Why Tottenham are likely to finish ahead of Arsenal this season
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Murphy is of the opinion (via Daily Mail) that Mauricio Pochettino’s men are more likely to finish ahead of Arsenal when the current season concludes.
With the first half of the season nearing its end, Spurs are currently 14th in the table. Meanwhile, their north London rivals Arsenal are eight spots ahead of them at sixth place.
Tottenham ended a long 24-year wait when they finished above their city rivals in the 2016-17 season under Pochettino.
The Argentine’s side has continued the trend for three consecutive years now. However, this time around, they are below Arsenal after managing to win just three matches from their 12 Premier League outings.
To put things into perspective, things have not gone smoothly for Pochettino and the Lilywhites.
Since carrying his side to the Champions League final for the first time last year, Pochettino has certainly changed the face of the club.
And to that end, Murphy’s words do resonate with the fact that over the last 3-4 years, Tottenham have a proven record of overtaking Arsenal.
After just one year into his managerial job at the Emirates, Unai Emery is already feeling the heat. To make matters worse, Arsenal’s chances of securing a Champions League spot still hangs in the balance.
Though it is too early to write off the Spaniard, a string of poor performances does raise questions about the former PSG coach’s ability to guide the Gunners to glory.
Meanwhile, since arriving at Tottenham, Pochettino has led them to a top-three finish in three of his four seasons – a commendable job indeed.
Also, Tottenham’s defence was way better than Emery’s last season, with Pochettino’s side conceding just 39 goals compared to Arsenal’s 51.
As a result, Arsenal signed experienced campaigner David Luiz from Chelsea to bolster their defence but the Brazilian has been far from impressive.
And Spurs are clearly missing Kieran Trippier, who, along with Harry Kane, played a huge role in Tottenham’s impressive run to the Champions League final last year.
Trippier’s dangerous crosses into the box were met by clinical finishes from Kane, who steered them to their first-ever European final.
Meanwhile, Serge Aurier, who has replaced Trippier at right-back, is yet to prove his credentials after his £23m move from PSG two years back.
As far as their defence is concerned, Pochettino has always stuck to a centre-back pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen with Hugo Lloris between the sticks.
With leaders and experienced veterans such as Lloris and Vertonghen out due to injuries, and Christian Eriksen looking out of sorts, Pochettino is yet to figure out his perfect squad.
Unlike Pochettino, Emery shuffles and reshuffles his squad according to the requirements of the game and this has affected their performances dearly, especially at the back.
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All said and done, Murphy’s take on Spurs finishing above Arsenal does seem accurate given that Arsenal’s defensive woes are much worse than their north London counterparts.