Arsenal and Spurs: Same Same but Different.

It’s a funny time in North London at the minute, it seems like everything has changed. Gone are the days of Arsenal fans taunting the Spurs faithful with endless banter and gloating of their continued success, winning derby matches, winning leagues and cups, having the best players, the better stadium etc, there is no doubt times have changed for the worse at the Emirates.

I can’t remember a time when Arsenal fans have been so pessimistic about the club’s future and more importantly, questioned their faith in the messiah that is Arsene Wenger. But it ain’t so rosy at Tottenham either; rioting, unrest and promises that more firepower will arrive…and that’s just Harry talking about his and Sandra’s sex life. In reality, the gap between Arsenal and Tottenham has never been so close both on and off the pitch.

Arsenal have had some huge issues on their hands this summer; Fabregas has finally left (thank god), however the way it has come about seems to have surprised Wenger et al as there doesn’t seem to be a standout candidate ready to come in. You would have thought Wenger would have lined up the ‘next big thing’ (probably young and French) or have an experienced world-class player ready to fill the boots of one of the world’s best midfielders, but he hasn’t and on top of this he has the added problem of Nasri.

Will Samir be busting out his 'Magnum' look at Man City?

Samir Nasri will complete his move to Manchester City this week unless of course Arsene Wenger plays him against Udinese, but with under a year left on his contract Arsenal would be foolish not to take the £20m+ on offer in what would be a great bit of business; he has not only got top dollar for a player in his last year of his contract, but will still be making a good profit, at least £8m, on what they paid Marseille for his services in 2008. We know Wenger loves a good bit of business, especially when it will have a positive effect on profit margins. But who will arrive? Lille’s Eden Hazard and Valencia’s Juan Mata were the big names linked, both excellent young players, but Arsenal have now lost out to Chelsea in the race for Mata and only have themselves to blame. Hazard will be a lot of work to make happen with the player happy to remain in Ligue1 and the club not really wanting to sell.

Nasri and Fabregas are/were 2 of Arsenal’s best players, the team is a lot weaker without them and Spurs are bracing themselves to lose their best player also in Luka Modric. There is also no obviously replacement for Modric that Spurs could bring in or even attract, now they can’t offer Champions League football , so the job will more than likely fall to Kranjcar. Modric is on a long-term contract so they don’t have to sell, but this could easily turn in to a Fabregas style situation with him ultimately wanting to move to another club against the wishes of his employers but everyone knows his future lies away from the club. It is both clubs short-comings last year that have meant holding on to these players now or anything past next season will not be a possibility.

A somewhat disappointing campaign last season for both sides was optimised by the lack of signings in January to provide that final push towards the finish line. Spurs needed a striker and Arsenal priority was a top-class centre back, but nothing materialised for either club. Arsenal completed another trophy-less season and Spurs slipped back to their now accustomed Europa League spot rather than earning another shot in the Champions League which they did so well to entertain in last season.

Both sides have been slow to act in the transfer market this summer; Arsenal have made one decent recruit in Gervinho, a good player with bags of talent, but I would be surprised to see him hitting more than 20 goals meaning they will have to rely on Van Persie alone. The striker Tottenham fans are crying out for has not arrived at the club, although Adebayor will be on the way if the deal can be done, but they are leaving it late again.

Look at Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, they all have at least 3 top-quality strikers each and have done the majority of their transfer business early in the window so they have a settled team coming in to the season. Both clubs now have to face up to the prospect of losing their best players late in the game to their rivals but only have themselves to blame.

Must have Champions League football

Players wanting to leave causes unrest, we have witnessed that with ‘the Fabregas saga’, but you have to admire how Nasri has conducted himself throughout this summer, he has come in and played for Arsenal at the start of this season despite intense transfer speculation and was arguably the best performer against Liverpool. Other than a Facebook rant, that apparently wasn’t actually him, he has stayed quiet and got on with his job. Over at Tottenham the response has not been as professional from Luka Modric, with reports of his unhappiness very evident to manager Harry Redknapp and the rest of the team, so much so Redknapp has only recently stated that if he is so unhappy he has to leave with only Daniel Levy defiant that he won’t be from his base in America.

Spurs transfer rumblings are always a bit more positive with endless players linked, however one of our articles earlier in the summer said last season was costly for Spurs and it is at this late stage of the transfer window when this has rung true. Spurs haven’t got the wage structure to accommodate the world’s best or the standard of football the world’s best want to play.

Arsenal have similar problems don’t seem to want to spend money on big transfer fees, there is no doubt for me that the two sides have never been so close in Premier League history and if Arsenal do lose out to Udinese this week both teams will be in a worse position than they were this time last year but no different from each other.

Spurs have always been playing catch up with Arsenal on the pitch, Arsenal have been one of the most successful Premier League sides domestically and in Europe since the Premier League started, whilst Spurs’ greatest achievement was arguably qualifying for last season Champions League. Now both sides future is under threat, for me there is no doubt Manchester City, Chelsea and champions Manchester United are the teams to beat this season, whereas in North London things have gone full circle, Arsenal are no better than Spurs and they both have to play catchup.

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  1. Jake says:

    I agree that there isn’t much difference between the two sides nowadays, especially as I have just been reading Nasri is gone. Wildness is now the only midfielder of real quality for Arsenal, Ramsey & Frinpong has potential but that’s about it. Any signings Wenger makes will no doubt be young and need time to adjust-all signs point to a tough season for Arsenal, but a lot will depend on signings. I don’t support either side but no doubt Arsenal fans will hate to admit that on paper Tottenham are actually better.

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