NLD semi-final preview
So, here we are again. Another North London Derby. Another semi-final in the Carling Cup. Another mis-match against the might of the Arsenal kids and reserves. Simply put, we don’t stand a sodding chance. Let’s ignore the fact that we have a midfield without grit and grace and also the near epic annoyance of having to play a defence which has lacked organisation and responsibility all season and instead look at the waif between the sticks, the new slim-line still-crap Paul Robinson who has turned David Blaine with a quite uncanny ability to concede goals out of thin air. His two-step back-step egg-on-face trick against Reading clearly displays the fact that Arsenal won’t even need to send out any players on Wednesday night. We are quite capable of losing the game all on our own.
Even with a full strength team, Spurs are stuck in traffic in a clapped out Robin Reliant while Arsenal are hitting speeds of 195mph in their Ferrari Enzo. Jeremy Clarkson would happily defecate his disapproval on our bonnet and nobody would notice the steaming addition.
Last season we believed we would beat them, and at 2-0 up and Berbatov on fire we probably would have had he not gone off injured. He did, and we followed it up with our customary collapse in the second half.
Plucky. Almost. Could have. Should have. Nearly. All synonymous with our big game outings.
Almost, could have, should have won at the Emirates a few weeks back. But once more we choked harder than a filthy skank fellating a donkey on the set of Animal Farm Redux. Like clockwork, it’s nailed on to happen. Tears streaming down our sorry face. Bitter taste in mouth.
While we hope and pray and attempt to build up some much needed hype, they just get on with it. Why do we even bother building ourselves up for the fall?
Let’s not forget they have 10 years of consistency while we sit at ground zero (again). Which is why their 17 and 18 year olds fit in into a polished system so perfectly well. Ours just look lost in amongst the more experienced but less talented first teamers. We don’t stand a chance. We shouldn’t stand a chance simply on the merit of pass achievements. It’s not the 70’s or 80’s. We haven’t been equally matched for an age. And much like the mental and psychological brain-rape that stopped us beating Chelsea in the League for a decade, the same problem exists with Arsenal.
Even at 2-0 up or 1-1 with a penalty, we lack self-belief. Almost like its accidental and not deserved, rather than taking a leaf out of their book and just being cunts about it, finishing it off with a swagger of arrogance. Yes, it’s catch-22. You have to taste success to be able to build on it. But take a look at West Ham and their record against the likes of Utd and Arsenal. We should, by right, have an even bigger reason to want to beat them. It should be a natural feeling and we should revel in the opportunities created. Ram it down their throats. Where is the spirit of '91? Stuck in the last century, sadly.
So how will this game pan out? Will it be a whitewash, completely outclassed? Or another plucky 2-1 loss? Or will Spurs boss it and choke? Am I being defeatist or realistic? I will gladly go ape-shit in the away end on Wednesday night if we beat them, but wouldn’t dare to celebrate advancement till the final whistle of the second leg.
Hopefully O’Hara will start. Steed will be at his energetic best and Berbatov oozes enough class to see us claim some kind of result. That's all more likely than expecting us to defend against set-pieces and remain solid in defence. Creating chances isn't our problem.
Lack of blood and thunder is. Two ingredients that have been missing for far too long and the only two ingredients that are capable of stirring up an upset. If we include them in our performances over the two games, then I promise to crack a smile.
So, let's be 'aving you...part 22, roll on.