Kings of North London?
This weekend certainly won't decide which of Arsenal or Tottenham are the best side in North London, but it will certainly give us an indication as to which is struggling most.
I suppose it all depends on what colours you follow, but if we look at Tottenham, can we absolutely say we are better that Arsenal in anything other than current league position and perhaps seem to be at least retaining our position, whilst Arsenal seem to be slowly but surely declining.
Yet again Spurs are in transition and still await the first shovel to be dug for the new stadium and who knows what ramifications the cost will have on team building and mid-term success. Arsenal will soon have paid off their build, but you don't really get the impression that any sudden increase in wealth will tempt Arsene Wenger to spend big on the players that his team really needs. Also how long can he continue in the belief that getting a top four place is all that his fans really value?
As things stand, it seems clear that both sides are fighting for one Champions league place with a few others such as Everton, but you don't feel that either looks like closing the gap on the Manchester's or Chelsea and though Spurs have only flirted with CL football, what would missing out do for Arsenal and their own credentials as one of the competitions regulars and elite teams in the game? Will that affect them more than Spurs again missing out?
Not having a huge over-head for paying off The Emirates is fine, but should they lose out of CL money, surely they would remain in the same financial state, give or take a million here are there. We only have to look at Liverpool to see that players quickly reset their priorities from former CL teams to new ones, and how difficult would it be for Arsenal to recover their top four status and how long without it would they be considered as just another team? Spurs may not have remained as a CL team, but did they spend their money wisely and in appointing AVB, was that a step forward or step back? Only time will tell.
But what of M. Wenger, can he keep buying potential to replace world class performers and expect to succeed? There also has to come a point when either he decides to hang up his long coat or his board decide that a change is needed. Changing a manager is usually a cause for internal upheaval, but when a manager has been in place for as long as Wenger, you know the change will be felt from top to bottom within the club and it will take someone very special to take over, even if there hasn't been any silverware in years.
Today, neither side can really boast to being better than the other. As jod wrote yesterday, the table doesn't lie and neither side are punching their weight. Question is, how long will this latest Spurs transition take to complete and how big is the decline that Arsenal appear to be in? I suppose one question we should be asking is which team is currently in the better shape and who looks like turning things around with the least effort???