Spurs midfielder Rafael van der Vaart reckons: ‘We are better than Arsenal.’ He added: ‘I think we have a bigger, better squad.’ Despite our failure to score against an average Marseilles side tonight, I’m not so sure I agree.
However, I admit Spurs are formidable opponents this year. They may finish in the top 4, but I think Arsenal may be up there too. I said we’d finish 3rd before the season began. I had a bet with a famous Gooner that we’d finish above Chelsea. I felt pretty stupid after the Old Trafford demolition and the other ignominious defeats early in the season. Blackburn away, in particular, left me in a state of acid reflux! I felt the Wenger era was eroding before our eyes. Panic buys was never the answer I imagined would be the answer to lingering squad problems but it looks like that team is beginning to gel.
Santos has now scored two goals and despite his lack of fitness he shown already that he should be a first-team regular.
Mertesacke and Arteta have blown hot and cold, whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain and Park have only had limited opportunities to show what they can do.
Jenkinson seems to have come of age, judging by his last three performances and Ryo’s last outing shows he also has something to offer.
So optimism is rising amongst the fans, judging by how hard it was to get a WBA ticket. However, I wonder what they think of Kroenke’s praise of the Glazers at Manchester United. People in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones at Glazers so they throw compliments. Let’s not forget they plunged United into debt to the tune of £500m and have increased ticket prices by 42 per cent since 2005. Yet in a sense, I agree with Stan. I said all along that football is all about trophies and United have continued to win. Yes, they’re in deep debt but they can afford the repayments. I don’t think Stan will change anything at our club, but I feel a little uneasy after seeing him pictured in the Arsenal dressing room in today’s paper. Very few directors have a true rapport with players. They should leave all the talk to the managers and their staff. Especially when they’re reportedly as ‘silent’ as Stan.
Finally, Rambo’s getting loads of praise now after an iffy start. He deserves it. He’s rightly stated he’s no Cesc though. I think we’re seeing the best of him because Arteta is doing more defensive covering now than when he first arrived. Rambo is far better at attacking than he is at defending. I’d push him as far up the park as possible and leave the defending to Song, Arteta, Theo and Gervinho.