On the opposite facet of the north London divide is Richarlison, one other ahead who has emerged from the varzea leagues. A gun was held to Richarlison’s head as soon as, when he was enjoying within the mistaken place on the mistaken time. These are robust locations, and they produce robust footballers. “If you may play within the varzea video games, you may play wherever,” mentioned Brazil winger Raphinha, one other graduate of avenue soccer, final yr. “These gamers play to outlive.”
Tenacity, relentlessness and a streetfighting spirit
Such environments typically create footballers of a completely different mentality to those that emerge from the academies of Europe. You can see it of their types of play – the tenacity of Jesus, the relentlessness of Richarlison – and this streetfighting spirit might be on full show on Saturday.
Never earlier than has a north London derby had such a robust South American flavour. In the newest spherical of Premier League fixtures, a complete of 9 South Americans represented Arsenal and Spurs. By comparability, there have been eight English gamers within the two groups.
So far this season, South American gamers have performed a mixed complete of three,804 minutes for Arsenal and Spurs. English gamers, in the meantime, have been on the sector for a complete of three,531 minutes.
These South Americans usually delight crowds with their talent however, crucially on Saturday, they’re greater than able to dealing with themselves when the sport turns into bodily. Jesus, Richarlison, Cristian Romero, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rodrigo Bentancur: these are gamers who convey a sustained snarl, ferocity and sheer willingness to win.
Argentina’s Romero, particularly, is a participant whose cynical edge can’t be blunted. Just ask Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella, who had his hair pulled by the Spurs defender this season. Or Manchester United’s Harry Maguire, who discovered Romero screaming in his face following an personal objective. Romero’s ferocity has resonated with the Spurs fan base, who adore his aggressive method.