Tag: Arsenal

Match Of The Week: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Ah, the local derby. That one time in the year when we are permitted to drop many of the vestiges of being civilised people and devolve back to our cave-dwelling, territorial roots. It’s a day for eyes to twitch, the rational to become irrational, for the stories of injustices of days gone by to be reheated and passed on to new generations. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have lived alongside each other for as long as the game has flourished in London and, while neither side is likely to win the Premier League this season, tensions at The Emirates Stadium are as high as ever. For once, it is Spurs that go into this match in the ascendency. Although they have been less than impressive away from White Hart Lane over the last couple of months, they remain comfortable in third place in the table, while Arsenal remain an increasingly distant spot on the horizon, with recent defeats in the FA Cup and Champions League having all but ended any chances of ending their recent mini-drought of trophy wins in recent years. While Harry Redknapp is being talked up as the next England manager, Arsene Wenger is under the sort of pressure that frequently results in a manager’s departure from a club. It has been a topsy-turvy sort of season in that respect. If the nerves of Arsenal supporters are...

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Football’s Winter Of Discontent Reaches Arsenal

There’s something in the air at The Emirates Stadium. Arsenal Football Club has had a difficult 2012 so far, and patience – for some, at least – is starting to wear thin, leading to a protest that has brought puzzled expressions from elsewhere. At this lunchtime’s match against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, a group of supporters plans to place black bin bags on seats at the ground prior to the match. But what are the reasons behind this protest, what are its aims, and are those protesting representative of the Arsenal support in a broader sense? Where Has Our Arsenal Gone has been here before, at the end of last season they protested with a march from a pub near the ground to The Emirates Stadium prior to the team’s match against Aston Villa. They have a six point manifesto – season tickets, stadium seating, commercial activity, ownership and target markets, the manager and the chairman – and it will certainly be interesting to see how many people choose to get involved in it. While the protest of the end of last season dissipated somewhat as the team’s form picked up this season, we can be reasonably certain that recent tensions have risen on account of another dip in form on the pitch. When the season began, of course, the words “Arsenal” and “crisis” seemed momentarily entwined...

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Match Of The Week 2: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United

There remains a sense of great expectations surrounding Leeds United. To get a feel for the root cause for this, we only need to spin back four decades, when Don Revie’s team lost out on the Football League Championship to Derby County but managed a little solace in winning the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley. Times have changed since then, of course. In the intervening forty years, Leeds United have been relegated, bounced back, won the last English title before the induction of the Premier League, plummeted back to the third tier of the English league system and only narrowly avoided closure before resurfacing in the Championship, their ambition thwarted, yet undiminished. Perhaps it is this sense of grandeur which, in recent years, seen the club over-perform against superior opposition. Two years ago, they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and gave Spurs a game and a half before succumbing after a replay. This time last year, they faced a trip to The Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal and again managed a draw before slipping up at home in a replay. Whatever limitations the Leeds United teams of the last couple of seasons may have had, they always seem capable of giving those bigger clubs a game in a one-off cup match. If psychology counts for great deal in football, then it could even be argued that,...

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A Brand-Conscious North London Derby

To be shocked at the crass commercialism in today’s money-soaked English Premiership is to be slightly naive. To develop a toothache upon hearing about how today’s top flight clubs sell their souls to fund their businesses or discover sneakier means of getting their hands deeper into your wallets, however, is perfectly normal. As we approach another weekend when rivals Tottenham and Arsenal meet to determine North London bragging rights until they meet again, it might be a wonder the encounter itself has yet to be given sponsorship or naming rights for the clubs to exploit. After all, would it be such a surprise to see in the papers or hear from the television commentators┬áThe North London Derby┬ápresented by EA Sports or The Lucozade North London Derby? Quite honestly, it’s remarkable this has yet happened, along with The Eithad Battle of Manchester. That last bit was probably on Garry Cook’s to-do list before someone hacked his email account. Still, these are two clubs not only trying to find their way on the pitch but also still working out the kinks on how they leverage themselves as Premiership brands to contest the financial might of the burgeoning twin-headed Manchester behemoth. The process of appropriately branding Arsenal has come in fits and spurts, from the creation of a separate online presence for followers stateside that initially seemed a dumbed-down version of the...

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Match Of The Week: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Arsenal

For the second time this season, the heavens opened on a Saturday lunchtime for Arsenal in more senses than one today, and this time around they contrived to be more defensively profligate than on the previous occasion, last month against Liverpool. For all the hysteria in the immediate aftermath of that match, it was plausible to chalk down that loss as having had a element of the freak about it. An own goal and a second on the break with only seconds left to play gave Arsenal’s supporters something to cling to and, while the thrashing at the hands of Manchester United managed to speak for itself, results since then – a scrambled and slightly fortuitous win against Swansea City followed by an honorable draw at Dortmund in the Champions League – offered a fig leaf of respectability to a season that has has largely, thus far, been one of massive disappointment. Today, though, the fig leaf was washed away in the Lancashire rain. Prior to kick-off, it was the supporters of Blackburn Rovers that were actively demonstrating, calling for the head of their most peculiar choice of manager, Steve Kean. They may even reflect this evening that their team didn’t even play particularly brilliantly this afternoon – rather, they took advantage of the chances that they had, showed a little character in overturning a two goal deficit and...

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