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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

The Emirates Stadium

22/12/07

12:45

On Sky

Arsenal V Spurs

Arsenal and Spurs will indulge in the 157th North London Derby on Saturday when Juande Ramos brings his Spurs' side to The Grove for the first time.

Arsenal will be fighting to stay on top of the Premiership when the teams meet, while Spurs will be fighting to stay 12th. The Gunners could end the day 4 points clear of title rivals Manchester United, while Spurs could fall back to 15th in the league should results go against them.

Although Ramos will be bringing Spurs to Arsenal for the first time, it will in fact be his second visit of the season.

Ramos brought his Sevilla team to Arsenal in the Champions League, then watched them get totally out-classed as The Gunners smashed three past the Spanish outfit.

Both teams are finding form again. For Spurs it's the first time in, well, a long time! For Arsenal, it's a recovery from a dip they suffered in early December.

Don't expect too much flowing football come Saturday afternoon. Spurs will be as desperate as usual to get something, anything from the game, while Arsenal's new found spirit has seen them roll their sleeves up and get stuck in when needed.

Since Ramos' arrival at The Lane, Spurs have started to find some belif and some balls. Under Martin Jol their play was as gutless as the man that managed them.

The bad news for Spurs is that only one team has come away from Arsenal with anything this season. Manchester United grabbed a draw.

Even Chelsea, who are the league's in-form team, came away with nothing. And that was just what they deserved.

And with all of Arsenal's first team fighting fit and rested during the week, it doesn't look too good for Arsenal's neighbours.

Vital Quotes:

Robin Van Persie says he knows just how much this game means to Arsenal fans. RvP told Arsenal.com: 'When I see the fans in the street, they tell me that the Tottenham game is the one they want us to win.

'It means so much for these people, whether they are at the training ground, or when I am out shopping.

It doesn't matter where, everyone speaks about this game. It means a lot.

'You can sense there is a special atmosphere. It is similar to the games against Chelsea and Manchester United in terms of atmosphere and that's what I like the most.

'I just love to play those games when the fans are on top of it, they are loving it and every single piece of action in the game gets the fans involved. It's great to be a part of it.'


Spurs' boss Juande Ramos has had his fair share of derby games when he managed Sevilla. Matches against local rivals Real Betis often ended with trouble. Ramos himself became victim when he was hit by a bottle, but he insists it does not affect him: 'I've forgotten about it,' he said.

'It didn't affect my confidence. The following week I was on the touchline

'I hope it never happens again on a football pitch.'

'It's something that happens in all countries and not just England, people will throw insults at their opponents.

'As long as it doesn't involve violence then that is something normal.

Arsenal Team News:

Denilson is out after seeing red against Blackburn. Arsenal's only other doubt is Theo Walcott. The England international is suffering from flu.

Manu Eboue's injury is not as bad as first thought, and he is back in contention.

Robin Van Persie is in line for a start after recovering from his knee injury.

Fabregas and Hleb suffered no reaction after making their return agaisnt Chelsea, and both should start.

Player to watch: Cesc fabregas

The midfield whiz has 6 league goals and 8 league assists to his name so far this season.

He loves just this sort of match and already has a goal against Tottenham to his name this season.

Spurs will look to shut him out the game, but he's far too good to do that to now!

Tottenham Hotspur Team News:

Spurs have been dealt another blow after Ramos revealed skipper Ledley King has not trained for 2 weeks. Bale is also still out after former Gooner Muamba injured him earlier in the month.

Zokora is out after being sent off against Man City. Striker Robbie Keane returns after being sent off against Birmingham.

Player to watch: Berbatov

He's one of only a handful of players worth watching at Tottenham. He's started to find some form again under Ramos.

Match Prediction:

2-1 Arsenal. The Gunners are playing too well for Spurs to take anything from the game.




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday December 20 2007

Time: 8:56PM

Your Comments

COME ON ARSENAL COME ON ARSENAL
princeoflove909
I am exspecting free flowing football from the gunners. I just cant see the spuds giving our best 11 much trouble. The current Arsenal best 11 are simply lightyears ahead of spuds and with only Theo out we could not be much stronger and at home in front of 60000 fans I exspect a few goals and a clean sheet.
Armory
bit confident are we not? I fell a shock on the cards :-)
merlin
confident yeas and if you want to avoid the shock keep your fingers out of the socket will ya.
Armory
their first team played midweek of course so we'll be more fresh and im expecting (dont know why) a monster performance from Hleb, and a good win. They're defence just isnt up to our fast play. lets hope they try to play football aswell.
ArsenalRob
i think arsenal will go in and play their game.. stick with the best starting eleven.. 4-4-2.. persie an ade to lead the line.. and bang in a trio of goals.. and keep a clean sheet.. persie, ade and bendtner(coming off the bench) to score.. and i think its about time bendtner got his chance in the first team.. whatsay ppl??
go4it_adi
YEAH THIS WILL be a win I feel. I dont feel quite so confident about games after christmas but lets deal with spuds first.
gazzap
Rob's point is a good one. We played Kids XI against Blackburn, while they played their first team on Tue. They also have quite a few defenders out. With the number of chances we create and the goal-scoring form we're in, we should be able to score a few. But whether we can keep a clean sheet - the only Spurs players I'd worry about are Berbatov and Keane because it's an effective partnership. Apart from Cesc, I think Ade is a player to watch - he seems to enjoy scoring against them doesn't he! Whereas RvP hasn't at all - there's extra motivation though. I wouldn't be surprised if we go few-nil up then Arsene sends on Bendtner to join the scoring fun. :D
Louisa
I get that feeling everytime we play Spuds now that, well, it has to happen some time doesn't it? The sun shines on a dog's arse at least once a day.
Little Dutch
Hahahahahha read the 1st paragraph here: http://goonerholic.com/?p=432
Louisa
Lol FatOldDave always has good articles come NLD time.
gunnerkid107
does anyone know who the spuds have left in defence...???
ArsenalRob
I want Bendtner to play more than ade, just feel more confident watching him, I never think ade will score!, hey ho we shall see! Got a bet on with a mate at work who's going to win by the greater margin, arsenals first or seconds :)
nakcuh
they will have to beat you b4 long hopefully three times in next couple of weeks
mick66owl
nakcuh, You never think Ade will score? He scored the goal of the season so far against spurs. Plus he has a habit of scoring goals agianst Spurs, like Pires.
gunnerkid107
hehe I know he does score, I just never think he will :P I know fully I have no point at all but just saying! :P
nakcuh
Lol I kinda get what your saying. Its either a great goal or he misses a total sitter. I think he scores a a goal this game. With RVP, Hleb, and Cesc also getting one while Keane will get a useless goal near the end and celebrate like he won the cup even though he is still 3 goals down :p
gunnerkid107
Let's MURDER the spuds! I'm sure those deluded spuds fancy themselves to beat us because they have "Special Juan". Spuds have trouble containing Ade cause their CBs don't have the speed and barely above average in the air.
BMF
Stuff the cockrells for Christmas!!
Millwalljohn
i think for the first time in a while the spuds might bring a good game coz of change of managers the previous 3 or 4 ties only felt like derbies in the buildup but not on the field. we are in excellent form and spirit and i think it will give us the edge...
anonymous
ArsenalRob, in answer to your question. Spurs should have lee at lb dawson cb kaboul cb and chimbonda rb.
spursfan4eva
I'm not sure a win is going to be easy. Ramos is a good manager, and the Spuds have put together a winning 'run' recently ;). We should have almost a full squad to choose from, so thats a positive.
prits
Beating them definitely will be harder this time. The best thing for us though is that we are at home, we have a full squad to choose from and most didn't play in midweek so all should be fresh. I think these next three games against Spurs, Pompey and Everton are going to set the tone for the rest of our season. If we can collect 7 points out of 9 that would really set us up nicely.
Gooner_Vin
Spurs should have lee (s*******) at lb dawson 9chuckle) cb kaboul (haaarrrggghhh!) !cb and chimbonda (Muahahahahahahah oh please stop it...)rb. spursfan4eva
FatOldDave
We got Milan!!!!!!!!!
saisho
The trouble with this match is that everything points to a comfortable Arsenal victory. Whenever that appears the case we end up losing or drawing. In some ways i'd prefer a similar build up to the chelski match last week, then the players are well up for it before the game actually kicks off.
Ashburton Gooner
Good point AG but as it is a derby i think they will still be up for it.
AB_Arsenal
MILAN IT IS!!!! Bring it on I say!
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
But they were one team I did not want!
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
We'll beat Milan, mark my words. Would have preferred Barca, Milan is a fecking boring city.
Little Dutch
if there is any team in the world that can beat milan, its us. their slow and ageing playeres against our bright youngsters with free-flowing football. Gattuso vs Mattuso. Cesc vs Kaka. Could be pretty amazing stuff.
ArsenalRob
if you look at the sets of midfielders on each team.... what a clash... but i still think our style of play gives us the edge here.
ArsenalRob
Gutted, i have a ticket for today's game with Spuds but can't go cos I'm not well. No one else I know can make it so a total waste! Gutted!
Gooner_Vin
No RvP today. Weird.
G4L
its 40.18 minutes of the game...yeah, am surprised too and surprisingly enough, our midfield is matched with their's so far. We need to change the current tactic..cross your fingers gooners
CoastarianGooner
I am a but worried at the moment this game now has the same feel as the Newcastle and Boro games...lets hope we see an improved 2nd half. I think a second striker is needed, the sole striker option is not working.
AB_Arsenal
i don know wat are we playing.. we r not winning any loose balls.. i hate to admit it but spurs hv been the better side in the opening half..we need something different.. hleb has been non existent in this game so far.. i know its harsh on eboue but if we wanna saty on top for christmas we have to move hleb on the wing and put on another striker
McGooner
That was a poor first half by us, we can't get worse in the second. I really don't see the value that Eboue brings to our side anymore, we need to get rid of him I say. And I'm no football expert but Ade comes and joins the midfield far too often meaning there's noone in the centre.
Gooner_Vin
We can't have Ade and Hleb keep playing in the midfield like that. Need Bendtner to come on and Hleb to go back to RM...
Louisa
I know we don't want to lose, more than we want to win. Are the players thinking of avoiding defeat more than fighting for a win too? They look like they are.
Louisa
I concur with you guys. We definitely need RVP replacing Eboue at the beginning of second half and not later than that. Hleb seems to have a bad day so far. Also, Eboue is slow in the build up he needs to pace up...it's a ferking derby!..Do you guys feel the fire of the derby yet? I ain't feelin it yet.
CoastarianGooner
47:22..ADEBAYOR!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now we are talking :-D
CoastarianGooner
What are build-up to the goal, what a pass from Cesc what a finish from Ade! Our Arsenal's back so soon, even sooner than I thought they would! Arsene must have worked some magic during the half time break!!
Louisa
My Bad!!! I started watching the match after the line up has been named..it is now I realise RVP is not even in the bench..lmao...we need Eduardo then to show us some killing touches in place of Eboue and move Hleb to RM.
CoastarianGooner
Yes L, it was an awesome build up. We are now benefiting from the much improved finishing of Adebayor.
CoastarianGooner
Cmon lets get a second!!!
AB_Arsenal
To be honest, having said how poor we were in 1H, I kept thinking how Spurs are always like that, getting a good start, then screwing things up against us towards the middle and the end. Hope it keeps going like this!
Louisa
Come on, people, we were just testing the spuds in the 1st half, we wanted to how much they have actually improved, by looking at them, they are not that special really, even if they have "Special Juan". Just look how quickly we scored in the 2nd half, when we mean business.
BMF
I like that Boateng is out..he has been their third good player in the first half after O'Hara and Chimbonda respectively.
CoastarianGooner
Ouchhhh and Berbatov scores...hard to admit but nice goal.
CoastarianGooner
Now it's starting to look like a derby...
Louisa
Damn penalty...grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...I will have a heart attack now...LOL
CoastarianGooner
ALMUNIA
AB_Arsenal
BENDTNERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
AB_Arsenal
Arsenal 2 - the scum 1!!!!!!! Bendtner scores!!!! Good thing Alumina saves that penalty, as it wasn't because Toure got the ball, looking at the replay.
BMF
CoastarianGooner, Boateng is okay for a spud. But Bendtner plays out there much better. I would hate if he is sold.
BMF
ALMUNIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA..Way to go Bendtner...I really envy those attending the match in Emirates Stadium today...what a moment of turn of events....real derby moment
CoastarianGooner
WOW........ I'M going to write my entire will to Bendtner
KnightOfARSENAL
BMF, don't worry if Bendtner was to be sold, he would have been before start of this season but AW wants him in the squad cause HE KNOWS
CoastarianGooner
I hope Bert doesn't give out a free kick near our box. He has been doing that of lately when never he plays.
CoastarianGooner
LMAO KOA..include me too ;)
CoastarianGooner
Whenever Ade scores, we never lose. Call me superstitious, but I was doubly happy when the scorer was him, especially on a derby day...
Louisa
Superstitious Louisa...LOL!
CoastarianGooner
Must say Almunia's save was the 2nd turning point, the 1st one being the start of 2nd half where we went for it straightaway with a goal.
Louisa
It is all over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..... and its a 2-1 win for us!!!!....my MOTM is Almunia. What do you think guys?
CoastarianGooner
***** YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AB_Arsenal
Very true Louisa
CoastarianGooner
We were lucky to win this game....thank you Almunia.
AB_Arsenal
Now here's to 3 points for Everton at OT...
Louisa
Poor Ramos..his 2nd visit in ES and 2nd loss too....same year...or rather today and this year on Sept, 19th!
CoastarianGooner
Go Everton!!!!
AB_Arsenal
Almunia is Arsenal's No 1..Period.. AND BENDTNER has arrived.. we 're top at the end of christmas and nobody can do anything abt that.. Now can u dig that.
McGooner
We don't have to play all that well and we still beat spurs. Sheesh, what's it going to take for them to beat us?
BMF
Louisa, with the current form of Everton, they can beat any team anywhere when they have a good day. The only setback is that they might be tired as they played on Thursday...I truly hope that won't affect their performance tomorrow.
CoastarianGooner
LOL McGooner....True BMF we didn't play our real game but still won..can't wait for our reserve team to teach them a lesson again in few weeks to come!!!
CoastarianGooner
Is it me or our players look kind of bored playing against the spuds? They don't have the same fire when chelski, Pool or Man Utd. I guess, our players don't have that movitation when they play against a small team.
BMF
AB, yes lucky, but don't care! We're lucky for Lennon (or was it Keane?) to hit the crossbar. We're lucky for Sagna not to concede another penalty (I'm not saying that one on Taarabt was a definite one, it's marginal and happened in a split second, it could have been a penalty when it's not our day you know). We're lucky to have Ade and Bendtner still score when Cesc, Hleb and Flamini (not long back from injury, mind) weren't at their best. On the other hand, when the commentator was not helping by saying "He doesn't miss, does he?" when Keane's stepping to take the penalty, I think I was gonna have a stroke...! I 95% expected to concede that goal. But having said all that, Almunia's definitely not lucky, he moved so fast (immediately after Keane showed he was aiming to his right) to save that penalty! Great credit to him!
Louisa
I would like to say, very good article Nick and spot on prediction. You didn't get all arrogant like over at the spud vital with their pre-match article.
BMF
sensational result (if not the performance), happy christmas and happy days
JakeB
I'm *****ed :@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keane scores and we should get the 3pts ... it was a good game though. If we play like that I'd expect to beat your second string over two legs, remember that was an injury ravaged Spurs out there.
OnlyOneHotspur
Can't wait for LD's match report. For sure it (especially the 2nd half) was awesome to be at the stadium today.
Louisa
Nice one Louisa...Same to you JakeB
CoastarianGooner
We only remember it's an off day for the likes of Cesc, Flamini and Hleb. But no matter, because they're not going to play CC games. Oh, Bendtner will play in the coming 2 Spurs games, that's for sure.
Louisa
I'm not complaining Louisa i ******** love that we won, and also was never expecting Almunia to save the penalty , but he did and proved me wrong.
AB_Arsenal
For some reason I thought Almunia would save it and guess what!!! he did...brilliant stuff.
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
that was a great game. BMF, the writer of this article may not have been arrogant but your comments sure have been. it's not that your players were bored, we just outplayed you for parts of the game. remember that wasnt even close to our fully fit side yet we still took the game to you. we are definately catching up to your level. oh and what a player taarabt is i cant believe hes only made 2 appearances and both as a substitute.
totz2
We were awful but we won fecking delighted.
EBOUE4LIFE
AB, I was answering OnlyOneHotspur who said "If we play like that I'd expect to beat your second string over two legs, remember that was an injury ravaged Spurs out there." And I added quite a few of our players had an off day too. Even if they deserved to get something out of the game, I thought a draw would have been fair too, given Ade's goal and Almunia's save. Those 2 moments of brilliance alone should have earned at least a draw, no matter how much they keep saying they outplayed us (in patches). That's my take on it anyway.
Louisa
I thought there's an element of luck in our win. But look at Liverpool now, THAT is lucky. Poor Distin scored an own goal without even knowing it. Poor James - good I didn't pick him in the Fantasy game. LOL
Louisa
Anyone else saw Jens after they showed Almunia save the penalty? For some reason I felt sad for him. I think he knows he will not play for us again (atleast he wont play the important games)
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
WYBI, yes I saw that, he seemed gutted and almost trying to control himself. You're right, he was leaving before and he's well gone now. Speaking of Almunia, did you guys watch the TreeHouse charity film on arsenal.com and youtube where Almunia's the main star again (after the Crossbar Challenge thing)? I'm glad the Almunia doubters should just give (shut) up now.
Louisa
I agree wouldyoubelieveit, it looked as though he has made his mind up. He's too old now to get the sort of contract he would want, so this GK transition was inevitable (and surprisingly smooth)
JakeB
WYBI, one thing to add is that he won't play for us ever - the less important games will see Fabianski in goal. He's doing well in CC (nothing he could have done about the 2 Santa Cruz goals at Blackburn) and still young and improving. I think Jens'll be gone in January. Time to say thanks and bye to our once-invincible-but-mad keeper.
Louisa
Just like letting our previous stars leave..its the right time to let Mad Jens go with Bert too..let's cash in January.
CoastarianGooner
By the way, today's derby had its first 2 goals built-up from back heels ;)..by the way guys..do you all think AW told the players to play easy today bearing in mind we will beat the spuds one way or another?..we have a busy schedule of playing away to Portsmouth and Everton on 26th and 29th respectively and then playing at home to West Ham on new year.
CoastarianGooner
How much will even get for Jens? Definetly less than a million pounds
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
WYBI,no, at least a million not less than that.
CoastarianGooner
I don't know guys he's 38 and i read that he's hoping we let him go for free in Jan or no-one will buy him until the summer (when he's a free agent). Perhaps Arsene will retire him from Arsenal with no more than a pat on the back, and not drag out a sour end to years of great service.
JakeB
We don't need 1m or 2m to be honest. We sold Aliadiere for like 2m. Jens despite his age has skills still worth more than that. But throwing his temperament into the package, he'll be lucky if any German club take him back home for 1m. The only thing I want is that he doesn't stay in England and potentially come back to "haunt" us. Don't say that's impossible, "even" Aliadiere did to a certain extent by earning a penalty at their ground.
Louisa
Louisa, I won't be surprised if he haunts us in future if he plays against us as we have had ex-gooners haunting us whenever they play against us.
CoastarianGooner
has Lennon found his way out of Clichys back pocket yet?
ExRox
totz2, Arsenal are going through a dip in form & have been for a few weeks, however the difference between this season & the last few is that we can now win games despite being poor to average. Spurs are currently on a high & with nothing to lose as nobody expected them to get anything at the Emirates, they were free to go & enjoy themselves. Yet once again, they still couldn't pull it off. Do you really believe spurs are getting closer to us? I honestly don't think so, if spurs don't win a cup then they are in financial trouble, because you aren't making europe through the league. As for those saying we were lucky, I just don't buy it. We didn't play well, but Almunia had nothing to do all match. Keane hit the crossbar & had a penalty & Berbatov (surely the biggest diver in the premier league) scored a goal, other than that though, spurs were toothless & lets face it, they had no injuries upfront!! Arsenal were also denied a clear cut penalty on Rosicky, so if anything spurs are lucky that the scoreline wasn't worse.
Ashburton Gooner
AG, we deserve the score line. Look at the ball possession in the end, the spuds just came for a draw today. They were loosing time whenever they had a ball when it was 0-0. As for our lads, I suspect they were playing easy to save their energy on more stronger opponents than the spuds (hint: look at the next 3 games we have to play). ;)
CoastarianGooner
Almunia stole the show and rightly so. Will anyone still questoin him being our No. 1? For me the last bit of doubt was cleared during the Chelsea game. Mad Jens also knew when Almunia saved that game-turning penalty, he had to go, sooner rather than later. And I watched MotD, which showed Rosicky's 2 valid (IMO) penalty claims and 1 where Sagna did trip Taarabt (one of their better players btw). So if your friends/colleagues/family challenge your bragging rights about Arsenal's narrow win today, you can mention that. ;)
Louisa
The Spurs team and fans must be feeling hard done by. Poor them, this was the closest they got to drawing/beating us. To be honest, even if that penalty went in (no shame on Almunia either), I still thought we could come back with a late equaliser with our team's stamina, spirit, skill and resilience. And btw, Rosicky's penalty claims not given came BEFORE that turning point of the game. We could easily have lost bcos we played poorly. But we also could easily have one had those decisions gone our way.
Louisa
I like how the Guardian match report sums it up nicely: "The killer Arsenal goal (Bendtner's winner), though, was characteristic of their gift for conjuring up something at precisely the moment it is needed and Tottenham's tendency to let things drift when the game is looking promising for them." That's what sets us and them apart. Luck, partly in the form of ref decision, was only one of the factors that decided this match. So I hope you guys' bragging rights are intact. Happy Christmas!
Louisa
 

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