Tottenham ft. Mike Dean vs. the mighty Arsenal. It might be one of “those” days…

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by Phil Gregory

Well here it is: the big one, a bigger tie than the so-called top of the table clashes with Manchester Untied and Chelsea for most Arsenal fans. Many Tottenham fans felt that this could be the season they overtake Arsenal given our high profile departures but let’s be honest, how many times have they said that?

The Arsenal ship has steadied recently with healthier points totals on the board in the Premier and Champions league in recent times. Despite our poor start, we’re a mere two points adrift of a Tottenham side (who albeit have a game in hand) supposedly in the ascendancy in North London, so let’s see where we’re at come May.

On the injury front we’re without Koscielny which means Song will likely continue in central defence. Squillaci is fully recovered, but lacking in match fitness whilst Djourou and Vermaelen are still out, the latter needing a couple more weeks than originally anticipated. Walcott and Gervinho are both in contention for the game subject to fitness tests, with the former the more likely to be passed fit. Benayoun is back in the squad after a brief absence, Diaby is nearing a return after the international break but Wilshere is of course out for the long term.


Sagna Mertesacker Song Gibbs

Frimpong Arteta


Walcott Van Persie Arshavin

Arsène Wenger’s team selection against Olympiacos betrayed a couple of things about his thoughts for this game, with Ramsey and Van Persie rested. Neither of those were particularly shocking choices, but it does indicate the importance he’s placing on young Aaron this year.

There’s not much to talk about with the eleven, really. There’s a little guesswork around the results of the Walcott and Gervinho tests, so I’ve gone for the safe option and presumed the more likely of the two will be passed fit, the other not (maybe on the bench). Apart from that, Koscielny’s unfortunately continued absence means Song has to go into the defence again, which results in Frimpong coming into midfield as in midweek.

Apart from that the rest of the team is pretty straight forward. Wenger seems to prefer the leftback that I don’t pick, so expect to see Santos starting in the back four.

It’s Spurs, we all largely know what to expect.  They’ll probably go 442 and put out a couple of wingers, so all being well we should dominate possession with the extra man in midfield and with our wide players coming inside to help out. A high line should keep Adebayor far away from goal and negate his aerial threat somewhat, as even if he wins the header, he can’t threaten goal with it. We’ll have to watch out for the pace of Defoe playing such a high line though.

I’d expect a few hair-raising moments on the break as we like to get men forward and Spurs have plenty of pace to break with.

I’m not going to put my usual score prediction in the article today, as I suspect this game won’t be decided on the balance of the two teams. I’m, of course, referring to RefWatch


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40 Replies to “Tottenham ft. Mike Dean vs. the mighty Arsenal. It might be one of “those” days…”

  1. Dean worries me, the media, the AAA have their knives sharpened, does Dean as well?
    How come Wenger makes a complaint about refs, he is branded a whinger and worse, King Kenny complains direct to Mike Riley, 2 games in a row, he gets every decision his way? The Rodwell sending off should launch an enquiry into…. at best the competence of some of this leagues refs.
    Have a feeling Dean will step in for Arry if needed tomorrow. Really hope the likes of Frimpong / Song or anyone else for that matter are aware enough not to give him an excuse. But still, I predict a dodgy pen for Spurs, maybe due to one of Bales screaming at 150db tumbles, and a red card for an Arsenal player

  2. with or without ref arsenal’s chances to take something out of this game are slim.

    Now they need to be extra careful.

  3. @ Mandy Dodd

    I had a feeling that Everton would be shafted by Atkinson; following the Wolves-Liverpool disgrace. The plot thickers & the disturbing fact is the bias in the EPL refereeing seems to be ever more blatant.

  4. If we take a 5-0 lead, Dean can’t screw us the way Phil Dowd did when we led 4-0 against Newcastle. Like I’ve said: Every Arsenal shirt comes with a cannon on the front and a knife in the back.

  5. @Mandy: Rodwell’s red card indeed deserves investigation. I just looked back at the incident and he made a clean tackle on the ball, feet on the ground and no intention to hit Suarez. He only hit Suarez with his knee after having played the ball and Suarez went graciously to the ground, as he is wont to do at the lightest touch.
    But here is an interesting fact: in 39 EPL matches between Everton and Liverpool, 13 times an Everton player has been dismissed. That’s once every three games! Furthermore, eight of the dismissals have been in the last ten home games for Everton. That’s one big home disadvantage!

  6. There’s an article on this game about our move away from zonal marking in the Guardian

    And I thought it was interesting that the Everton fans were so surprised by the way their team was treated v Liverpool. One only has to look at the Liverpool Wolves match (see the review to see just how biased one ref can be – all the wrong calls in that game favoured Liverpool).

    Leaving aside this game I think we are starting to get a very clear view of which clubs are benefiting from “strange” decisions by the refs this season – and there is no way this is balancing out over time.

  7. “I’m not going to put my usual score prediction in the article today, as I suspect this game won’t be decided on the balance of the two teams”

    If the ref makes any mistake, blame him after the game. This is just pathetic and unmature (and you don’t look very young tbh).

  8. Lets talk less and lets focus on our strngth. That way we will be focus on how to hit them where they are the weakest and at the same time not to let them pounce on our weakest i. e. being expose on the counter attack and at set pieces namely corner kicks and free kicks around the box. I have not an iota of doubt that we can score a goal or two but I duly hope that our boys dont switch off at crucial moments in the game which are the last ten minutes or so of each half. Thats where this Arsenal team habitually like to concede. Lets hope for the best.

  9. Guardian:

    JohanOtbaG you really ought to pay attention before calling people pathetic and immature – it really does make you look rather foolish.

    First, the pictures of people at the top of this site are not pictures of Phil who wrote the article. There’s nothing wrong assuming this is the case, but to base such bizarre libels on such an assumption is daft.

    Second, I can only take it that you have not read ref watch for today’s match, or the report of the Liverpool Wolves match which I cited above. If you have and disagree with the conclusions or comments fair enough – put that in, but just to ignore all this huge amount of research and data so that you can be rude to people is well, rather silly.

  10. This could honestly be a great game – it’s just unfortunate that a “great game” doesn’t always provide a result that favours us.

    What I’m looking for is that moment of star potential from our side that’s going to provide the key moments. RVP is probably the most talented player on the pitch today, but he needs quality balls in great positions.

    This game could also provide key opportunities for our burgeoning keeper to establish himself right at the top level. I believe that one or two key saves could secure a win for us.

  11. Tony//
    You don’t get my critizism at all do you?

    I read most of the Ref Watch, it’s a very good article indeed. But what the hell does that have to do with todays game? Do you really think Dein is supporting Sp*rs in his decisions because of errors he made in the past? Hahaha!

    Having said that I don’t like Dein, he gives penalties far too often. But maybe we could get a penalty today because it’s Dein?

  12. Arsenal should get a basketball coach to come in and show the Arsenal playershow players should defend set pieces. Maybe Kroenke could fly out someone from Denver.

    Anyhow, during set pieces, corners and the like, there should be man marking. Zonal defending should be used in normal play.

  13. Just seen MOTD again, Moyes looked like he was up against something he could not control. A few comments about the ref visiting the two teams training this week and that he should not have been in charge of that game – wonder what he is saying and what he knows?

    Back to today, the headline writers and AAA will all be putting their thoughts together for post game comments. They will the will trodden route involving power shift, spineless, no steel , not enough englishness, weak defence, Ade, Scotty Parker/ Arry Gawd bless em, Wenger for the chop, crisis , leadership, transfers, fighting for mid table etc
    Just wonder what they will be saying if it does not go according to the script they wish for?

  14. Half Time and the ref is already deciding the game. No handball and no yellow-red card.

  15. I’d look to bring on Park & possibly Benayon if things don’t change, Park could find a pass and Yossi can score and is good going forward.

  16. Yet another hit and hope 30 yarder against us! Surely we have already suffered our quota of those

  17. Think the team are in a spell at the moment where anything that can go wrong most probably will and at the worst possible time. We all have those spells and they can take a while to get out of.
    I guess the media are indulging in a collective w&nkfest at our demise but we were in that game for much of it.
    Top 4 is going to be difficult without key players on the field, on that note, does anyone know how Sagna is?
    And where was Chamakh today?

  18. @ Johnny Deigh

    Looks like van der Vaart already has a basketball coach! Also Dean and/or linesman needs an eye test.

    The result today was disappointing, but the team gave 110% and deserved to get something out of the game. Overall we were the better team and played well despite the large number of enforced changes.

    I don’t think we should be despondent, it looks as if we are beginning to gel as a team and with players to return from injury we will get stronger. Lets stuff the spuds next time!!

  19. That is the key Bjt, getting key players back. There were some plus points, Coquelin played well against the greatest player in the world ever, Scotty Parker although Walcott put in a worrying performance, sometimes he just goes missing.
    But we continue to have far too many key players out injured, looks like we have just gained another one. God help us if we lose RVP, but as Stan said no point worrying about things that may not happen.
    Worth remembering, this Spurs side are at their peak, we are rebuilding, yet they only beat us on a hand ball, and another highly speculative shot. That is not what the media will tell us but it is the truth.

  20. @ Mandy Dodd

    Good points, we are rebuilding and some of our young players including Coquelin look as if they will become exceptional players. What we really need is one or two of them to come through this year just as Wilshere did last season.

    But, even now, with all our injuries, we were not outplayed by the much vaunted Spuds.

  21. just looked at the official site, no certain news yet but the Bac injury does not look good.
    Wenger is not what Napoleon would call a lucky general. Maybe we need a Shamen to piss on the 4 compass points of AG or something. You do wonder where this spell will end!
    This injury worries me, I like Jenkinson but do not think he is yet ready at this level, maybe we were even a bit hasty in losing Eboue, warts’n all

  22. I thought we played well overall really. I saw a few worrying signs though. I’ll try and explain:

    a) Gibbs gets forward far too often, which by itself is a good thing if he helps in maintaining possession. But invariably there’s a hole and a 50 yarder is hit into that space leading to a CB getting dragged out. He must learn when to go forward much like Jenkinson.

    b) Our best passer on the night was Alex Song, which for me is worrying if you have Ramsey and Arteta along with Benayoun and RVP in the side. All those times when the media cursed for ‘walking the ball in’..that’s our strength, and we’re not really keeping possession as well as we should…and when we don’t do that, we’re a little vulnerable.

    c) We visibly dropped after goal 2..whether that is because of the CL hangover again..I dont know, but hey even Spurs played Thursday night rt?

    In a nutshell, we played well in pockets and there were a few gritty performances, with Coq delivering another polished performance in central midfield and Mertesacker looking good as well. But largely I didn’t think we were too superior to Spurs and a draw would have probably been a fair result.

    Lets hope results go our way soon and we keep plugging away.

  23. We have to keep plugging away. These situations can be a couple steps forward followed by one backwards.
    Our decline, media over the topness aside has been quite alarming, if understandable. Maybe we did become a bit too reliant on the performances of Jack, Cesc and Nasri, even at a subconscious level.if so, that is going to take time to fix.
    Wenger also has the option to buy in Jan if he has to, I am sure he would rather not but TV , JW and now BS are worrying injuries.
    Would be great to see Diaby back, but again, from what I leep hearing, that is far fron a given

  24. Painful yes but also an expected loss-could have been worse-given the number of efforts/near misses on goal/corners spuds had. Wonder why we keep conceding long range goals to Spurs? Wenger plays a high line- Do our attacking players defend well enough?
    Yes Coquelin looks a decent prospect-and probably a better right back than Jenkinson.
    The rest is best forgotten until after the international break.

  25. anyone know if any of our regular CDs can play at RB?
    If Sagna has a broken leg – 4 months plus??

  26. Not sure how long Sagna will be out, but they are talking about a broken fibula down by the ankle. Normally a broken fibula isn’t that bad – 6 to 8 weeks out. However perhaps it could be more complicated because of it being near the ankle.

  27. This meant that when Sagna went off we had no defenders over from the back 4 of last season….
    I really wonder if the second goal would have come if he had been on the pitch because our right flank went asleep when they had their throw in.
    Szczesny could have done better but surely how come they always score from such a shot out of a thousand against us? That’s 3 years in a row now…

  28. I think Cocquelin could fill in at right back if needed. he has played their for the reserves on a few occasions.

  29. Most of defensive problems have been because our midfield isn’t cutting it. We need Song and Coquelin more in our midfield, not in our back 4. I know it’s an emergency, but if we can’t control the midfield, we can’t control the match.

  30. I think Song did really well in defence but he then was very much missed in midfield. Not saying Cocquelin was bad (au contraire) but Song is miles ahead in his overall midfield game compared to Cocquelin.

  31. Unfortunately, losing sagna was the key, not for the first time. But reading other blogs, you would believe it was a performance on a par with old Trafford, some of these dudes must have seen a different game to me.

  32. @mandy dodd thats why i have resolved to not visit the stupid blogs sick and tired of the same old doom and gloom BS they write after every defeat..apparently wenger is a blind man and we are not allowed to look at contributing factors(i.e referees decisions,whats happening behind the scenes and yes the one curse that keeps hounding us called injuries)and that we should just blame wenger for everything…blame wenger for our “crisis”,blame him for england failures,blame wenger because he critised poor ryan”mental trauma” shawcross thug play just because he cried(forgetting that he nearly cost ramsey his career),blame wenger for eduardo`s broken leg,blame him for global warming and ofcourse blame him for the ongoing middle east sorry but im not so riding on this media captained ship

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