Arsenal’s title charge under Mikel Arteta has broken the duopoly of Manchester City and Liverpool in recent years, proving to be another marketing blessing for the Premier League, which strives to pose itself as the most competitive league in Europe.
And if they manage to hold their position at the top with seven games to go, the Gunners will also be able to put a break on Pep Guardiola’s unstoppable side who are in the hunt for a treble.
Accordingly, Arsenal have the backing of most neutrals. But they are extremely unlikely to get any support from their North London neighbours, Tottenham Hotspur. In fact, the feeling on the other side of the city is one of sickness.
Levy feels ‘sick’ with Arsenal’s encouraging form
Spurs in the last half-decade or so have done relatively better than Arsenal despite failing to lift any trophy in the process. But Arteta has simply transformed Arsenal and the difference between the two sides is as big as it’s ever been in recent memory.
A 21-point gap paints a very bleak picture for Spurs, who will be guaranteed to finish below their rivals for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign if Arsenal even manages a draw against Southampton.
Interestingly, at that time, it was the Lily-whites who were involved in a tight title race with Leicester City. But towards the very end of the season, Arsenal leapfrogged them into 2nd.
Speaking about Spurs’ success but lack of trophies and Arsenal’s title charge, club chairman Daniel Levy said: “Am I happy that we haven’t won more than one trophy in the last 15 years? Absolutely not. But I also think we’ve had some fantastic times, being in the Champions League a number of times. Despite the fact I feel sick that there’s a club in north London that’s a bit higher than us at this moment in time, if I look back in the last five years we’ve also been higher than them. So that’s what happens.”
Even if Arsenal don’t win the league title this season, they’ve already shown enough that they will compete for the biggest trophies under Arteta in near future as well, so long as their hierarchy continues to reasonably back them in the transfer window.
Big task on Levy’s hands
But the same can’t be said about Tottenham, who are without a permanent manager and are currently being led by Cristian Stellini following Antonio Conte’s sacking. So the priority for them at the moment is to somehow sneak into the top four (currently trailing fourth-placed Newcastle United by three points, having played a game extra) and ensure Champions League football for the next season. The qualification will not only help them financially in the transfer market but will attract elite managers as well as players.
Julian Nagelsmann is among the names understood to be on their managerial wish list.
But Spurs will have to compete with Chelsea for his signature. If they qualify for the Champions League, they may well prove to be a more attractive proposition than Chelsea, who are bound to be without Europe’s elite competition for at least a season after Real Madrid knocked them out earlier this week.