10 years, and counting?

For the past ten years, North London football has had a shadow cast over it by one man and four syllables: Ar-sene Wen-ger.

As their closest neighbors and traditional rivals it’s no wonder that more than any other club Tottenham have measured their team against Arsenal and their managers against Arsene Wenger. But if Arsenal remain unbeaten again tomorrow, they will equalize their longest single-team unbeaten run of 19 league matches (previously held against Chelsea and Villa). Given that dominance and that we are their yard stick, you can easily see why Tottenham have had five different managers in that time and spent almost £50m thrashing around in the transfer pool this season trying to rebuild the team that saw them reach their zenith: 5th place.

Much has been made of this dominance in the press today but no matter how much I’d love to see Thierry Henry equalize in the last minute or Bergkamp slot in off Ian Wright, or any of the great goals that Arsenal have gotten in the past, those times are over. Those teams have been blown up, the medals are hung, and both clubs go to battle on Sunday looking a shell of their former selves.

You’ll pardon me if I hear Arsene Wenger’s words about dominance and see them for what they are: a vain attempt to play mind games. The only things that count as far as Spuds are concerned is the 4-4 draw at Emirates in October and the re-signing of Robbie Keane in February. Everything else will have been a blur in the preparations for this game. They will be sipping tea from their 5-1 commemorative mugs, and slapping backs reminiscing over the 4-4 draw and how they were there the day they “beat” Arsenal.

Keane will be there too, regaling the team with his Liverpool goal against us, describing each moment in exacting technicolor detail. It was probably the highlight of his life; scoring a goal against your old rivals for your new “dream” team. The bitter taste of failure he felt every day at Liverpool certainly was assuaged by that goal and so he’ll surely be desperate to re-live that moment.

Arsenal, for their part, have not met fan expectations and (as I sit here watching Villa with a 1-0 lead over Blackburn) look set to be fully 8 points adrift of the team that should never be considered a rival. Crucial injuries have added injury to injury and despite some folks’ hope that Cesc and Rosicky might make an early return, Eduardo’s prolonged recovery after similar predictions should indicate that this team has a lot more limping along to do if they are going to finish this season with their Champions League spot intact. If Arsene’s surprise admission that he’s considering including Arshavin, who hasn’t trained a single game with Arsenal and hasn’t played competitive football in 2 months, is any indication Wenger is acutely aware of the danger and desperate to keep them in the race.

No, Arshavin’s not going to come in and rescue us tomorrow — we’re going to need the likes of van Persie, Sagna, Adebayor, and Nasri to put in a monster 90 minutes. There’s no doubt that Tottenham will be up for the match. Hell, they’re probably already planning the parade, the theme of which will be “How we saved our season and knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League.”

Let’s rain on that parade, shall we?

Clash of the Titans

Arshavin prepares for the North London derby

It’s spelled d-e-r-b-y but pronounced “darby.” I don’t know why, it’s just one of those mysteries, like why Kevin Davies’ name is spelled like Davies but pronounced “c*nt.” No one knows why, it’s just how it’s pronounced.

Arsene hasn’t given his Friday interview yet so this is sort of like a second day off in a row: I just make shiat up. Hey, I could get a job at The Sun!

Anyway, ahead of the North London derby on Sunday the press are whipping the fans into a frenzy by asking “Which is the bigger club?“Actually no one is getting whipped into anything with that question because it’s so prima facie retarded that it only draws derisive laughter. Who’s the bigger club? How about the one that’s worth $1.7bn? How about the one who use their money wisely and actually built a bigger stadium, instead of just designing Emirates Two and calling it “Naming Rights Stadium?” Or how about the team that develops talent instead of just bringing back in failures from other teams?

Or how about the only team that has realistically competed with Man U for the league title over the last 10 years?

It’s such a preposterous question it’s almost not funny (sips coffee from Spurs commemorative 5-1 victory mug). There is no comparison, Spuds are at the foot of the table and Arsenal are in 5th place and hoping to continue their lossless streak in order to mount a challenge for 4th place (I hope to never write that sentence again). St. Totteringham’s Day may come early again this year.

That said, this won’t be an easy match. Spuds are good at scoring goals and Arsenal are good at leaking them. We have Spud killer Adebayor who is dying to get his groove back, they have Robbie C*nt, who scored a goal for Liverpool against Arsenal. We have a team of youngsters, they have a bunch of Arsenal rejects who love nothing more than to stick in a rat faced goal from mid-field.

It’s true that if the Spurs team is up for the match, and why wouldn’t they be, the game could easily go either way. It will be a tight affair and as they say “Spuds will fancy their chances.

Tomorrow, there will be a full preview with team rosters and viewing times/locations. Until then, let’s all ask the Gods to bring us the Adebayor who scored this goal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duHse4_iItg]

Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player, this is not a repeat.

People dramatise these things a little bit” — Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis shows his exceptional command of sarcasm.

Despite what the World’s Least Reliable Newspaper claims, Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player. The player himself said that he signed the papers at 16:58 on Monday. The FA then approved the deal and then registered him with Arsenal. Furthermore, Aston Villa is not pursuing any claim against Arsenal in today’s meeting of Premier League clubs, though there will no doubt be an inquest into why it took until Tuesday to announce the deal.

The only thing left for Andrei is to get his work permit in order, then he can start training, get match fit, and maybe play in a game at the end of the month.

Irregardless, Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player, full stop.

There’s actual news going on, people! Sure, none of it is Arsenal news, but there’s real life news out there. Like David Beckham saying he wants to stay in Milan now. I guess instead of bringing football to America and teaching Americans how to play, he’s decided that he should stay in Milan and teach Phillipe Senderos how to play.  Or what about Micah Richards getting arrested?  So, not only is he a crappy footballer, he’s also a mean drunk?  Or how about the fact that Everton beat Liverpool in the final minute of their clash, and ITV didn’t broadcast it??? This is important stuff.

Surely there’s something better to do today than sit around worried about whether Arshavin is an Arsenal player or not?

Like have an 80-1 bet that Arshavin will be PFA player of the year. That’s what I’d do if my country wasn’t run by a bunch of backwater puritans who made online gambling illegal and yet there’s a f*cking casino on every corner, across the street from the church, where they have bingo night.

I guess instead I’ll just enjoy the day “off” from worrying about anything. After all, we’ve got the Friday presser tomorrow and I’m sure there will be plenty to worry about after that.

See you then!

P.S. Oh for f*ck’s sake… I just went on the dot com to look at their Sunday’s Key Battles article and there staring at me is a rat faced gambling addict xenophobic loser. Just what I needed to disturb my calm.

P.P.S. If you need further convincing that the player is not ready to play or that the deal was done on time, watch this interview with Ivan Gazidis (requires Microsoft silverlight plugin, I don’t know why they couldn’t do it like everyone else and use YouTube or any of the other flash based players.)