Saturday, August 14, 2010

Denilson doesn't like Tottenham

"It's true they shocked me last season, they did much better than I thought. So, yes, we have to take them very seriously now. In football, you know anything can happen but I still cannot believe they will achieve more than us."

- Denilson, about hating Tottenham

Denison doesn't like Tottenham. No one associated with Arsenal likes Tottenham. But whereas before we hated Tottenham with the disdain of a superior to the decidedly inferior, this season we hate them as equals... of sorts. Of course, like Denilson, I cannot believe that they are the same as us, but facts don't lie: they have qualified for the Champions League, as we have; they won't win the Premier League. but neither will we; they will be challenging for the last two Champions League spots, as we will be.

For the first time since colour TV was invented, Arsenal and Tottenham go into a season as peers.

Denilson tells us that he "still cannot believe they will achieve more than us", but what does that mean? We don't achieve anything that the moment. We coast along in 3rd or 4th and we don't have the squad to compete seriously for trophies. It might be unbelievable that Tottenham will leapfrog us and win trophies, but it's believable that we're in the same boat as Tottenham. And for a relationship that's as mired in hubris as ours with Tottenham, that's a bit of a concern. We might be in for a major correction in that relationship in the near future.

Denilson is a true believer, though. He thinks we can break through this year and win a trophy. He bases his thinking on the retention of Fabregas, the signing of Chamakh, the abilities of kiddies like Wilshere and Gibbs, and the improvement of players such as himself. I'm hesitant about this. We were close to the title last season, but ultimately failed because we didn't have enough fit players and we fielded liabilities in goal. If squad players like Denilson improve another 10%, would we have the squad to challenge for the title? Maybe. But we'd still need a competent keeper, a manager with defensive nous, and a physio who can keep van Persie fit all season. I don't think that'll happen.

An interesting thing about this article is that it supports Wenger's theory that if you bring a player to a club young enough, you've got his allegiance for life. I don't know how many other players take their local derbies seriously. I can't see Berbatov really understanding the Manchester derby. I can't see Aquilani treating the Merseyside derby as anything other than another game. But Denilson's been at the club for long enough, been steeped into the traditions sufficiently, that he's been indoctrinated with hatred for all things Tottenham. It's nice to know that, despite appearances, our players do genuinely give a fuck about our major rivalry games.

So on the 254th last day of my 20s, I went to work completely drained. Spent the night before at Pancake Parlour playing cards with some friends, and waiting, hoping, wishing that the GOMD would've joined us. Finally left at midnight, spent the night tossing and turning. Really missed her.

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