No Powershift – Why Arsenal are the bigger team in North London despite derby loss
“It was nice to score, I had a few headers in the game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off,” said Harry Kane after earning the North London bragging rights; the player who was rejected by Arsenal as an 8-year-old kid.
16 years down the lane, Kane tormented the Gunners and it definitely wasn’t for the first time. It was his 7th goal in his 7th North London derby game on Saturday.
Spurs dominated the match against Arsenal, just like they did against Manchester United last week at Wembley. The score could have been a resounding one for Mauricio Pochettino’s side but thanks to the wastefulness of his players, it stayed 1-0 after the blow of the final whistle.
There has been talks in recent seasons that Tottenham had begun to leave Arsenal behind, with the Gunners falling further away from title contention under Arsene Wenger this season.
Last season saw Spurs finish above their neighbours after 21 seasons. This season too, it is likely to happen as Spurs, after the win over Arsenal, have widened the gap to 7 points. Arsenal can still catch Spurs with 11 games to spare but due to their inconsistent form, which has been the case for many years now, it remains a tough job for Wenger.
Despite the 1-0 win for Spurs over Arsenal, talks of a power shift are premature. As things stand, Arsenal are way above Spurs, not in terms of players or trophies, but also in terms of glory and ambitions.
It isn’t the case where Spurs have finished five or six times above Arsenal in recent times. Spurs have still only managed two league titles in their entire history. That entire figure is the same number of titles Arsenal have won at the White Hart Lane, which is under reconstruction and should be ready by the start of next season.
Tottenham will almost certainly finish above Arsenal in the table for just the second time since Wenger took over in 1996. And when this happens after the end of the season, it will be richly deserved.
Spurs are by far the better and balanced team this season and have a young manager in Pochettino, who is hungry to win titles and trophies. Since taking over at Spurs in 2014, Pochettino, however, is yet to win any silverware. His team realistically challenged the league last term, only for their London rivals Chelsea to swoop it eventually.
To note, Spurs’ last trophy came a decade ago; a League Cup win over Chelsea back in 2008. And since that year, Tottenham’s trophy cabinet has seen nothing but accumulation of dust. Arsenal, on the other hand, for all the criticism they have faced since last winning the league in 2004, have won three FA Cups in last four years.
When it comes to the balance of power, it has gone only in one direction for the last two decades. Spurs did strike a blow on Saturday and for the second straight season could finish above their bitter North London rivals in the league, but a true dominance is only attained after years of consistency and winning trophies.
Till then, Arsenal are the undisputed kings of North London.