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Why we shouldn’t talk about the derby

OPINION: After Gunners' win at the Emirates, let’s leave it at 'Arsenal are better than Spurs, move on'

23 November, 2017 — By Richard Osley

SOMETIMES, the best thing is to say nothing. They know. They know what they’ve done.

Just look them fairly in the eyes, suppress any desire to smile, and maybe offer them a hug.

Think of the huge disappointments in your life: that time you lost the egg and spoon race on sports day; the first time you listened to Pink Floyd; the last time you checked your Twitter followers. Roll all of those underwhelming emotions into one, and you will have an understanding of how Spurs supporters are feeling about the north London derby this week.

I’ve seen their crestfallen faces around town and, to tell you the truth, I’ve felt a little guilty to admit to being an Arsenal supporter. It’s meant I’d rather talk about anything but the way Arsenal stylishly outplayed Tottenham Hotspur in an embarrassingly one-sided match, reinforcing the five-decade superiority of the red team over the blue team. So, no, I don’t want to talk about how it could have easily been more than 2-0 on Saturday; every time somebody mentions it I subtly change the subject – I say: “Yes, that is perfectly correct but, ay, that Trump, he’s bad isn’t he? Politics, eh? News and things.”

I know there will be some of you who feel tempted to chant a mean song or tell a joke this week, but at such times it’s vulgar to gloat, hurtful even. Simplicity is better: Let’s leave it at Arsenal are better than Spurs, move on. Inject a bit of love into the world rather than crowing.

It’s true of course that in the weeks before the match, we all had to listen to endless talk of a power shift. In fact, you’d have to be living in a hole in the ground – presumably where Dele Alli was hiding on Saturday – not to have heard that for the first time in 50 years, Spurs are now the greater team. But, as I said, they know what they have done, bragging away – why remind them now about all the things they said they were going to do, and then didn’t?

Besides, their in-built defence mechanism will have already kicked in already. This is where they sweetly describe their behaviour as “Spursy”, a charming outbreak of self-awareness which comes after every near-miss.

The weekend was pretty Spursy but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer a comforting arm around the shoulder. Hug a Spurs fan today. It’s Christmas soon.

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