Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, and the return leg of the north London derby is set to be fierce.
Spurs will be looking to bounce back after their Premier League title challenge was dealt a huge blow following back to back losses to Burnley and Chelsea, while the Gunners will be looking to boost their top-four chances with a victory.
There is more than bragging rights to play for, and a win for the hosts will keep their slim title hopes alive despite falling nine points off the top within five days.
Many believe Tottenham are already out of the title race with 10 games left in the 2018-19 campaign, and Arsenal legend Ian Wright claims manager Mauricio Pochettino is largely to blame for the debacle.
“You know something? You’ve to give them credit simply because they were six points off up to a point, with the fact that they’ve signed no one and had injuries to key players and they were still amongst it,” Wright said on his official YouTube channel.
“But when you look at the might Manchester City and Liverpool have, they are just hanging on really. And what we saw with them losing against Chelsea, they’re going to come up short simply because they do not have enough. They do not have enough. And plus their manager, as soon as they are around it…I’d hate to see Unai Emery, if we’re six points off the top, saying it’s going to take five to ten years for us to win the league. It’s six points man. He’s giving them the license to say “we are not ready yet, if it doesn’t happen, don’t worry about it”.
“It’s the same thing that happened with them last time, he came out and said the same kind of thing “we’re not ready yet”, and then they fall off again. So Tottenham and their players have got a natural kind of excuse because their manager says they can’t win it until the next five or ten years. I’d be disappointed if my manager is saying that.”
Tottenham didn’t sign any player in the last two transfer windows, with funds going mainly into their new stadium project, but they have been excellent this term, winning 20 league games.
They have lost the other eight, though, and it appears those losses could prove costly going forward.
A defeat at the hands of Arsenal will see the gap between them reduce to just a point, and Spurs’ top-four chances could be dealt a massive blow should that happen.
While he has done a great job since taking charge of Tottenham, Pochettino’s decision to say his side are still years away from mounting a proper title challenge ahead of the Chelsea clash would surely have had a negative effect on the morale of the squad, and he should shoulder some blame after seeing the team fall off pace all of a sudden.