Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Predicting Where the Rivalry Will Stand in 12 Months
With a new Premier League season on the not-so-distant horizon, it is difficult to mention Tottenham without mentioning Arsenal and vice versa.
The rivalry between the two clubs is getting hotter and hotter by the season, as the fate of their seasonal competition has come down to the final day in each of the past two seasons.
However, while Spurs have been able to lessen the gap between them and the Gunners, the red side of North London can still rightly boast a healthy edge given the fact that they have finished above their rivals for so many seasons in a row.
Still, past domination does not imply future achievement. In fact, the basic trend of recent seasons could easily point to a Tottenham ascendancy, as the Lilywhites have been improving greatly.
So just where will this rivalry stand after another Premier League season?
The question is not an easy one to answer, as there are many lurking variables—most notably transfers and injuries—that could quickly derail any expectations one might have prior to the season.
Looking past any possible catastrophes, though, one can get a good idea of what's coming this upcoming season by analyzing each club's standing.
For Tottenham, a lot of their forward momentum lies on the club's ability to keep Gareth Bale around for an extended period of time.
Thankfully, the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis is reporting that Bale is set to stay at Spurs for at least another season, setting up well for the club's upcoming season.
Further, Tottenham seem to be establishing a bit of stability in the front office.
According to Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke, manager Andre Villas-Boas turned down an enticing and lucrative position at Paris Saint-Germain to stay at Spurs for his second season, which is a good indication that the young Portuguese boss is looking to stay for a while.
Meanwhile, the appointment of Technical Director Franco Baldini and his first transfer—Fox Sports is reporting a record-breaking purchase of Paulinho for £17 million—show that the club is fully committed to bringing a new level of prosperity to White Hart Lane.
However, Spurs still lack greatly in one region of the pitch.
The striker position was a huge problem for them last season, as the side only had two experienced forwards to choose from: Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe.
After both had struggles with form and injuries, the majority of the goalscoring load fell to Gareth Bale, who seemed to single-handedly keep them in the race for Champions League football.
On the other side, Arsenal has even more stability at the top, with manager Arsene Wenger entering his 18th season at the club.
Further, while the Gunners have been quick to sell off their best assets over the past few seasons, the fact that they have all but paid off their stadium compelled Wenger to tell the Daily Mail's Jim Van Wijk that he might be ready to spend big in subsequent transfer windows.
For evidence, one need look no further than an article by Sid Lowe of The Guardian claiming that a looming big-money swoop for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain is nearly complete. It's a move that could shore up any problems the side faced at striker.
So where can one expect this rivalry to stand in a year's time?
That question largely depends on Tottenham's activity in this summer's transfer window.
Should Spurs fail to sign a new striker—or sign a poor one—it will be difficult for the club to reach the level it did last season.
Who will finish higher in the table this season?
After all, while Bale is an incredible talent, it's difficult to expect him to reach the goalscoring level he did over the last few months of last season.
Hence, the level of Arsenal's advantage over Tottenham could once again grow.
However, if Spurs are able to coerce a striker with world-class ability to join them at the Lane next season, it could well mean that the two clubs will be in store for yet another close league run-in.
Even if Tottenham were to find a way to finish above their rivals, though, one thing that is for certain is that Arsenal supporters will still be claiming dominance in the rivalry.
I mean, one season pales in comparison to the 18 that preceded it.
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