“And it’s Arsenal,
We’re by far the greatest team,
The world has ever seen….”
The chant which fills the stadium every time Arsenal players walk onto the pitch, home or away, was silenced once and for all by their greatest and most fiercest rivals, Tottenham Hotspurs.
As I sat down with my Yellow coloured, piss like Mocktail in one hand, and my mobile in the other, going over the lineups one more time before the starting whistle, I could see the place filling up with people in the familiar red coloured home jersey of Arsenal. The location was Turbulence, Alwarpet and the occasion was the 183rd North London derby, with St. Totteringham day on the line.
Yes, a win for Spurs will ensure that there will be no more St. Totteringham day, at least for a year. With 5 matches still left for Arsenal, this was some reversal in fortunes. The 50 odd people stuffed into the tiny hall of Turbulence - The Madras Poga factory, though did not care. This was just the second screening at the new venue and the turn up was way more than expected.
Pre match press conference on Thursday and Wenger was at it again, saying that “I think so, we looked at him. He played at Milton Keynes. It’s down the road from here. You have to say that he has done extremely well, and he is dangerous and scores goals - I think he’s scored 16 or 17 goals this year, so it’s absolutely marvellous at his age.”
Yes, Arsenal tried to sign Dele Alli as well. Has there ever been a player on this planet which Arsenal have not tried to sign? No wonder they started with world class players like Gibbs and Ramsay in the biggest match of their season to date.
I was curious though, to see such a huge turn up. So I asked the person sitting next to me about his commute, “I’m coming from IIT Madras, mate. It’s like 8-9 kms from here.” Wow, what a waste, I thought, two hours later!
The starting whistle was met with deafening cheer with every Arsenal tackle met with huge roar, with the Ox in particular receiving the loudest roar for his work rate and commitment throughout the first half. Chants like
“Alexis Sanchez baby, Alexis Sanchez woah”
“We got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, We just don’t think you understand”
started doing the rounds but were quickly silenced by two efforts from Tottenham which almost broke the deadlock. First Alli shockingly headed wide with an open goal in front of him and the Eriksen, under no pressure whatsoever and also with an open goal gaping in front of him, hit the crossbar!
We all knew that this is going to be a very long 90 minutes and as half time whistle was blown, people started talking about the biggest question mark, which is Arsene Wenger. This was the first fifteen minutes of the second half confirmed the fate of Arsenal as Wenger dented out his frustrations on Steve Bould. Two quick goals marked the end of the Premier league season for Arsenal and proved the title credentials of Tottenham.
It was typical Arsenal, conceding a scrappy opener and two minutes and forty five seconds later, Harry Kane buried a soft penalty into the bottom left corner. If there was a prediction which was a no brainer before the match, it was Harry Kane scoring. This was his 6th goal in his 5th NLD and the 21st strike of the season. Compare that with Olivier Giroud who has scored a mere 2 goals against Tottenham, and he has been playing them since 2012!
The substitution of Danny Welbeck received the biggest cheer, which was just 2-3 people shouting. Tottenham had silenced the crowd halfway around the globe with their high press and slick passing. The match was gone, and so were Arsenals hopes of finishing in the top 4, not mathematically, but realistically.
What’s worse is the fact that we play another old foe, Mourinho next week, which has never gone well for Wenger.
Tottenham are on Cloud 9, knowing that they will, yes will, not might, pounce on any and every slip up from Chelsea. Mind you, Chelsea are clear favourites for the title, but Tottenham have showed that they have truly arrived at the big stage and are here to stay.
This man, Mauricio Pochettino deserves all the credit and praise for converting a mediocre, punching way below its weight, Tottenham into genuine title contenders. While for Arsenal, the lack of a proper backroom staff, the lack of clarity on their managers future and the threat of expiring contracts makes for a very shaky future.
Will there be big changes this summer or will it be business as usual at Arsenal? Only time and Wenger will tell. Their way of distracting themselves from the dominant display by the young brigade of Tottenham. Somehow, they had the swagger of an Arsenal team comprising of young and talented Wilshere, Cesc, Nasri and Walcott. They moved the ball around with purpose and looked devastating with every wave forward.