Rivalry Weekend! It’s special for Per, we’re no underdogs says Aaron
Written by Jeff Patterson on September 30, 2011 9:00
It’s North London Derby time! This Sunday, Arsenal take the short trip across the neighborhood to the home of bitter rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. This derby always ends up being one of the most entertaining ties on the calendar. For fans of either club, winning supersedes entertainment, and for Gooners everywhere, victory against Spurs is usually the bare minimum requirement for a successful season.
Last year’s meetings saw a combined 11 goals scored in the two Premier League matches, and 16 from 3 matches if you add in Arsenal’s 4-1 victory at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup last year. Both clubs will be up for it, both clubs will fancy the win, tempers will flare on both sides. It’s the North London Derby.
Arsenal have a new look side this year, and several of our players will be experiencing this rivalry for the very first time. One who is especially looking forward is German defender Per Mertesacker. Coming from Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, the 6′6″ defender revealed that he has never taken part in an intense rivalry match, and is eagerly anticipating this weekend.
“This is my first special game for Arsenal,” said Mertesacker. “A lot of people have been telling me about it, how massive it is, and what a special experience it is and I am looking forward to it.
“It is an especially important game for Arsenal and for me. There is nothing similar to it in Germany. You cannot compare Bremen against Hamburg because they are not quite in the same city, so the London derby is bigger.”
It’s great to see that our current Arsenal squad has impressed upon our new signings just how important a match this is. There is always a tendency for professional athletes to take on an air of nonchalance, and claim that this is “just another match.” Clearly, our squad understands that this is not the case.
Our squad has struggled mightily so far this year, but hopefully (fingers crossed) things are beginning to turn for the better. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has even gone as far as to claim he doesn’t feel Tottenham should be favorites in the match. Ramsey feels that the Champions League win over Olympiakos has done a lot for the clubs confidence.
“This has given us momentum now so hopefully we can build on these wins and take it into the next game. We’ve got Tottenham and hopefully we can get a good result at their place.
“I’m not sure (we are underdogs), I think we have great quality in the team. They’ve added a few new faces and we’re aware of that, but we’re confident in the way we play and hopefully we can get the right result there.”
It’s great to hear the players believe they are heading in the right direction, and I’m inclined to agree with them. The Gunners have rarely been beautiful to watch this year, but they seem to be getting things on track, and are managing wins through gritty play and sometimes, sheer force of will.
A win at Tottenham would be tremendous for everyone associated with Arsenal, that is when we can finally start talking about this club, “turning the corner.”