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Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Chasm Widening Between Two North London Clubs

After the 90 minutes had been played, no one was surprised at the result. More than anything, that defines the new era in the North London derby. Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal at White Hart Lane was not simply three points in the standings and a vanquishing of a rival. It was a microcosm of the no longer changing, but completely reversed, North London derby.

Arsenal are now, if they were not already, indisputably inferior to their neighbors. While Arsenal have acquired another batch of promising young footballers, they do not have the ability to field a team that can consistently win in the Premiership. Apart from Jack Wilshire and Robin van Persie, Arsenal does not have any top-class players. They have several youngsters who may become stars down the road, but that is a never-ending labyrinth at Arsenal. They always have so much promise, but when that promise blossoms it is snipped by another club. To make matters even worse, Bacary Sagna is now out for three months after suffering a broken leg against Spurs.

Conversely, Tottenham have shown an ability to fend off suitors from their most prized assets. The Luka Modric transfer saga being the most recent example. If Modric had been at Arsenal, it is hard to argue that Wenger and the Arsenal board could have convinced him to stay. Gareth Bale is another star that Tottenham managed to keep, despite rumours linking him to clubs such as Inter Milan.

By keeping their elite players and acquiring depth and youth, Tottenham have assembled a very strong squad. Their starting midfield on Sunday was comprised of Rafael van der Vaart, Modric, Scott Parker and Bale. The Gunners’ midfield lineup was Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey and Walcott. There is a significant gulf in class between those sets of four, which typifies the gap between the two clubs.

Tottenham are a team on the rise. By having a quality manager, keeping important players and emanating an aura confidence and desire to win, they are an attractive club. Arsenal is no longer that club. In a season when both North London clubs began with top four ambitions, only one of them has a realistic chance of reaching that goal. Unfortunately, without the lure of Champions League football, Arsenal may fall deeper into the mire.

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  1. Phenoum

    May 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Happy ST TOTTERINGHAM’S day!!!

    Eat It!

    oh…. and MIND THE GAP

  2. Taimur

    October 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Tottenham have never finished above Arsenal in the league table in the 15 years that Arsene Wenger has been in charge. But now I fear that might change with the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs in recent years. Arsenal’s defense has been very shaky and that’s why they cannot win games because their frailties in the back. I fear that Arsenal will finish out of the top four and that spot will be taken either by Liverpool or Tottenham. The return fixture between the two sides next year at Anfield may probably decide who gets Champions League football next year just like in 2010 and last year, when it came down to the return fixtures between Tottenham and Manchester City. That’s how much expectations have risen at Tottenham in recent years. I would hate for us to become the second best team in North London, FFS! Wenger’s players need some thing to wake them from their slumber!!!!

  3. stuanregguj

    October 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Gunners have been on a slow decline before the season started and surprised they did not buy a proven central defender during the transfer window – we all knew that from 2010 season.

    The results for the 2011 season so far speak volumes and do see some improvement for Gunners but will be difficult to finish top 6. Club is in transition and next summer will be key if they wish to get back to top 4. The 2-1 defeat another zero point game and results mean everything and Wenger knows that no matter what he says in public.

  4. stuanregguj

    October 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Results mean everything and the 2011 season although early gives an indication of team performance…Spurs are steady and tough to beat and Gunners are wobbling and finding it tough to win… article is a good indication of the present situation. Will enjoy watching the season unfold.

  5. Muley555

    October 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

    We have some Arsenal fans in serious denial about how mediocre their team have become.

    The reality is that even 2 years ago, it was impossible to imagine Arsenal finishing out of the top 4 but now that looks a real possibility.

  6. RVPfan

    October 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Very inferior performance from Arsenal. There is no direct approach anymore since Cesc left. Nobody can thread a clear cut needle to Van Persie and like previous poster here said, if you can keep him quiet, there is basically no one that look like scoring. Sure they can keep possession, but what’s the point when you pass sideways and back and down the middle again. Nothing comes out of it.

    One of the reason for this seems to be Ramsey. (And I am not scapegoating him, he’s got mediocrity surrounding him). His inability to provide any meaningful passes whatsoever and basic mediocre balls that land nowhere and does not assist on anything is mind-boggling to say the least. He’s always looking backward and sideways. He’s basically been dominated by every team that Arsenal have played this season. If we are to believe football pundits who says a game is won and lost in midfield, then I’d say that’s basically true in Arsenal’s case. If you have a poor defense, then attack is the best form of defense, if you cannot grind out and keep the score at 1-0 or 1-1 (like yesterday), then you’ve got to attack and score. Instead what you’ve got are players who lack confidence, and who lack directness.

    I don’t blame any of this on players. If you don’t have the ability to play a one-touch direct attack (so called Wengerball) that Arsene wants them to play, you can’t blame them. If they don’t have that talent, they just don’t have it. It’s as simple as that. You’ve got to be able to change tactics. If 4-2-3-1 is not working, why persist with the same over and over again? It’s just insane tactics Arsene things he can win with this formation and he’s been persisting with mediocrity for so long yet with results like yesterday’s.

    Arsenal board is here to make money and they have made tons of cash. Supporters on the other hand are left with this utter rubbish specially in a top club in English football. No wonder the attendance seems to be so slow. Who would pay that much money to see mediocrity.

  7. J

    October 3, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Tottenham are still 4 miles and 11 titles away from Arsenal; even Arsene Wenger acknowledged that last week.

  8. Gareth van der Bale

    October 3, 2011 at 9:08 am


    We all know your a Harry and Spurs Hater so, I always know exactly what your gonna say.
    Be nice if once in a blue moon you surprised us with an unbiased comment.

    Yes, The Scum have been far superior to us in recent years.
    But no longer the last few years we have closed the gap.
    BTW seller club? defoe, carrick, parker etc…
    who other than Manu who is not a seller club? ok now man c and chelski who both have $$$$$$$ owners.
    And while Im not a big Harry fan, he has never managed a top club before now so I agree he did over spend at those clubs because the have no dosh. Not the case at Spurs.

    Simply Spurs have a top quality side now like it or not.
    We are now not only better than the arse on paper but on the pitch.


    • MG

      October 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Spurs have only closed the gap because the Arsenal are in complete shambles at the moment and the team is lacking any confidence and mettle that they in years past. It’s 92-95 all over again, when Tottenham won the majority of our meetings. Close the gap when Arsenal are on top of their game and only then will you TRULY have done it. Credit will be given where it is due and Spurs’ team is clearly on top now, but I simply don’t think one can consider the gap ‘closed’ if Arsenal is merely a shadow of its former self. OF COURSE it’s going to be closed. It’s the equivalent of someone slowing down in a race the one behind claiming they have ‘closed’ the gap. Doesn’t quite work that way.

    • trickybrkn

      October 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      I have to admit… I stole former Tottenham keeper Kasey Keller’s words. It was Keller who called Tottenham a selling club just a month and a half ago…
      Also ironic that of the three players we sold you, two you sold further and one is there a month.

      Spurs are a club on the ascendancy, They could be a big club… being in London and with a history of European football and some legendary players… But not with an owner who refuses to invest in making them better.

      As for Harry. I don’t hate Harry… Harry took us from a bounce club to a team that fought for a European spot each year. But Harry is his own worst enemy. He flamed out at West Ham over some ill timed comments, Burned through both Portsmouth clubs, and has done well so far back in London… But he still has charges lingering and if history repeats, he will flame out at Spurs.

    • aarononfire

      October 4, 2011 at 2:02 am

      You’re saying Spurs would only close the gap if Arsenal’s side doesn’t get worse? It’s easy to see that Spurs have improved and Arsenal have worsened. Also look at their head to head records over the last 3-4 years… It wouldn’t hard to argue Spurs have been the better side

  9. trickybrkn

    October 3, 2011 at 6:57 am

    This story works if you have the memory of a fly… Tottenham are a selling club… I’m not even gonna bother listing it out. Arsenal as you point out always have a top notch cache of young players, and its rare that you see players leave. The home match at Tottenham was a tight affair and one goal by a keeper rooted to his spot the difference. As a neutral that game could have gone either way.I wouldn’t go out and buy the champions league tickets yet.

    But, what this story does prove is, that Tottenham support will over react to a big win… Fans don’t forget to order the Spurs 2 Arsenal 1 DVD, and mug.

  10. Sam

    October 3, 2011 at 4:57 am

    1. In a closely fought game, the home team getting a narrow victory due to a dodgy goal and a wonder strike doesn’t show a chasm.
    2. Tottenhams financial style has always (well for the last decade or so) been to pay high transfer fees but to squeeze the wage. I wonder how they’ll be able to maintain it now they’re alledgely giving modric a six figure salary. Bale and VdV and their other top players are going to want some of that too.
    3. Yes, Tottenham look the better side, but the season ends in May.
    4. Talking of the long game, unless Spurs finally make their new stadium a reality they’re going to have trouble matching Arsenal consistently. Even if they do make it to 4th ahead of us the extra revenue from the Emirates will still make it an uneven competition in the long run. If Spurs do go ahead with the new stadium they may find their finances squeezed even more in the short term.
    5. Sagna’s injury is a tragedy for the club and the player. At lease this one you can’t blame on the medical team/training method etc.

  11. Colin Sansom

    October 3, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Amendments to last message:

    1. Spurs have not lost in the Premier League to Arsenal, since Harry’s arrival.

    2. Fair Play Rules: Over the following three seasons, If a club in the Premiership finishes in top four and cannot show a profit on their books, then they will not qualify for the Champions League. (Clubs will also not be allowed to have cash injected into the club to fund players). Breach of rules will result in harsh penalties from UEFA.

    • trickybrkn

      October 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

      Harry is a self described wheeler dealer, It doesn’t take a much to look at his history of ditching clubs once he over inflates the payroll.

      At West Ham consider Dani, and the legend that is Marco Boogers.

      then factor in Pompey and Southampton and you have an idea why someone would state that Redknapp buys and runs.

      As for FairPlay, Most English teams will sadly walk around the rules with accountants and side deals to right the books. and your use of the word profit is very wrong. Its about debt. Very few clubs make profits. and frankly few are set up as such. And its a FIFA… and these ‘rules’ don’t take real effect till 2017, giving cubs plenty of time to sort it out.

  12. Colin Sansom

    October 3, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Aren’t most goals the result of defensive error?
    Spurs under Harry Redknapp have gone from strength to strength and that is failry obvious considering Spurs have not lost in the Premier League, since Harry’s arrival at Spurs, who from his track record,knows how to manage a side. Spurs are shaping up to be a top side and so they should,considering the depth and quality of their squad.
    As far as Redknapp building sides on loads of cash, that is complete nonsense and only the less informed or foolish would believe that. ‘The purse strings’ are solely handled by Levy and the board and that will never change considering they have a responsibility to shareholders.
    ‘Fair Play Rules’ has also kicked in this season, so clubs not showing a profit over the next three years will be penalised by UEFA. e.g clubs that show a loss, that finish in top of Premier League, will not qualify for the Champions League.

  13. Jack Tomczuk

    October 2, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I would rather have Arsene Wenger than Harry Redknapp any day of the week. Redknapp builds good teams by spending loads of cash. He was able to keep Modric and Bale this summer, but Wenger was successful in keeping Cesc for two straight summers of speculation. We will have to wait to see if Modric is still at White Hart Lane in two years.

    Arsenal put in a good performance. Per Mertesacker is finally settling in. Aaron Ramsey was absolutely terrible. Coquelin was very good, and he should get the start over Ramsey. Sagna is a huge loss. Wenger should put Santos on the right and keep Gibbs on the left, because Jenkinson is not ready for the Premier League.

    Arsenal are not in “crisis,” and Spurs have not surpassed them just because of recent results. Arsenal’s expectations are higher than Tottenham. If Spurs start challenging and/or winning the title in the coming years, then maybe we can talk about it.

    Speaking as a Gooner, I think this is just a season of transition. Finishing mid-table is not the end of the world. I will be angry if we do not finish top-6, but it is not time for Wenger to go. If Wenger is sacked, we may be looking back in 5 to 10 years thinking “Wow, I cannot believe we let him leave. He was a fantastic manager.”

  14. Phenoum

    October 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    what a load of crock. And no surprise its here. Easy to write this after the game huh? What is this sad excuse of journalism? I’ll be back to wish you and your fairweafher friends a happt st. F$^7ING Totteringhams day come the spring. The gulf is actually smaller than it ever was, but you and the rest of the media are quick to judge and slow to fess up to your sensational bulls#it. Eat your words son – this is worthless writing!

    • Mark Flint

      October 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm

      Lighten up Frances.

    • MNUfan1991

      October 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Well, if this is of any indication:

      United v Tottehman– 3:0
      United v Arsenal– you know what happened don’t you?

    • MNUfan1991

      October 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

      And I’d really 8-2 be Arsene right now….

      (this never gets old :))

  15. Muley555

    October 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I have been a Tottenham fan for 20+ years and although I am cautious to say that the balance of power has shifted, I will say that this is the first North London derby in a long time, I was confident we would win.

    The Arsenal line-up (even at full-strength) doesn’t strike fear in the opposition any more. If you can close down Van Persie then you have a pretty good chance of winning and King and Kabul did that well today. Arsenal had plenty of possession but only created 2 clear chances (the Ramsey goal and Gervinho miss).

    I think Arsenal will improve but am more sure now that it will be between Liverpool and Spurs for the 4th Champions league spot.

  16. chris

    October 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    For those watching in the U.S, what is going on with the audio on FSC? The volume of the crowd was turned down considerably. The Man U / Chelsea game was also like this. I don’t understand it.

    • trickybrkn

      October 3, 2011 at 7:24 am

      might have been the chanting… there was a lot of objectionable chants coming from both sides…

    • Josh

      October 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Not only has the sound quality been horrible, but the HD quality as well. It is not HD at all. It was hard to go from the excellent quality of the Everton v Liverpool match on ESPN to the garbage that Fox puts out. What is going on with this channel?

    • brn442

      October 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

      The sound quality was piss poor. The Match was re-shown on regular Fox I assume – in HD.

  17. Taimur

    October 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    tottenham played better but the goals they scored were because of defensive errors. both of them. the Rafa VDV goal was because of poor defense in not keeping a straight line and therefore allowing VDV to get in between and leave Mertesacker on his own to defend the Dutchman. The Walker goal was slow reaction from the Arsenal goalkeeper. but credit to tottenham for playing well. i hope this is a wake up call for Arsenal that some of the players they have are just not good enough, esp the defenders.

  18. Taimur

    October 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    tottenham played better but the goals they scored were because of defensive errors. both of them. the Rafa VDV goal was because of poor defense in not keeping a straight line and therefore allowing VDV to get in between and leave Mertesacker on his own to defend the Dutchman. The Walker goal was slow reaction from the Arsenal goalkeeper. but credit to tottenham for playing well. i hope this is a wake up call for Arsenal that some of the players they have are just not good enough, esp the defenders.

  19. bill

    October 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Comparing what happened to Luka over the course of 1 summer is not the same as what happened with Cesc over the course of multiple summers….

    Other than that tiny tidbit, this seems realistic, even to a gunners fan….You simply cant switch off (Like arsenal did for the 2nd goal) and expect to come up with results….

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