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Are Spurs any closer to trumping Gunners?

OPINION: The old cliche of a Seven Sisters Road power shift continues to entertain our friends in the press box, but north London rivals are split by just one player

15 February, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Spurs striker Harry Kane

THE burn of the north London derby defeat on Saturday has somehow not left a lasting ache, possibly due to the lack of surprise surrounding the outcome.

Also, Facebook has changed its secret algorithm so that you only see stuff from people whose baby photos you’ve politely praised in the past, so I’ve largely escaped the anti-Arsenal memes from Tottenham supporters who, as a matter of childish principle, I never click a like for, regardless of the loveliness of their weddings, the cuteness of their dogs and the dullness of their Lad Bible shares.

Instead, there was somebody asking whether anybody remembered the Manhattan Lights nightclub in Muswell Hill and its rubbish fog machine (little tip for club owners: never call your venue something which sounds like New York rhyming slang for the runs), while somebody else logged on to inform us that he had a cold, but god bless Lemsip as it had made him feel a little bit better.

Anyhows, let’s return to the lack of surprise to Tottenham’s win. Things could’ve turned out differently if Alexandre Lacazette had scored an equaliser in injury time but, of more relevance, another alternative scenario was Tottenham winning 3-0, 4-0, or more. Given the circumstances, with Spurs yet to have sold Harry Kane and Arsenal at a low ebb as they experiment with a new jigsaw of team-mates, the fact they bottled a big score is some soothing relief. It would be churlish to bring up the fact that Arsenal, of course, beat Tottenham by two goals in the reverse fixture.

The old cliche of a Seven Sisters Road power shift continues to entertain our friends in the press box, fuelled also by pictures of cranes stacking up a new Spurs stadium which, like a sitcom script, will have a few more seats than the Emirates Stadium. Although not as phallic as a rocket, the “who’s got the bigger stadium?” game has comparisons with Donald Trump comparing the size of his nuclear weapons with other countries – all very impressive, but what does it all mean?

The teams are split by one player, Kane, at the moment. He was in Europe’s shop window again against Juventus and Mauricio Pochettino’s calm revolution will only really be complete if he can keep him, the worst-paid player in our league – worst paid, in ratio to talent. The formula for doing that is simple: pay him more but also win important things. The first may well be possible, but, while we enthuse about Spurs as sudden world-beaters, the fact remains they are 20 points adrift of their first league title in nearly 60 years. Now in the ascendancy, there are championships to be won if they really want to level their historic feud with Arsenal.


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