Has the North London Derby become Arsenal’s cup final?

By Avenell Dave

Do you ever think about the North London Derby and get butterflies in your stomach?

I have to admit, this is the first one since we played an FA Cup semi final at Old Trafford a few years ago where I have been anxious.

Maybe we have been spoilt by the fact that for years, Arsenal under Arsene Wenger didn’t even lose a derby, and the most we had to lament was a succession of late equalisers (last game of the Invincibles season, Jenas piledriver at WHL, the 4-4 at home).

No one can dispute that T*tt*nh*m have done better this season than in the past few seasons and if you ever encounter one of their fans, they’ll be quick to rub it in.

Who can blame them? When you’ve gone 51 years without winning the title, being third in the table must be worth a DVD if nothing else.

Addicts I’ve spoken to are nervous, and rightly so.

We’ve had a stinker of a season, we’re not going to win a trophy this season barring unimaginable miracles and players are dropping like flies.

Add to the mix the fact that everyone’s favourite mercenary, Adebaywhore, is coming back and in the colours of the enemy and it makes for a red hot afternoon.

Do I expect us to win? Of course, even though that may seem crazy given our current form and fitness.

Thierry Henry is right when he says that we need a win which may kick start our confidence at a time when it needs it most.

But we’re at home and unlike some matches, the atmosphere will be furious and we’ll be in full voice.

Let our neighbours enjoy their day in the sun before H*rry leaves for the England job having won nothing this season.

If this is the best they can get ever be, isn’t it worth it to see the hope on their poor little faces fade to frustration, seeing that even their best season is akin to our worst over the past 15 years.

Who should play? I think Ramsey needs a rest – he’s played far more than he should have done given his age and experience and while he sometimes plays more forward, why not try Benayoun in the middle? I just don’t fancy Rosicky there and Benayoun has a good record against T*tt*nh*m.

Up front, Walcott has been poor for a while, so maybe now’s the time to give AA23 a run, especially after two reserve goals in midweek.

Let’s hope the defenders are fit again to give us something of a chance.

Remember, win, lose or draw on Sunday, Class is permanent, form is temporary.

13 titles. Know your place.

Addict XI

Szczesny

Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Arteta Song Benayoun

Ox RvP Arshavin