The way I see it - Tottenham v Arsenal

Last updated : 12 November 2004 By Jason Hogan

I mean, who would have thought that it would be down to a bunch of talented young kids to show our senior team how to beat a full strength Premiership outfit, huh? And who would have thought that they would do it in such style too?

All I can say is that I hope some of the senior boys at Arsenal were watching what went on at Highbury the other night and if they weren't they bloody well should have been. Because whichever way you look at it, the youngsters definitely put the stumbling performances of their senior colleagues in recent times to shame.

It would be easy to put it all down to the impetuosity of youth but nevertheless it was great to see the likes of young Quincy, who was again outstanding, Van Persie and the ever improving Jermaine Pennant playing with such a sense of purpose and a refusal to be compromised by opponents that were vastly more experienced man for man.

And, in the shape of Arturo Lupoli, how nice it was to see a young striker of prodigious talent plying his trade to such clinical effect. I wasn't that surprised that this boy got on the scoresheet to honest. I watched him very closely when we played Manchester City in the previous round and although he didn't score that night I told my mates that this boy is one to really watch out for because his movement off the ball is exceptional.

It's no wonder Arsene went on record after the game to proclaim that Lupoli will play a big part in Arsenal's future. I for one will not put up any argument against that.

Of course in the wake of what was a fabulous result for the youngsters you always get one so and so that will say something to try and devalue such an achievement. Step forward Alan Green of BBC Radio Five Live.

Now, I have to admit that I normally like listening to this guy on the radio purely because I find his rather cantankerous style of commentating rather entertaining and sometimes downright amusing. However for him to suggest that Everton (and most of the other Premiership sides) generally didn't really care about the Carling Cup was laughable.

Barring David Weir, Everton boss David Moyes put out the same team that was narrowly beaten at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. Now, why would Moyes (or anyone else in their right mind for that matter) elect to do that for a cup game if it was totally meaningless in reality? I certainly don't think that Moyes had any designs on seeing his virtually full strength side getting beat the way that they did that's for sure.

What's more, you have to say that the quarter-final line up is not too short on big hitters. The four English representatives in this year's Champions League were in Wednesday night's draw and whether they got there by hook, by crook or by using kids, none of them would be keen to be beaten by each other with a trip to Cardiff almost within touching distance.

As things turned out Arsenal's kids will get the chance to test their mettle against ManUre at Old Trafford in the next round and when the draw was over I have to admit that I allowed myself a wry chuckle. And, with that in mind, it's a good time for me to make a voluntary lurch from the sublime towards the ridiculous.

You see, Old Purple Nose may be getting on in years but I am honestly think that he is wasted as a football manager these days and he really should take up the noble art of stand up comedy. His delivery of a crazy one-liner is now almost without equal.

Deprived of the services of Cruud Van Horseface, ManUre's striking under studies fluffed their lines big time against Manchester City last Sunday. What was Old Purple Nose's excuse for their failings this time? His players could only get themselves up for European games these and get bogged down with the mundane nature of the Premiership!

Now, you know when you have those moments in when you ask yourself, "Did he (or she) REALLY say that"? This was definitely one of those moments and although I was genuinely gobsmacked initially by what he said I then spontaneously burst into a fit of laughter. I mean, imagine if you were one of the season ticket holders on the Stretford End that happen to be of a more sensitive disposition. They would be inclined to think that they are being had over listening to that.

Did Ferguson really mean what he said or was he talking tongue in cheek? I don't think that it matters really. It was by winning the Premiership in 1993 and then again as part of a League and FA Cup Double in 1994 that not only brought 26 barren years without a title to an end for United it helped to raise the profiles of both Ferguson and United immeasurably in this country. So for Old Purple Nose to come out and say something like that, he was effectively pouring scorn on some of his own achievements. Way to go, you dopey old fool!

Oh, and if Old Purple Nose ever felt the need to get himself a comedy sidekick he will not have to look further than United old boy Denis Law. I saw this guy being interviewed on Sky Sports the other day and if I didn't know any better I would have got the impression that he was trying to outdo Old Purple Nose in the art of talking nonsense when he claimed that winning the Premiership is not a big deal anymore and that the Champions League is all that really matters in football these days!

Well I don't know about you, my fellow Gooners, but it's suffice to say I got the impression that the guy had either been on one drinking session too many with good old Georgie Best or that the men in white coats are due to pay him a visit any day now. Believe me, if Law went to say St James's Park, Stamford Bridge or even Anfield and repeated those words of wisdom within the vicinity of those stadiums I would bet good money on him getting very short shrift indeed.

In fact, now that I come to think about it I can think of another place where Law's wise words would go down about as well as a pint of castor oil - White Hart Lane.

I mean, here we are 43 years on and to this very day, generations of Tiny Totts followers cling grimly to the memory of the exploits of the late Bill Nicholson who of course led our poorer relations to their last league title in 1961. Imagine then if you will what it would mean to everyone connected with that club if the impossible happened and Spurs actually won the Premiership? Contrary to what Law says, I would imagine that it would be a pretty big deal to say the least.

Still, enough of this fanciful nonsense about Spurs winning titles, I think that it's time that I got back to reality and looked towards tomorrow's meeting with our poorer relations at the Lane.

It would be safe to say that both the Arsenal and Spurs are poles apart in more ways than one these days not least when it comes to stability. Whilst Arsene has been at the helm at Highbury for eight years, Spurs are now on their SIXTH manager in the same period.

In the wake of Jacques Santini's abrupt departure the new man on Death Row (Sorry, I mean, in the Spurs hot seat) is rather unsurprisingly Martin Jol. Now I say that because from the moment Director of Football, Frank Arnesen, brought Jol in against Santini's wishes and appointed him as the Frenchman's assistant, the recipe for disaster was already in place. Something was always going to give sooner or later and the only surprise is that things have come to a head so soon.

I think that Jol was always primed to take over from Santini at some stage and I think that the apparent resentment chairman Daniel Levy has towards Santini masks the fact that he made a cock up by bringing Santini in as part of the new revolutionary set up in the first place.

As usual, we have seen the usual tub-thumping and people extolling the virtues of Jol's coaching prowess and as is the want of a new manager, Jol himself has been mapping out his vision for the future of Spurs but even the most ardent Tiny Tott must be filled with a sense of foreboding with all the false dawns they have had to endure in the last eight years alone.

The truth is that Jol has as big a job on his hands at Spurs as his many predecessors did and if I was personally to give him some advice it would be not to even think of trying to compare his ambitions with Spurs to those that we have at the Arsenal. The fact is that we operate on a different plane to them and the sooner he gets used to that the better.

For all that I have to say that from an Arsenal point of view, tomorrow's game is probably got a little more riding on it than usual. Whilst this fixture is more about the bigger picture and getting three points these days first and foremost, I think that a trip to the Lane presents us with the perfect stage to rediscover some of our form and genuinely get our focus back.

We may have surrendered top spot but it's time we started to get serious about protecting what currently and rightly belongs to us.