The THREE reasons why Arsenal lost the derby on Saturday

By Avenell Dave

North London derbies are strange affairs.

I spent the week comfortably anticipating putting the cock-shirt wearing upstarts in their place and yet, as I walked to the ground on Saturday morning, a feeling of expectation had been replaced by one of anxiety.

Let's be honest, T*tt*nh*m are a far better outfit now than they have been for some time, and that isn't a nice thing to have to contemplate.

One look at their twitchy-faced idiot of a manager or the way the owners are trying to squat in Stratford as a fall back if their stadium plans fall flat says all you need to know about the lack of class at the club.

And for 45 minutes it was easy. Too easy.

There were cheers for Samir Nasri when he refused to shake William Gallas's hand and jeers for our former captain whenever he touched the ball (neither of which should be the Arsenal way, but there you go), but when Nasri and then Chamakh scored, you'd have been forgiven for thinking it was all over.

But I couldn't help thinking at half time that we may rue the missed chance Marouane Chamakh had when he failed to shoot from a decent opportunity.

Memories of two years ago when we let a comfortable lead slip in that 4-4 draw are still too raw and fresh to provide the comfort any rational fan might expect.

When RedKrapp brought on Jermaine Defoe, the entire balance of the game shifted.

Suddenly, our centrebacks had two strikers to worry about and the deep-lying runs from Rafael van der Vaart, without the cover Alex Song should provide to stop the Dutchman from pulling the strings.

The first reason we lost is that Arsene Wenger did not seem to react at all to the chance in T*tt*nh*m personnel. We were instantly on the back foot.

Perhaps that was the time to bring on Theo and play him right up against Gareth Bale to stifle their width.

Whatever. We left it too late to make changes and as soon as the first had gone in, I'm afraid, the mood around me confirmed that there was likely to be only one winner and it wasn't us.

Which brings me on to the second reason.

We all know what being an Arsenal fan is about; the frustration, the anguish, the sense of anger when new quality signings don't come and the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory all too often.

But that's when the fans need to get behind the team. I had people behind me arguing with each other, almost causing a punch-up. Guys, we're on the same side and the moment we start arguing amongst ourselves, the opposition have an advantage we don't need to give them.

Every time I tried to start chanting, no one around me made a noise. When the team needed to be urged on, we let them down.

People started to leave, people tutted and moaned and the players could tell.

No wonder we have such an abysmal home record of three defeats already this season. The players must feel uptight when the Club Level-ers and the fairweathers who turn up when it's warm or a glamour game start getting on their backs with no understanding of what the word 'supporter' actually means.

We pay ridiculously high prices for our tickets and we have a right to expect a decent level of quality but criticising the team during the game does us no favours.

Of course, and this is the third reason, the players have to take some responsibility as well.

Wenger can claim that we played well in places and some of the stats suggest we had the majority of possession, but as he said on ATV afterwards, we didn't maintain the concentration needed in a game of that intensity.

Only Wenger knows why the improving and impressive Johann Djourou was dropped but Laurent Koscielny looks like a player struggling to cope with the demands of the Premier League.

But I am not blaming him solely - the entire team lacked heart and desire. As I have said so many times, where are the leaders in this team to stir the side up and maintain calm when the going gets tough?

As Graham McNorthbank said to me after the game, we also don't have any superstars in the side anymore.

Yes, Cesc is world class, RvP when fit and Andrey Arshavin can be devastating in small doses but the consistency required of players to win tight games against our top rivals just doesn't seem to be there anymore.

With the Ch*vs losing again, we are still in this title race.

But Wenger, the players and the fans all need to take a hard look at themselves.

We only turn Emirates into a fortress if we work together and give every last bead of sweat and energy to helping each other in the pursuit of glory.