Ahead of last Sunday’s North London derby, just about everybody was tipping Spurs to sneak a victory and cue a tranche of articles about how the ‘Power balance in London has shifted’.
Luckily, the Gunners pulled off a surprise victory and saved us all from having to read the same old drivel we’ve all read before.
Each and every year we hear about how Spurs are finally going to put one over Arsenal, and finish above them. Each year, the same set of pundits and hopefuls are proven wrong. Wenger always finds a way of pipping Tottenham to the post.
Now don’t get me wrong, Tottenham have had a fantastic summer. Arsenal have plenty to learn from the way they’ve reacted to losing their best player. It’s been text-book stuff from Andre Villas-Boas and the man deserves a round of applause.
All the new signings bode well, but won’t necessarily translate to success on the pitch. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
Just check out Arsene Wenger’s warning to the big-spending teams: “In our job, there is a technical risk when you buy more than three players as you unbalance a bit the stability of your squad. It’s always difficult when you bring so many players in to predict how well they’ll do. You have to find a way to integrate.” (Source: Daily Mail)
At the time, most fans put these comments down to Arsene Wenger’s desire to keep Arsenal’s purse strings tied tight. But it’s hard to argue against them.
You simply can’t buy that many players and expect them to all gel together immediately. Tottenham haven’t just had a face-lift this season, their whole body has been tweaked and changed until it’s unrecognizable. This new look will take some getting used to.
I think it’s fair to say that Spurs haven’t been at their free-flowing best this season. Their first two games were both won by a single goal (both penalties) and they lost their first big game of the season (against Arsenal).
It’s going to take a while for Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen to gel with the existing Spurs players. Then there’s players like Younes Kaboul and Sandro who have been out of the game for a while with long-term injuries and Andro Townsend who has been out on loan.
This is a Tottenham team in flux. A top four finish may yet be too much to ask. But next season? Maybe they’ll go all the way.
What’s your take? Can Spurs finish above Arsenal this year?
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