The Premier League is home to some of the most intense rivalries. The battle of Manchester, The Merseyside Derby, The Tyne-Wear derby, The West-Midlands Derby, The North-West Derby… the list can go on and on.
One of the derbies that has captivated football fans and presented us with some of the most memorable football moments is the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.
You are either Arsenal or Tottenham, there is simply no ‘in-between’. The amount of hate between the two is evident from the fact that Arsenal consider their finishing below Tottenham as more disastrous than missing out on Champions League football. As expected, Tottenham were disappointed in finishing another season that was so full of promise but settling for a second-place finish. Nonetheless, finishing above Arsenal, who for the most of their tumultuous history, have been the better side and have won more trophies.
Spurs have had a quiet transfer window, with no considerable signings and just one departure, an important one of Kyle Walker. They have successfully managed to keep the rest of their important players, many of whom were on the radars of various clubs following their stellar season.
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Mauricio Pochettino, the master-tactician has revelled at his role and finally has managed to better Arsene Wenger, a feat that was not achieved by any of his predecessors.
Heading into the new season, shall we see more of the same? Or will Arsenal swing the pendulum of power back in their favour?
On paper, Tottenham still possess the better squad. Although they will sorely miss the services of Kyle, they have an able replacement in Kieran Trippier. If they manage to keep talismanic Harry Kane injury free throughout the season, we may be looking at a more menacing goal-tally from the Englishman next season. Dele Alli and Eriksen were instrumental in central midfield and a lot of Spurs’ creativity flows through their boots. Do we need to say much about their defence? Lloris, Vertonghen and Alderweireld
provide more stable footing than any other defence in the Premier League.
All that being said, they lack strength in depth. Vincent Janssen, a goal-machine in Nederland has failed to reproduce his magic in the Premier League. They do not have an able midfielder to take over the creative-mantle from Alli or Eriksen and lack options at the back too.
Arsenal meanwhile, are plagued with injury problems of their own. They too don’t possess the required strength in depth. But promising signings of Lacazette and Kolasinac may instil a sense of revival into Arsenal fans for the next season. They now have a potent goal-threat up front and finally seem to have got an able left full-back, two positions which were not completely made up for in the seasons before.
Overall, Tottenham look set to complete another season staying above their bitter rivals. Arsene Wenger’s side needs 2 more signings, more of statement signings, to really stand a chance of entering the top 4 this time around.
With that being said, the Premier League stands out from the other leagues as being the most unpredictable in the world. Could we see a resurgent Arsenal next season, toppling Tottenham and reclaiming the North-London bragging rights? Could Arsenal mount a serious title-challenge? Will Tottenham be bogged down with expectations, after a hugely successful 2016/17?
Questions aplenty, answers soon to follow.