Arsenal: 11 Reasons Why Tottenham Can Never Finish Above Arsenal in the League
The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham goes way back and the fixture is generally regarded as a six-pointer whenever both sides meet. Every football league has its own special sets of fixtures between rivals and the North London Derby is widely regarded as one of the biggest spectacles in English Football.
Down the years, the matches between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have produced moments of quality and individual brilliance from footballers that have placed their names in the folklore of their clubs. Moments like Thierry Henry’s magnificent solo run in the 3-0 victory, Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal of the season in the 3-1 victory or David Bentley’s unbelievable long-range projectile missile in the 4-4 draw could only be produced in a match of this caliber.
There have been epic encounters that provide enthralling displays for even the neutrals to enjoy. No one expected an unlikely comeback from Tottenham when they were two goals down with only five minutes to spare. Nobody also expected a Tottenham comeback when they were two goals down at halftime in the Emirates after they were outplayed by their illustrious neighbors, but the second half was a different ballgame.
The first North London Derby this season at White Hart Lane had it all. Arsenal’s recent scourge of the Derby, Rafael van der Vaart, turned out to be a better handball player than a footballer as he controlled the ball cannily with his left arm before drilling it past Szczesny. Aaron Ramsey scored Arsenal’s equalizer after a lovely team move and Kyle Walker scored his first Tottenham goal from some distance even though fingers were clearly pointed at Wojciech Szczesny for his role in letting the ball skip past him easily.
However, the game was marred by a horrific injury suffered by Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna and he’ll be out till the New Year to say the least.
Tottenham has been in a rich vein of form this season and most Spurs fans believe that this will be the season where their Arsenal jinx will finally be broken but here’s 11 reasons why Tottenham can never finish above Arsenal.
Since arriving in Arsenal in 1996, Arsene Wenger has never finished below Spurs and I’m pretty sure that he won’t want to end the season behind the club’s arch enemy with Champions League football probably at stake.
Arsene Wenger’s 15-year stint at the club has seen him finish above Tottenham in stunning fashion and I’m confident that it’s going to stay that way.
Tottenham’s Record Against the Traditional Top Four
Up until the 20th of November 2010 at the Emirates, Tottenham were on 68-game winless streak against the traditional top-four sides of the Premier League. They’re always second best when they play Manchester United and there are times when they leveled Chelsea pound for pound, but that fixture at the Emirates can never be forgotten by the Arsenal faithful as they watched their club capitulate in grand style to lose the game despite being two goals up at the halftime.
Tottenham started their season with a 3-0 loss to Manchester United and followed it up with a 5-1 drubbing in the hands of Manchester City. They managed to get a win past Arsenal and they’ll play Chelsea soon enough.
As long as they continue to drop points in these fixtures, Arsenal will definitely skip past them.
Tottenham matched Manchester United scoring record for a game in terms of goal difference when they mutilated Wigan Athletic 9-1 two seasons ago, but it was really funny to know that the same Wigan went to White Hart Lane last season to win by a lone goal.
There were many more fixtures like Tottenham’s 3-3 draw against Blackpool when they showed their inconsistency and that trend will definitely continue as the season progresses.
Injuries to Key Players
Like every football team, Tottenham revolve their football around key figures like Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and more recently Emmanuel Adebayor. Therefore, injuries to these players will be disastrous to Tottenham’s hopes of a Champions League finish because the replacements are not as reliable as the key players (with the exception of Jermaine Defoe and Roman Pavlychenko).
History has its way of putting additional pressure on some sides over certain issues. Most of the players from Tottenham would like to finish above Arsenal but the history factor will clearly put doubts on the minds of some players that they are actually capable of finishing above Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger’s Edge over Harry Redknapp
Arsene Wenger has remained firm at Arsenal while Harry Redknapp has moved across England to manage many clubs with the most recent being Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham. It’s clear that the head-to-head pendulum swings on Arsene Wenger’s side if you want to juxtapose both managers.
Harry Houdini is a great manager by his standards but I feel that Wenger’s edge over him and his club will be another reason why Tottenham can’t finish above Arsenal.
Robin Van Persie’s Goal-Scoring Form
The Flying Dutchman picked up where he left off last season and he’s currently leading the club’s scoring charts with 17 goals already. The fact that he has become a goal-scoring centurion will be an added incentive for Arsenal’s lethal finisher.
His goals can propel Arsenal to a Champions League place at the end of the season and that will definitely move Arsenal above Tottenham.
Arsenal are a club that have qualified for the Champions League group stages for 14 seasons in a row and the knockout phase for 12 seasons a row. I’m very sure that the players know what’s expected of them as the season progresses.
In recent times, Arsenal always had bragging rights over their neighbors until Juande Ramos ended it in grand style in that 5-1 demolition in the Carling Cup semis of 2008. That game also unveiled a little feud between Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner.
Arsenal saw off the threat of Tottenham in subsequent years till that 2-1 defeat in White Hart Lane that showcased Danny Rose’s sumptuous volley and Manuel Almunia’s horrible goalkeeping. Tottenham added further misery in the 3-2 reverse last season in November before an enthralling 3-3 thriller in April.
Arsenal fans may have forgotten about the Premier League till next season but finishing above Tottenham will give them satisfaction in more ways than one.
Jack Wilshere’s Bet
Jack Wilshere recently dared the Tottenham fans with a £3,000 bet that his side was going to end up against Spurs with charity being the benefactors of the winnings. Arsene Wenger welcomed the idea and said that he would ensure that Wilshere wouldn’t pay the money.
That clearly means that he wants the Tottenham fans to pay...after their team finishes below Arsenal.
Unpredictability of the Premier League
Last season showed how topsy-turvy the Premier League could be. Manchester United lost their unbeaten record to Wolves and Chelsea got spanked at home by Sunderland and they were plummeting in mediocrity for a large chunk of the season before challenging for the trophy. Arsenal on the other hand drew a match despite being four goals up and were the only team in the league to finish fourth in a two-horse title race with Manchester United.
Tottenham leapfrogged Manchester City to the last Champions League spot two seasons ago from a Peter Crouch goal, but the rangy forward changed from hero to zero when his own-goal thwarted Tottenham’s fading hopes to claim fourth place.
That’s how unpredictable the Premier League can be.
In all my years as an Arsenal fan, I’ve never seen the Gunners finish below the Spurs.
I’ve also been very confident with this assessment to the stage that I’m still in the opinion that if Arsenal ever ends up in 17th place, Tottenham will get relegated.
You know what that means.