Tottenham Hotspur & Arsenal: The Battle of North London
Are Tottenham Hotspur closing the gap on Arsenal?
In recent years, the gap not only in class but also in league position suggests a change in the tide of power between the north London rivals.
The Gunners of old challenged for titles, whilst the Spurs of old languished in mid-table mediocrity. Not anymore.
Whilst Tottenham have never finished above their rivals in the Premier League, with the Lilywhites finishing fourth in consecutive seasons and Arsenal no longer title challengers, they have managed to bridge a gulf in class and league position the size of the Grand Canyon.
Gunners’ fans will be quick to counter and argue that last season was the same; with the Gunners closing a ten-point gap to pip Spurs to third place and an automatic Champions League spot. However, without the goals of Robin van Persie, will they be able to catch their rivals this time round?
In the past, it has been Tottenham who have had to sell their leading talents to bigger clubs. Even club captain Sol Campbell decided to leave Spurs on a free transfer, for their bitter rivals, in the hunt for trophies.
Players such as Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov were sold to English giants Manchester United as Spurs struggled to fulfil the ambitions of their key players.
Last summer, however, it was Arsenal who sold their prolific hit-man, Van Persie, to the Red Devils and it is Arsenal who have become the ‘selling club’ in north London as they fail to challenge for major honours.
Along with Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Gael Clichy have all decided their futures lay away from the Emirates in recent years. Yet Tottenham are able to hold on to the majority of their key players as they continue to challenge for a regular top four position.
It all sets up a dramatic second half to the season. With the two Manchester Clubs vying for the title, it would seem that London clubs; Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal will have to be content with fighting for Champions League qualification.
Can Spurs finally disrupt the status quo and finish above Arsenal, or will normality be restored and Tottenham consigned to being the number two team in north London for one more season? Either way, the gap is closing . . .
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