Arsenal vs Spurs – The Destructive Derby

by Luke McGee

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Every fibre of my being wanted to avoid writing a post about this game, but the build up ahead of tomorrow’s North London clash has awoken a monster within me that must be allowed to vent.

The game is annoyingly taking place at a time when a win or a loss for either side will be of some significance.

For Spurs, a win would represent only the second time this season that they will have achieved back to back league wins, whilst a win for Arsenal will fill both the team and fans with confidence as they sit at the top of the deck for a few hours.

Should Arsenal lose, it will cause 60,000 or so eyebrows to be raised and serious questions needing to be asked of the team’s home form.

So there we have it, a big game with moderately significant consequences for either team that will alter the shape of the league. Why then have I been getting so upset with all of the pre match hoopla that we’ve been subjected to before a ball has even been kicked?

Cast your mind back 10 days or so to the insane media furore that surrounded the Manchester derby, only for the game to be a 90 minute sleeping pill in which neither side gave a performance befitting of champions.

As someone who doesn’t support either Manchester team, when asked prior to the game the result I wanted, I responded “a 22 man brawl and a points deduction”.

I imagine that in the build up to this weekend, this is a feeling felt throughout the nation as disproportionate coverage is given to a game that although important, is no more than a match that slightly reshuffles the top of the table, from the perspective of every other team.

I can’t be alone in thinking that placing such emphasis on these local rivalries is extremely unhealthy for everyone involved, fans included. Fans expect to see their teams playing with “passion” and “pride”, especially in a derby match, but what does that really mean?

We know from experience that the truly great players are emotionless professionals who play with a straight face and don’t really care what’s happening on the terraces. Look at someone like Ashley Cole, the most consistent English player of the past 5 years, he doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks of him.

Are fans really so deluded to think that even the club’s management care about local rivalries? Football is run by professionals, and that’s exactly how it should be.

Is it healthy for fans get so worked up about one particular game? Is it fair to expect young players like Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott, who were best friends when youth players at Southampton, to fully understand the history of this rivalry?

I’m already dreading the post match reports, whatever this game’s outcome, and whilst I appreciate that I cannot alter the press love affair with Tottenham at the moment, I beg both sets of fans to remember that these “high emotion” games must always be regarded and spoken about in context. If we can do that, the world will be a far happier place.

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  • Jj

    Well written post which doesn’t offend either side, makes a change.

    I’m going for an Arsenal 2-1. They’ve hit form while everyone around them has lost there’s, spurs are so hit and miss this season too

  • Luke McGee

    Thank you, I support one of the teams, but there is no point in offending anyone 🙂

  • Luke McGee

    And to give you a better response, Arsenal are building on two solid but not great performances, that usually means they are due for a run in form. However, home form is a concern.

    Spurs are mental and unpredictable at the moment, so I wouldn’t want to call it.

  • Mystical Mike

    I’m with Luke here, very tough one to call, we seem to win a few games, get closer to Chelsea then blow it, one thing is for certain, neither the chavs or man u are playing well, this is our best chance in years, let’s not blow another chance, especially at home to our rivals!


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