Tottenham Hotspur all but guaranteed themselves a Top 4 finish today as a result of their 2-1 win over North London rival Arsenal. The gap to 5th, which is where Arsenal lie, is 7 points. It would take a strange turn of events for the gap to be overcome, both because of Spurs good and consistent form in 2013 and Arsenal’s erratic form all season.
Spurs have a very solid look to their side and in Gareth Bale have one of the best players in the world. They have one of the best young coach’s in Europe in Andre Villa Boas, his reputation took a hit in England at Chelsea but that job is a poisoned chalice, and are a club that appear to be moving in a forward direction. That is a marked contrast to Arsenal who have a soft look to their side and have a manager who stubbornness in his beliefs and methods have caused Arsenal to slide into mediocrity. Players like Fabregas and van Persie, seen the lack of ambition for success within the club and decided they wanted to join clubs where the goal is winning as opposed to nurturing. Don’t get me wrong I admire Wenger philosophy in developing youth but he has gone so far in this belief in it that he has not provided youth with a developed team to become a part of, they have in recent years become a feeder club going on 8 years without a trophy.
So it would appear that Spurs can be top side in North London for the foreseeable future.
But can they become the top team in London?
The Chelsea story is full of chaos and drama. An eccentric Russian billionaire owner in Roman Abramovich who does not have much patience with his managers if results are not going to plan. It is amazing that he does not see the more he changes who is sitting in the manager hot seat the more inconsistent the results become. It is safe to say that there will be a new manager to start the 2013/14 campaign. If that manager is Jose Mourinho it may be the appointment to end the managerial merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have an exciting brigade of young players in the shape of Edin Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata to form a team around. They do have disruptive influences in the team, particularly John Terry, who do not help the club go forward. A Mourinho appointment may change his disruptiveness as he seems to have not fully backed a manager since the “Special One” left the club. Fernando Torres is also an issue. It looks like he will never be the force he once was and is carrying a lot of negative baggage. They will never recoup the money they paid for him but they will not win with him. Last year’s Champions League success masked the fact that Chelsea finished 6th in the Premier League, this team are in decline and need more than quick fix stop gap solutions. Chelsea do have a winning mentality and players who move to Stamford Bridge do so in the search of trophies. This will make them competitive for the foreseeable future.
Chelsea will view themselves as top dog in London based on the fact that they have won Premier League’s and a Champions League in recent memory.
For Spurs to be considered top dog in London they are going to have to believe they can take the next step and challenge for trophies. Spurs have often battled for the Champions League spots, both failing and succeeding in quests for a Top 4 finish in recent seasons. They were very unlucky that last season’s 4th place finish did not provide them with Champions League football due to Chelsea winning last season’s Champions League, also due to Liverpool winning the 2005 Champions League which brought in the rule. They also have to compete in the Champions League every season to truly be considered a top side. This is feasible for them as they can finish in the top 4 for the upcoming seasons as they have more talent in depth that Arsenal and Liverpool. Villa Boas is a talented coach and he will relish the task of beating Chelsea after their harsh and hasty dismissal of his services. Instead of a top 4 finish being the season goal, they have to be aiming to challenge for the title if they are truly to be the top dog in London and maybe one day in England.