In the last 18 months or so, people have looked at the improving Tottenham squad and have been quick to brand them as the 5th biggest team in the Premiership.
On the other hand, Arsenal’s decline after 2 titles in 3 seasons (although they won an FA Cup in 2005 and reached the CL final in 2006) and especially after the 2004-2005 season has led many people to write them off from next year’s title challenge.
So far, so good. Tottenham’s attacking foursome of Berbatov, Keane, Defoe and Darren Bent is one of the most impressive in the Premiership and in King, Dawson, Robinson, Chimbonda and Bale Tottenham have the nucleus of a quality defense. If anything’s missing, it’s a quality left-winger and a top-quality midfielder with experience.
Arsenal? Vieira and Henry’s departure have had an impact on the club’s fortunes but the holes have popped up at the wings, with no one there to adequately replace Pires and Ljunberg. Like the Spurs, Arsenal have to improve their squad to match their club’s ambitions.
After this point though, things get messy.
Tottenham fans (and many anti-Arsenal fans) believe that based on the last two seasons and the improvements Tottenham have made, they stand a good chance of overtaking Arsenal next season and qualifying for the Champions League. From the Spurs’ point of view, that’s a fair call.
However, based on the evidence of the last two seasons, you’d think that 2005/2006 was a blip for Arsenal and a great season for Tottenham, while 2006/2007 saw an improve Arsenal (in the league) and a Tottenham that started slow and had to put in something special to finish 5th.
If 2005/2006 went to Tottenham in spirit (points-wise they were still behind, and at the end of the day points are the only thing that matter), 2006/2007 definitely went the Gunners’ way.
Predictions for next season?
Based on the past two seasons, seeing the current squads AND keeping in mind that both clubs will buy more players before August ends, I’d say that:
Tottenham are most likely to come 5th and Arsenal have an equal chance of being 3rd or 4th (a bit more towards 4th).
Let me know what you guys think.