I have never seen a big team as ridiculed, disrespected, and totally written-off as Arsenal was ahead of this match against Spurs.

Tele-pundits, football writers, amongst them Arsenal legends, all gave Arsenal no chance of getting even a draw from this game, despite the fact that it was at the Emirates, and against our bitter rivals.

Hear them:

“Harry Kane will fancy himself against this Arsenal defence.”
“Spurs is by far the better team. Arsenal will be lucky o get a draw”
“There is certainly a power-shift in North London.”
“They haven’t lost in last six against Arsenal and are set to extend that record.”

And the worst and most ridiculous of all…

“I can’t see more than one, max two, Arsenal players get into this current Spurs’ side.”

Aaarrgh… at times during the week, I felt like slapping the teeth out of Ian Wright’s mouth through my TV screen. He talked trash all week, during FOOTBALL TODAY and again in Sky studios pre-match.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny that Spurs is a top-team these days, nonetheless, derby-matches, especially when you’re playing away, against an opponent with bruised ego, are extremely difficult.

That we are FA cup winners didn’t matter as well. Our manager made this point before the game, pointing out that we not only won the FA cup but beat Chelsea and City in the process. Therefore, only a football novice would write-off Arsenal completely against the other big teams at the Emirates.

Also, our brilliant draw at Stamford Bridge where United was convincingly put to the sword was also overlooked. Even against City, Arsenal competed reasonably and could have got a draw or at worst a 2-1 loss but for the ref’s goal gift to City

What was most irritating besides the way we were written-off was the way all the newspapers and pundits were queueing up to hype Spurs. Yes, they beat Real Madrid but that usually counts for little when playing in your own league. Otherwise, Spurs should beat every team in the EPL from now till the season’s end.

The main reason Arsenal and especially Wenger get so much flak from the media is because they are bored of him. Pochettino, Pep, and Klopp have brought immense excitement to the league, so they want to see the same at Arsenal. ‘New and young’ is always exciting to talk and write about, so they want ‘new’.

On the other hand, Majority of the pundits, TV especially, are ex-England internationals, therefore, they have a natural affinity and sympathy for Spurs with their many England hopes like Alli, Kane, and Dier.

Arsene and his players’ bruised pride motivated them
You don’t need any extra motivation for a match against your local rivals and fellow title-challengers (I know City is making it a one-horse race at the moment), but that was exactly what all the criticism and ridicule of Arsenal players in the match build-up did – it made them determined to prove a point as a team, and as individuals.

It was painful to see all the biased North-London-Derby Combined 11s across the football web featuring an average of just one Arsenal player out of the 11. From Sun, to Mirror Football and Daily Mail, the story was the same.

The worst culprit was Daily Mail, the selection by their group of biased, unprofessional, and incompetent group of writers was just scandalous. Each of the 11 reporters chose their combined 11, which was a total of 132 selections, incredibly, only 19 of the 132 were Arsenal players.

Of the 19 Arsenal player selections, Alexis Sanchez made up for 10 of them. Kolasinac wasn’t picked once ahead of Danny Rose who has barely played this season or even Davies who is second-choice.

A particular amateur writer, @AdamCrafton, did not even pick one Arsenal player. Spurs’ new rookie defender was picked ahead of Koscielny.

I just checked our website now and apparently our media team noticed this, too. And this is their reaction:

The Arsenal players, and possibly Arsene, must have seen all these and it would have fired them up.

Some of their post-match tweets from our warriors:

Shame on all these reporters who can’t put their England biases to one side when reporting on club football matters.

Finally…

MOTM Mustafi must keep up today’s form
I know Ozil was inspirational and Bellerin played like the player Barca has long coveted but my MOTM has to be Shkodran Mustafi.

There is no way you can look beyond a player who contributes immensely to a clean-sheet against a top team boasting arguably the league’s best striker and who also scores the opening goal at the other end.

What made Mustafi’s performance even more spectacular is that he was making his first appearance after a quite long injury lay-out. He fought, battled hard, put his body on the line, and contested and won most aerial battles – a warrior’s performance indeed.

I have criticized Mustafi here in the past for being rash at times but what you can’t question is his enthusiasm or commitment. Mustafi doesn’t hide, probably why he dives into challenges too.

Arsenal fans and pundits talk about how Mr Wenger must play the dynamic trio of Lacazette, Sanchez, Ozil, however, on account of today’s defensive performance, It’s vital that koscielny, Mustafi, and the inspiration Monreal stay fit and also always get played together too.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

  • Do you think the English media and pundits are biased against Arsenal, especially when Tottenham is the opponent?
  • Who is your man-of-the-match?
  • Does this performance show we can still comfortably make the top-four or even place 2nd even if we can’t catch City?

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