Spurs or Arsenal, Spurs or Arsenal, Spurs or Arsenal? The London rivalry has not been as closely fought for quite some time and that rivalry shows signs of being yet another closely fought battle this season.
Head to head Arsenal have won 83 to Tottenhams 66 with 54 of the matches ending in a draw. However diving head first in to the stats, you can see that from the last 6 matches Tottenham have only lost 1, winning 3 and drawing the remaining 2.
The gap between the two is closer now than it has been for some time and whilst both look to have tough seasons ahead again the question of who will finish the season higher, really is a tough one to call. So, let us dive into both teams with a focus on who will finish higher Spurs or Arsenal.
The Season Ahead (Arsenal)
As was displayed already against newly promoted side Brentford, Arsenal are in a sorry state. The old issue of a weak defence has still not been addressed for what seems to be the millionth season in a row. Ben white has been signed as part of the solution to the tune of £50m, the premium cost for a young English centre-half. White will need time to bed in to the team sure, my main worry is that White is going to be expected to be the main man for Arsenal at the heart of the defence, some great form for Brighton and Leeds in recent years is one thing but taking on the pressure that comes with playing for Arsenal and the inflated expectation (AFTV I am looking at you) I worry about the burden that will be placed at his feet.
Saka and Smith-Rowe were the success stories from a rather miserable season last year and the expectation will now be that this is level of performance is not only met again but built upon. This is fine but it is also time the experienced players within the squad started to also take some of the burden of pressure; Aubameyang, Lacazette and Xhaka especially all need to start to perform at a higher, consistent level in order for Arsenal to have any chance of moving forward.
The last two worries are the manager and the fans. Arteta in charge since 2019 is now sitting in a very precarious position, the results have not improved and the team is still without a sense of direction and way out of the mire they currently find themselves entrenched. Finishing 8th last season was not something any fan has come to accept and the lack of fans inside the stadiums I feel saved Arteta from the chop. This season the fans are back and come into this season already frustrated by the performance of the club, having suffered the embarassment of finishing behind Tottenham last season will be the tip of the iceberg for Arteta if he can’t get the team performing. As the consequence of not doing so could well lead him to needing to update his CV in search of a new job. The pressure is on and the clock is most definitely ticking.
The Season of Nuno (Tottenham)
A new season and for Tottenham a new face is at the helm. Replacing Ryan Mason who filled in at the end of last season following the strangely timed sacking of Jose Mourinho is ex-Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo. It is no secret that Nuno was not the first choice replacement for the picky Daniel Levy. On the orginal list was: Nagelsmann, Rodgers, Simone, Allegri and Gattuso so you can understand why some fans are not overly impressed with the appointment of Nuno who although enjoyed success with Wolves, does adopt a similar approach to Jose in that he does focus his teams on defence first. Tottenham fans practically drove Mourinho out of the club due to this tentative approach so it will be interesting to see how the fans react to their new manager, a 1-0 win against Manchester City will have certainly helped but it is a long season and fans have a very short-term memory.
Looking now at the team. It has often been highlighted that they are a one man team, no Kane no results….It is just not the case. Yes they are a weakened side without their number 9 but apart from a select few clubs who wouldn’t miss one of the best strikers in the world? Son is a striker who I feel is severely unappreciated and would improve most if not all of the other sides in the league.
Obviously the main question at the club does surround Kane, does he stay or not? Ultimately I feel that whatever the outcome is with Kane the team is now in a place that is set up to play without him as well as with him. Yes he would be a massive loss but replaced in the correct way (Soldado?) then I feel the team can adapt and thrive.
So who do I feel will ultimately have a better season and finish above the other?
Arsenal are still in the longest rebuild known to mankind and Tottenham are on the cusp of potentially needing another rebuild themselves, but all things considered I feel that Tottenham will win out in terms of bragging rights and also put themselves in with a chance of European football. Arsenal on the other hand I am certain will have a new manager come the end of the season and with it a massive overhaul of their team being required. The cold fact is that some serious investment is needed if they are to ever challenge the top again.
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