I was wondering why the kickoff was scheduled for 1pm PST today and now I know: the rest of the world has moved their clocks back on a normal schedule, but we here in ‘Merica are not moving our clocks back until November.
Irregardless of U.S. clockism, the kickoff is 8pm GMT and unless you just awoke from a coma you know that Arsenal are hosting Tottenham Hotspurs in the first North London derby of the 2008/2009 season. Everyone is ramping up for the match with Adebayor looking for revenge, Red Action reminding us of so many great moments and calling for the supporters to be in full voice, and, contradicting Adebayor and the DVD dealers on Seven Sisters Lane, The Boss is playing down both the 5-1 loss last year and the effect that Redknapp could possibly have on the Spurs.
What is important is how well we will play – not who sits on the Spurs bench. In the longer term, he will change things for Spurs. But for this specific game, it is about how we play.
That’s a ballsy statement by Wenger, but it is the truth: we are at home, we are on form, we have a full squad to choose from, and we are a top club and they are a bottom club. Arsenal are the favorites here and we need to play like it: play our game, control the pace, frustrate them, take our chances, and let our discipline shine through. If we can do that they will get frustrated and fall back on their old habits and then their indiscipline will come to the fore. In a lot of ways this game could be a watershed moment for both clubs — as Wenger says — depending on how they play.
How we play will largely be a reflection of the team that Arsene picks. There’s some speculation that he will pick 2 goal/3 assist Denilson to start along side Cesc today, but even the dot com is using qualifiers in picking him as one of the key matchups today. That’s only natural, since Le Boss is talking about rotating the squad and the impact that his super subs might have. It’s kind of foolish to speculate but I suspect that Arsene is planning on bringing Theo on late tonight — especially if we find ourselves behind.
So, let’s not find ourselves behind! Right?
Finally, if you want to have a laugh, The Times Online’s “The Game” subsection is seriously comparing Arsenal’s 7 trophies to Spurs 2 in some vain attempt to show that “the gap” between the two clubs isn’t as wide as some think. Uhhh… right.
Ok, I’m off to the tub to get ready for work. Many of us (Spurs and Gooners alike) are meeting up at Doyle’s for a replay of the match at 3pm local time, join us if you are in town and remember not to mention the score if you see me!
Up the Arse!