Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ex-Arsenal star Perry Groves tells Arsene Wenger to end the poor relation now -

For the first time in 18 years, Arsenal go into the derby on the back foot.

Tottenham have already spent the £86 million soon to come from Real Madrid for Gareth Bale, splashing out more than £110m on new talent in the most spectacular spending spree in Europe this summer.

They were still buying yesterday as they secured Steaua Bucharest's Vlad Chiriches for £8.5m, confirmed the £30m arrival of Erik Lamela from Roma, and signed Ajax's Danish international playmaker Christian Eriksen for £11m.

In stark contrast, all has been quiet at the Emirates.

Apart from the free transfer signings of Yaya Sanogo and this week Mathieu Flamini, there have been no arrivals.

By the final whistle tomorrow Arsenal will have just 24 hours to bring in fresh faces before the transfer window slams shut.

But talkSport expert and former Gunners star Groves, who has Arsenal blood running through his veins, believes that if Wenger can get the two or three men he wants, they can be title contenders again.

Arsenal have recovered from their poor start to the season as they have beaten Fulham and brushed aside Fenerbahce to reach the group stages of the Champions League.

But they have to beat Tottenham tomorrow to of their fans.

"Arsenal fans will be apprehensive," said Groves.

"They can see that there has been a sea change in their relationship with Spurs.

"Tottenham have spent about £100m. Arsenal fans will wonder why didn't they bid for a striker like Roberto Soldado, for example. I can understand their frustration.They have seen some of their best players leaving over the last few years. With the right buys they can be challenging.

"So far there has not seemed to be any desire to spend by Arsenal, although I am sure they have been trying. Spurs targeted players and got them in by paying the going rate.

"But with Arsenal – they were after Gonzalo Higuain at Real Madrid. But the price goes up, so the deal falls through. Was it Arsene or the board who pulled the plug?

"The fact is, you have to pay the buying price. If you are thinking a player is worth £20m, sometimes you have to pay £23m.

"Look at Luiz Gustavo. Arsenal would not pay the price and he went from Bayern Munich to Wolfsburg. Are they a bigger club than Arsenal? I don't think so.

"Spurs look likely top four – but I will reserve my judgment on Arsenal until Monday night!"

Where can the game be won by Arsenal?

"They have shown resilience and character after the opening defeat by Villa," said Groves.

"They have had three good performances.

"One positive is the emergence of Aaron Ramsey. He took a lot of stick from Arsenal fans last year. You could tell that he was playing within himself. But in the last two games he has been Arsenal's best player.

"Arsenal have to have a plan to stop Tottenham from playing, and that is not something Arsene is normally keen on. He concentrates on his own team. But if you don't stop Spurs, you can be in trouble.

"Spurs build from the back, so you have to get onto the two centre-backs, stop them from receiving the ball.

"Then other players like Paulinho and Etienne Capoue step in and you have to stop them, too. They are the deliverers. Arsenal need to win the ball back high up the pitch.

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