I will address an obvious issue here. You just read the headline, “Who Is On Top In North London?”, because you most likely follow afcstuff on twitter. You were then led right here…everyone’s favorite Arsenal blog. So, you wouldn’t be foolish to assume that this article is actually going to be me explaining why Arsenal are clearly so much better than their North London counterparts, Tottenham. But that is a little foolish, because that statement isn’t necessarily true. I’m going to break this down into a few categories and see who comes out on top in each of those said categories.
-Head to Head
I’m going to focus on the league for this category. We will go back to the 2013-14 season and move forward. At the end of the season in May of 2014, Spurs finished 6th with 69 points…10 points below Arsenal who finished in 4th (and also won the FA Cup). Then, in the 2014-15 season Arsenal finished above Spurs once again, but by 9 points this time. Arsenal qualified for Champions league (while winning the FA Cup again) and Spurs did not. It seems this category is leaning heavily toward Arsenal.
Next, the insane 2015-16 season in which Leicester City were crowned champions…ridiculous. Arsenal finished a single point above Spurs on the final day of the season thanks to Spurs being Spursy. Was it amazing to finish above Tottenham on the last day? Of course, it felt like a trophy in itself…but it wasn’t and Arsenal won nothing but bragging rights that season. I’m hesitant to award this season to Arsenal, because it was an underwhelming campaign, and feels like nothing but a missed opportunity to finish 2nd to Leicester. Especially when you consider that Arsenal were the only team to beat Leicester twice in the league that season. Remember that Danny Welbeck goal? Of course you do, but watch this anyway…that year should’ve been ours. Because it wasn’t it felt like Tottenham were at the heels of the Gunners.
Then after that, we all know what happened last year. Spurs finished above Arsenal…by 11 points at that. That’s not a fluke, that’s a much better season from Tottenham in the league. Arsenal did win the FA Cup once again, but it did hurt to lose the use of “mid the gap”.
I’m going to give this category to Arsenal. The last four seasons have seen Arsenal win 300 points to Tottenham’s 289. They also qualified for Champions League in three out of the four season, while Tottenham only qualified twice. While I was mainly looking at league results…Arsenal also have three FA Cup titles in those three seasons and that’s a lot better than a League Cup win in 2008. Advantage Arsenal.
Time to face some cold hard facts. Tottenham are more stable then Arsenal. We can even look to the last category to prove it. Stable doesn’t mean better in isolation, but it is important. Arsenal just lost the man who provided a spark in every match for the last three seasons. I am of the opinion that they have done a tremendous job in making that situation a positive for the club…but it’s not great that they found themselves in that predicament in the first place. Stability comes down to the manager. In that category, Tottenham wins it, and they win it in a big way.
Spurs are on an upward trajectory, finishing 6th, 5th, 3rd, and 2nd in that order in the previous four seasons. Arsenal are little more sporadic, finishing in 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 5th. Pochettino has the trust of his players and the fans. Arsene may not have either of those. While it hasn’t been nearly as aggressive this season, the Arsenal fan base is split in half when it comes to Wenger In/Out. Wenger has obviously been more successful when it comes to trophies, but that is tainted by the constant “will he stay or go” as well as the inconsistent league form.
To top it off, Tottenham aren’t dealing with crucial contracts expiring until 2020 (with only Vertonghen expiring next year). That is a crucial fact in determining stability. This is just the cherry on top of the stability sundae. Like I said, this truly comes down to the manager. Advantage Tottenham.
Head to Head
This is where it really matters. This is all about North London. Supremacy is in the bragging rights. Both fan bases can say whatever they want about the other…but the North London Derby is always a fun time. Let’s look at the recent head to head results. Going back to the 2013-14 season is only fair because we did that to decide the “recent seasons” debate. So, since then, in the league, Arsenal have 13 points against Tottenham, and Tottenham have 10 against Arsenal. That means that there is one single match separating the two clubs at the moment when it comes to head to head results. Arsenal played wonderfully against Tottenham in November, but Alexis Sanchez deserves a lot of credit for that win. Obviously, Sanchez plays for United now, so he isn’t an option. However, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have hit the ground running at the Emirates, and claiming a win in the North London Derby would be a great way to start their Arsenal Careers.
On the other hand, Lucas Moura is a fantastic signing for Spurs. An outside attacker is exactly what they needed. I’ve been discussing that for months on the Two Yellows podcast with Tottenham counterpart/co-host.
Both of these clubs have made promising moves ahead this weekend’s clash. Considering there is only a three point difference in head to head matches, what I’m really saying is…it comes down to this weekend. The fact of the matter is that North London is…pink? Arsenal can change that this weekend.