To dare is to do

No, I have no inspirational message for you today. I merely refer to the sign that until Wednesday was hanging at White Hart Lane. White Hart Lane sounds like a romantic place, does it not? White đź’ť Lane. A place for lovers who don’t know how to spell. Who needs to spell when love is in the air?

White Hart Lane, unperturbed at this moment
White Hart Lane, unperturbed at this moment

White Hart Lane is actually quite removed from romance unless you are find relics of antiquity romantic, as many do. It’s the stadium where Tottenham play, one of the older ones still in use in the Premier League. You can tell because it doesn’t have a silly corporate name. Tottenham, like Arsenal, are a North London team. White Hart Lane is only about 5 miles from the Emirates, but a world away in terms of of grit. If you can remember the riots that occurred in London over approximately a three-week period in 2011, those started close to Tottenham following a protest in relation to the police killing of a 29-year old Tottenham resident.

This is not to say that the area around the Emirates doesn’t have some grit about it. I’m sure it’s a very different atmosphere when the crowds are away.

White Hart Lane is recognizable on television for the white signs all around the stadium under the upper deck.  They say “Come on you Spurs,” “Tottenham Hotspur,” “The game is about glory,” and “To dare is to do.”

Arsenal and Tottenham have a storied rivalry. Although you’ve seen that I feel most strongly about Chelsea, dyed-in-the-wool Arsenal fans understand that the most important enemy is Tottenham. I have a hard time hating Tottenham because in the time I’ve been watching they’ve been pretty regularly beatable and always seem to place below (often just below) Arsenal. I was positively rooting for them this morning when they beat Manchester City quite badly. (By the way, I’ve been told never to admit that. But I can’t lie to you.) Still, when it was time to choose matches that we wanted to attend this year, the Tottenham home game was our first choice. What could be better to experience than that electric rivalry? Unfortunately, we didn’t get the Tottenham home game because it got snapped up right away by one of the other guys.

This week Arsenal played Tottenham at White Hart Lane in Round 3 of the Capital One Cup, considered one of the more minor competitions. Normally, Arsene Wenger doesn’t prioritize the Capital One Cup, particularly in a period in which there are many other competitions. It was believed that he would do so this week because of the two recent losses, to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week and to Chelsea in the Premier League last weekend. However, in the end he made 10 changes in the starting lineup that had played over the weekend. Likewise, Tottenham made 8 changes in its weekend starting lineup. No matter how much the managers talk it up, it seems everyone is willing to sacrifice this competition.

Still, it was quite an enjoyable match to watch. Both teams had chances, and these second-choice players worked hard and made things interesting. In the end, Arsenal’s two goals came from one of the more unlikely sources; Mathieu Flamini, a guy who hadn’t started for months. The first goal was nothing more than the result of dogged determination and putting oneself in the right place at the right time. The second was an act of absolute beauty and skill. Tottenham’s goal was an own goal put in the net by our own Calum Chambers. He had a good game except for that moment.

Tim Stillman, whose game analysis I read regularly on Arseblog, wrote a rather different piece this week about what it’s like to be an Arsenal fan attending a match at White Hart Lane. I think you’ll enjoy reading it even if you’re not so interested in soccer. You can find it here. It reminded me that when I was contemplating trying to sneak into Boleyn Grounds and feigning being a West Ham fan to see Arsenal play, I asked a friend how dangerous that might be. He said he thought I’d probably get away with it at West Ham, but DO NOT try it at Tottenham.

Arsenal fans attending the game made some headlines for their bad behavior at White Hart Lane. In their celebration of the win, they ripped a few of those famous signs from the stands, including one that said “To Dare is To Do.” Inspiration doesn’t always bloom in the positive way you might intend.

The signs seemed fully restored for today’s game against Man City. Arsenal move on to the 4th round of the Capital One Cup, playing Sheffield Wednesday in late October.

Alexis provides the meat in a hat trick sandwich; Theo and Olivier supply the bread.
Alexis provides the meat in a hat trick sandwich; Theo and Olivier supply the bread.

Today Arsenal played Leicester City in the Premier League at the less romantically named King Power stadium. Leicester City had been undefeated for the season, but capitulated badly at home today, 2-5. Leicester City scored first, followed reasonably quickly by Theo Walcott’s equalizer.  Alexis Sanchez finally got his groove back, scoring a hat trick. Olivier Giroud added the exclamation mark.

We celebrate Alexis Sanchez as today’s man of the match in the retooled Gooner Triumphal Feast. Alexis is Chilean, so we’ll try some Porotos Granados, Chilean bean and corn stew.

The busy part of the season continues on Tuesday. Arsenal play Olympiakos at home in match play for the Champions League.

Pictures of the Gooner Triumphal Feast to follow.


A disembodied Alexis surveys the Gooner Triumphal Feast, Chile style
A disembodied Alexis surveys the Gooner Triumphal Feast, Chile style

It was a hat trick that Alexis Sanchez delivered today, remember. So we went a bit overboard on Chilean food. This could be done because the most particular eater in the household was elsewhere at dinner time. We had the Porotos Granados mentioned above, as well as some potato fritters called Chapaleles. We also had a chorizo sandwich called Choripan. I had an acquaintance who lived for a year in Chile who told me the food could be quite bland, but everything we tried tonight was very good.

While looking for recipes I found a supposedly Chilean cocktail called Monkey Tail. The next time Alexis Sanchez has a man of the match performance, we’ll give that a try. To dare is to do, or so White Hart Lane would have us believe.

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