’ll play Chelsea soon enough.

As long as they continue to drop points in these fixtures, Arsenal will definitely skip past them.

Tottenham’s Inconsistency

Tottenham matched Manchester United scoring record for a game in terms of goal difference when they mutilated Wigan Athletic by nine goals to one two seasons ago but it was really funny to know that the same Wigan went to White Hart Lane last season to win by a lone goal.

There were many more fixtures like Tottenham’s 3-3 draw against Blackpool when they showed their inconsistency and that trend will definitely continue as the season progresses.

Injuries to key players

Like every football team, Tottenham revolves their football around key figures like Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and more recently Emmanuel Adebayor therefore injuries to these players will be disastrous to Tottenham’s hopes of a Champions League finish because the replacements are not as reliable as the key players (with the exception of Jermaine Defoe and Roman Pavlychenko).

History

History has its way of putting additional pressure on some sides over certain issues. Most of the players from Tottenham would like to finish above Arsenal but the history factor will clearly put doubts on the minds of some players if they are actually capable of finishing above Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger’s edge over Harry Redknapp

Arsene Wenger has remained firm at Arsenal while Harry Redknapp has moved across England to manage many clubs with the most recent being Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham and It’s clear that the head-to-head pendulum swings on Arsene Wenger’s side if you want to juxtapose both managers.

Harry Houdini is a great manager by his standards but I feel that Wenger’s edge over him and his club will be another reason why Tottenham can’t finish above Arsenal.

Robin van Persie’s goal scoring form

The Flying Dutchman picked up where he left off last season and he’s currently leading the club’s scoring charts with 17 goals already and the fact that he has become a goal scoring centurion will be an added incentive for Arsenal’s lethal finisher.

His goals can propel Arsenal to a Champions League place at the end of the season and that will definitely move Arsenal above Tottenham.

Arsenal’s pedigree

Arsenal is a club that has qualified for the Champions League group stages for 14 seasons in a row and the knockout phase for 12 seasons a row and I’m very sure that the players know what’s expected of them as the season progresses.

Bragging rights

In recent times, Arsenal always had bragging rights over their neighbors until Juande Ramos ended it in grand style in that 5-1 demolition in the Carling Cup semis of 2008. That game also unveiled a little feud between Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner.

Arsenal saw off the threat of Tottenham in subsequent years till that 2-1 defeat in White Hart Lane that showcased Danny Rose’s sumptuous volley and Manuel Almunia’s horrible goalkeeping . Tottenham added further misery in the 3-2 reverse last season in November before an enthralling 3-3 thriller in April.

Arsenal fans may have forgotten about the Premier League till next season but finishing above Tottenham will give them satisfaction in more ways than one.

Jack Wilshere’s bet

Jack Wilshere recently dared the Tottenham fans with a £3,000 bet that his side was going to end up against Spurs with Charity being the benefactors of the winnings. Arsene Wenger welcomed the idea and said that he would ensure that Wilshere wouldn’t pay the money.

That clearly means that he wants the Tottenham fans to pay………after their team finishes below Arsenal.

Unpredictability of the Premier League

Last season showed how topsy-turvy the Premier League could be. Manchester United lost their unbeaten record to Wolves, Chelsea got spanked at home by Sunderland and they were plummeting in mediocrity for a large chunk of the season before challenging for the trophy. Arsenal on the other hand drew a match despite being four goals up and were the only team in the league to finish 4th in a two-horse title race with Manchester United.

Tottenham leapfroged Manchester City to the last Champions League spot two seasons ago from a Peter Crouch goal but the rangy forward changed from hero to zero when his own goal thwarted Tottenham’s fading hopes to claim fourth place.

That’s how unpredictable the Premier League can be.

Summary

In all my years as an Arsenal fan, I’ve never seen the Gunners finish below the Spurs.

I’ve also been very confident with this assessment to the stage that I’m still in the opinion that if Arsenal ever ends up in 17th place, Tottenham will get relegated.

You know what that means.

Sayonara.

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Gooner Daily Award Nominations for the month of November

Remember, remember the month of November.

The month that saw Arsenal continue its blistering form despite the fact that it has always been regarded as the club’s bogey month in recent times. Arsene Wenger and his men played six games in the month across three football competitions and November saw the Gunners stay at the summit of its Champions League group while the team maintained its good form in the Premier League. However, the Wenger boys were ousted from the Carling Cup by the moneybags from Manchester City.

The month of November saw Arsenal secure three wins, two draws and one defeat so feel free to place your vote in the eight categories placed for the month of November. Don’t forget that it’s going to be used for the Gooner Daily season review and final season awards come May.

Save of the Month

As expected Wojciech Szczesny continued his fledgling Arsenal career between the sticks while Lukasz Fabianski was relegated to the bench before making his only appearance on the last day of the month in the Carling Cup quarter final defeat to Manchester City.

Arsenal conceded eight goals in the month of October but the club’s defending improved in November as the goals were reduced by half to just four. The goalies also played their part in making the feat possible and the nominations for the save of the month are Wojciech Szczesny’s save from Loic Remy’s shot when Arsenal hosted Marseille; Szczesny’s save from Moussa Dembele’s shot when Arsenal hosted Fulham and Szczesny’s save from a Nathan Pickington free kick when Arsenal visited Carrow Road to play Norwich City.

Feel free to vote in the section that you feel was the best.

Last month’s winner was Wojciech Szczesny’s save from Lee Cattermole’s header (Sunderland, 16.10.11): 78.92% – 161 votes

“…..an error by Jenkinson allowed Sessegnon to send a cross to the Szczesny’s far post with Lee Cattermole set for the kill. Sunderland’s captain headed the ball towards goal but Arsenal’s goalie developed the reflexes of a cat to make an unbelievable save.”

Culled from Arsenal 2 Sunderland 1: The Flying Dutchman Spares Arsenal’s Blushes

Assist of the Month

Arsenal’s attacking play somewhat reduced in November as only eight assists where provided for goals this month unlike the month of October when the Gunners dispatched 14 killer assists that cut the defense like hot knife through butter.

The three assists that were noteworthy in November were Alex Song’s brilliant cross to Robin van Persie after taking on a host of defenders when Arsenal hosted Dortmund, Theo Walcott’s inch-perfect cross to Thomas Vermaelen when Arsenal hosted Fulham and Song’s defense splitting pass to van Persie when Arsenal visited Carrow Road to play Norwich.

Last month’s winner was Aaron Ramsey’s pass to Gervinho (Stoke, 23.10.11): 65.82% – 129 votes

“As Arsenal continued to press and probe Stoke’s defense, the breakthrough arrived when Ramsey cleverly chipped the ball over the defense to Gervinho who timed his run to perfection. The Ivorian brought the ball under control before finishing emphatically with his left foot.”

Culled from Arsenal 3 Stoke 1: Robin van Persie proves his worth to Arsenal in gold

Goal of the Month

Arsenal scored only eight goals in the month of November and it’s noteworthy that three players shared the goals amongst themselves with Robin van Persie having the Lion’s share with five goals to his name; his vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen had two while Mikel Arteta had the last one.

The three goals that caught the eye include Mikel Arteta’s placed finish when Arsenal hosted West Brom, Robin van Persie’s impudent chip when Arsenal visited Norwich and Thomas Vermaelen’s strong header when Arsenal hosted Fulham.

Last month’s winner was Robin van Persie’s free kick against (Sunderland, 16.10.11): 53.88% – 111 votes

“When it all seemed as if all hope was lost and Arsenal was heading for another disappointing draw, Benayoun passed the ball to RVP but the striker was impeded by the rugged Wes Brown. Like Seb Larsson in the first half, van Persie took his time and let out a few bursts of air before curling the ball over the wall to Mignolet’s net”

Culled from Arsenal 2 Sunderland 1: The Flying Dutchman Spares Arsenal’s Blushes

Match of the Month

Arsenal played six games in November and managed to win just half of them so it’s only befitting for me to add the games Arsenal won as the contenders for the match of the month award. The nominated games were Arsenal’s commanding 3-0 victory over West Brom, Arsenal’s impressive 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal’s van Persie inspired away 2-1 win over Norwich.

Last month’s winner was Chelsea 3 Arsenal 5 (29.10.11): 96.52% – 194 votes

“HEY CH3L5EA! WHAT’S D MATA? U LOOK TERRYFIED. DID U CECH THE TIME? IT SAYS 3 PAST 5!”

Culled from C-h-3-l-5-e-a (3) A-r-5-3-n-a-l (5): Captain Van-tastic burns the Bridge

Worst match of the Month

I can’t really say that there were real “worst match of the match” contenders this month but the Gunners disappointed their ever-faithful fans in three notable games. The boring 0-0 draw against Marseille, the disappointing 1-1 draw with Fulham and the 0-1 loss to Manchester City which was caused by a Sergio Aguero sucker punch.

Last month’s winner was Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1

“While the club’s from Manchester have secured six wins and a draw in their first seven games, Arsenal has secured its fourth loss in the same amount of games.

The media Vultures will start flying around Arsenal and I’m pretty sure that more talk of crisis will dominate the headlines. I’m not going to defend Wenger or his club with the “early days” joke because we already in October and Arsenal is 12 points off the pace.”

Culled from Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1: Arsenal gets Walker-ed on derby day

Most Improved Player

In the month of November, the players gave their all in service to Arsene Wenger and the club but three Gunners stood out as the most improved players for the month of November.

They include an impressive Laurent Koscielny that deputized well at right back, a more intelligent Theo Walcott who laid on a brilliant assist for Thomas Vermaelen and the exciting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that was a thorn in the flesh for Manchester City.

Last month’s winner was Aaron Ramsey: 85.13% – 166 votes

Most Disappointing Player

There were three Gunners that produced inconsistent performances in the month of November and they were worth noting.

Andrey Arshavin spent a good chunk of the month in the dugout but he was very disappointing when he took on the pitch, Gervinho was heavily involved in good buildup play but he left his shooting boots somewhere in Ivory Coast and Aaron Ramsey showed sparks of good play but switched to provide frustrating moments in games.

Last month’s winner was Johan Djourou: 42.78% – 83 votes

Player of the Month

Three Gunners where truly exceptional in the month of November and it’s my pleasure to announce the prestigious nominees for the month of November. Arsenal’s vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen that has returned to full fitness to produce stellar performances as well as scoring some nice goals, the red-hot Robin van Persie that has refused to stop scoring and the resurgent Alex Song that has clearly become a fan favorite with that Messi-esque run against Dortmund.

Last month’s winner was Robin van Persie: 81.16% – 168 votes

This month, Robin van Persie has received stiff competition unlike last month where he had a landslide victory.

The voting sequence will last for three days and the results will be published on Sunday. The link to this post will be added at the end of subsequent posts.

Let those politicians will always say: Make your vote count.

Sayonara.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

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