Power Shift in North London?

The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is one of the most recognizable and fierce rivalries in the world. Despite both teams carrying elite status in the Premier League, Arsenal traditionally always had the edge over their rivals in past decades. However, this was certainly not the case in the most recent North London derby, the last ever one at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane. Tottenham carried out a comprehensive 2-0 win over the Gunners, who looked complacent, dull and boring going forward. It is also the first time in 22 years that St. Totteringham’s day will not be celebrated amongst Arsenal fans- the day Arsenal are guaranteed to finish above Spurs in the table. This leads to the question: is there a real shift in power between in North London?

First, I’d like to talk about the two managers. Mauricio Pocchettino is quite young for a top-class Premier League manager (45), compared to Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger (67). This is shown in the way they manage their teams, with Wenger being the more calm and quiet manager of the two, and Pocchettino bringing more emotion to the way he manages.

Another is the quality of players each side possess. Something a commentator said during the derby was something I found to be quite interesting- he said, “If you were to choose the top 11 players from Arsenal and Tottenham, most of the players who’d be selected are wearing white kits.” This was certainly not the case during Arsenal’s glory days, boasting players like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp in their ranks. Tottenham’s calibre of talent can almost be compared to this golden generation of Arsenal, with young menacing players like Dele, Kane, Eriksen and Walker in the lineup. Several Spurs players have recently signed long term deals with the club, which goes on to show the club and players share the ambition for really great seasons to come.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are not quite there yet. There has been rumours of exits of key players like Alexis and Özil, with some players saying that they will only stay if Wenger does as well. This may not be the case for Wenger after recent disappointments in the league and European competition by the Gunners under him. This shows the difference in unity, teamwork and ambition shown between the two clubs. It’s like playing for a team with one foot already out of the door- how can you give your all for a team if you’re searching for who to play for next season on your off days.

The most important step to come in Tottenham’s jump to being a true world-class club is the move to their new stadium(read more about West Ham’s stadium move HERE).  The move comes at a large cost, and with the added cost of player wages with many signing new contracts, consistent performances in the league and Europe is required to support the finances. The next two seasons are crucial in the growth of Tottenham as a club. It will determine whether this season is something to build upon and grow into a European title contending team after successful campaigns, or result in an exodus of key players to other teams after underwhelming ones. It could certainly change the way we look at the North London derby too- instead of tight matchups with similarly talented teams, I can see more blowout wins for Spurs to come in the near future based on the directions the two clubs are headed in.


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Author: Kevin

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