View From The North Bank: Everton 0 Arsenal 1


noun 1. a break or opening, as in a fence, wall, or military line; breach: We found a gap in the enemy’s line of fortifications.
2. an empty space or interval; interruption in continuity; hiatus: a momentary gap in a siren’s wailing; a gap in his memory.
3. a wide divergence or difference; disparity: the gap between expenses and income; the gap between ideals and actions.
4. a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived as creating a problem: the technology gap; a communications gap.

I believe the ‘gap’ that them up the road have been telling us to mind all season – until last night of course – refers to definition 3 of the noun. As in a wide divergence or difference. Referring to the Premier League table. They were spot on. They still are, but in a different sense of the word. I refer you to definition 4 of the noun.

Gap: a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived as creating a problem. An almost perfect description of a Sp*rs fan.

We have all met one, befriended one (obviously not for this reason, unless adopting one out of self pity) or share an office/building site/shop floor/place of work with one, and can therefore see that they do have the characteristics (not character, they invariably lack that) noted in definition 4. Their attitudes, perceptions, character and developments are different to normal beings. They lack confidence, hence the defence mechanism of having delusional beliefs (such as being genuine title contenders) and feeling the need to celebrate prematurely, such as jumping and screaming like they’ve won the Premier League (it’s been a while to be fair) when 2-0 up with two thirds of their biggest game of the season left to play. They lack understanding. For example, they believe that Scott Parker is a better footballer than Alex Song.

Talking of gaps, a 12 point lead with a third of the season left to play can be defined as a gap (definition 3) but isn’t a huge gap. It can’t be can it. I mean, Tulisa aside, huge gaps don’t get filled that quickly do they? Now a huge gap, I would suggest, would be one such as the fact that Arsenal have won 13 league titles to Sp*rs 2. Or a huge gap in time, such as 61 years (1961-2012). Or even a huge gap in terms of transfer net spend over the last eight seasons – Arsenal = -£23,870,000 Sp*rs = £110,150,000 a huge gap of £134,020,000. Or a huge gap in average attendances this season (and every season in living memory and beyond) – 59,967 versus 36,009.

So last night a 1-0 away win at Everton meant that Arsenal overtook Sp*rs into third place in the Premier League thanks to a determined leap by Thomas Vermaelen, some cohesive football, resolute defending and a favourable decision – almost as rare for us as a 1-0 win.

We’re unbeaten in the league since losing to United two months ago and have won our last six league matches. It’s amazing what can happen when you have your first choice back five fit and available. A back five that has played in just eight matches this season, winning seven, drawing one, losing none and conceding just four goals.

Keep the faith.