That was the latest entry into the book of the legendary musings of Thierry Henry, his response when asked about what he expected from Arsenal’s opponents in the upcoming North London derby. The King, in his eight-year supreme reign in London, never for once lost to Tottenham, a bold claim that had its crowning glory in the fact that his final League title for the Gunners was won in that very ground which the spurs loosely refer to as sacred.
It is to the same venue that Arsene Wenger will take his boys by lunch time on Saturday in the latest installment of that derby and though an 11-point chasm between Arsenal and leaders Chelsea means the Gunners will be deferring their next title celebration at White Hart Lane to a further year, it could be the beginning of another claim of invincibility on that ground for players such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez whom have yet to lose to the Old Enemy since their initiation to London’s greatest footballing rivalry.
Arsenal are unbeaten against Tottenham in four games now and Nacer Chadli’s goal in last September’s meeting at the Emirates was the first time the Gunners had been breached since the meet at White Hart Lane in the 2012/2013 season.
Both clubs have had a similar run of highs and lows this season, and the fact that it will be a fifth-versus-sixth duel just about summarizes what to expect in terms of intensity, passion and desire for results. It has been a regular recurrence for the past seven campaigns that every season has been tagged as the year the Gunners will be toppled by their neighbours for that fourth spot. But in the end, the Whites have always bled.
This particular encounter, though, should prove a good test for both sides about their ambitions to play in the Champions League next season and while there will be 14 more games to gain points from, neither team would want to yield any more ground to the other at this stage.
Spurs will fancy themselves as a bit hard to beat at home, having lost none of their last six League games playing in-front of their ceaselessly wailing customers. Their last defeat in any game, however, did come in the fourth round home tie to Leicester, having to pay the ultimate price for their complacency in not finishing the game off when they were in the lead.
The Gunners have been anything but complacent, of late, and if a performance close to the shift put in the last League away game at Manchester City is repeated, it will be hard not to expect a convincing Arsenal win. A five-nil round-off of Aston Villa to begin the month would have sent out a clear message, one which Mauricio Pochettino would have burnt a lot of candles trying to decrypt.
He would have learnt from that game that he will be playing Arsenal FC, not Alexis FC, which would consequently lead him to want to find alternatives for his own team in a situation where Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen become cased in Coquelin cysts.
Wenger will be happy that he not only can look beyond Alexis and Cazorla for brilliance, to Ozil and Walcott for goals, but to the returning Danny Welbeck and the growing Hector Bellerin, to the now dependable Nacho Monreal for security, and, of course, to the evergreen Tomas Rosicky for the ultimate bounty.
He won’t be bothered by the smoke storms that have blown from Wojciech Szczesny and now through Jack Wilshere, because he can trust the safe hands of David Ospina and the newly balanced Aaron Ramsey.
He takes his crew to White Hart Lane, with a team that has rediscovered its best boots and brave heart, never again to wane.
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