Spurs/Arsenal/Chelsea games kick off a fascinating Christmas schedule

From Michael Budgen : Xmas thoughts as Spurs prepare for the Round of Arsenal

Morning Myles, morning everyone.

In response to recent mails, a few points.

The media mention Spurs not signing players and ‘slags them off’, not ‘us’.

Why ? Because transfer tittle tattle sells papers and nowadays ‘buys’ clicks. No one would click on an article that says: Spurs look to improve & promote from within.

This is why the traditional media loses ground to bloggers such as here, Arseblog, Untold etc, because they are done for the love & art, not the commercial.

It’s such a shame the Spurs current financial situation won’t allow the team to develop as it could,.

If you could put this Spurs squad & manager at Old Trafford’s money machine, that would be exciting.

In much the same way all of Wenger’s Arsenal teams had to be broken up for financial reasons. They are now at the same starting point we were in 2006, without the titles & cups Wenger had won in the proceeding years. It will be interesting to see how long it is before top 4 and last 16 of the CL is seen as a failure for them.

And this is where Nigel hits it square on the head. Liverpool needed a Goalie & a Centre Half, Allison & Van Dyke £160 million (helped by Barca’s madness on Coutinho mind).

Slippery Joe the Tax evader, could have spent some money, could of gone for it, but he chose not to. Are they accepting the 4h place trophy so derided elsewhere ? They need another centre forward, they need a ‘ball playing’ midfielder to help control games, you can’t win the league playing at 100mph for 90 mins every week, you need to be able to control the ball at times.

Man Utd’s performance last year, just like Burnley’s, was way overreached, they got away with it. We assumed Burnley would fall away, but we assumed Utd couldn’t be as bad again. We were wrong on that one, thankfully !

The irony of Rhys’s mail is that is exactly what late era Wenger was forced into and was so derided for: make do & mend, promote from the youths, who sadly weren’t good enough. With the Colney Creche accusations, name a youth product that was better after leaving ? ( Not Ashley, he was world class here).

As an aside, last night’s 17-year-old debutant Sako, was 8 when he started, so he began at Arsenal after the Emirates was built !

As far Spurs being in the Round of Arsenal, and ‘overcoming’ Inter, to put that into context : AC Milan were knocked out of the Europa league last night, so far has Serie A footballs stock fallen.

Only Man City have taken more points in the Prem than Spurs this calendar year, that speaks of quality, and the ability to get results, but so has this Arsenal team !

What will be interesting, is that one of our Arsene-era biggest weaknesses was the 3 loss syndrome, defeats often came in clusters, as one defeat brought another, as oft mentioned in this parish, It will be interesting how Emery’s Arsenal react to their first setback, given that the two defeats at the start of the season were largely shrugged off.

Arsenal have been dealt a tough Xmas fixture list, with Sean’s Scrappers, followed by a tricky visit to the coast and then Liverpool, who have an extra day’s rest, plus a bye against Newcastle before our visit !

Again, it looks like a very exciting month of football !!

Myles says :

I hope so. We need excitement.

I’m not worrying about Arsenal’s next setback yet. Football IS a game of sequences but Unai Emery will not lose three in a row.

In December the first huge game is Liverpool v Man United on Sunday and even Jose can’t park the bus at Anfield and win 1-0.

Arsenal are no longer flaky or unreliable. They compete for 90 minutes and don’t concede many goals. No player is mollycoddled, no player is safe, anybody can be substituted.

All teams have setbacks but Emery’s first setback, if it comes soon, won’t be anything he can’t handle. All managers drive down a bumpy road for years and decades.

Yes, Arsenal are short of centrebacks. Rob Holding being out for the season is very bad news. But if Koscielny stays fit, the defence should be OK.

Usually I say: Let me see 10 PL games.

With a new manager, that did not apply.

Now I’ve seen 16 league games, it’s time to say a few words.

Tomorrow Arsenal and Chelsea both play on the south coast at 1.30pm.

Brighton (13th) play Chelsea (4th) while Southampton (19th) host Arsenal (5th) in the early Sky game.

Emery’s Arsenal have a good record so far: 16-10-4-2.

Pochettino’s record is 16-12-0-4.
No draws. Sixteen PL games by Spurs but no draws, compared to four draws by Arsenal.

The table is so tight that no London team can afford to slip up over the Christmas period. because Spurs and Chelsea have 36 points while Arsenal have 34.

In the second half of the season, I expect Arsenal to be motoring, playing with more automatic, and winning with a bit to spare.

Spurs v Burnley today?

That game will be tricky if Burnley (17th) defend deep and wait and invite Spurs to launch crosses.

Pochettino prefers a swift attack of three passes, using the speed of Son and Alli.  Or even two passes.

Spurs lack ambition? But they’re in Monday’s Champions League draw!