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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Victory Through Harmony

The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur runs like a thread through their history. Although its only been a true derby for 100 years, the clash represents more than geographic coincidence as reflected by the two clubs' original mottos, "Victoria Concordia Crescit" and "Audere est Facere". Simply translated they mean "Victory through harmony" and "To dare is to do" and they symbolise the best of each club's history. In terms of Arsenal this desire for collectivism was best shown in the Bertie Mee and George Graham eras, whilst Tottenham's preference for individual elan sums up the Bill Nicholson period.
Yesterday's match was ultimately decided by Arsenal living up to their maxim and Tottenham failing to do the same. The unity of purpose shown by the men in red for ninety minutes brought back all the memories of "one nil to the Arsenal", a state of mind that meant that once a goal had been scored, no effort would be spared in protecting this precious lead, an attitude that started with Szczesny and ended with Giroud. 
This was not limited to determined defence but also a continued push for a second goal, although any misplaced pass saw a every sinew strained to regain possession. Therefore despite Tottenham's superior shape, the man of the match was their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, not least for the perfect tackle to dispossess Walcott when through on goal.
As the match went on the number of tired legs in the Arsenal ranks began to grow and with four full backs on the pitch what appeared to be a defensive red line of eight. The harmony of this rearguard and the lack of derring do in the Tottenham attack meant the final whistle was the cue for one last round of one nil to the Arsenal.
Looking ahead, Tottenham can only get better as the players become more familiar with each other. It was easy to see why they had conceded no league goals but only scored from the spot thus far. For Arsenal its simply a case of increasing the size of the squad. The first eleven have quality in abundance but with a long season ahead more depth is required.

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