Comparing Tottenham and Arsenal. For them it seemed a fantastic start, but then….



By Bulldog Drummond

(We did initially contemplate putting a picture of a cockerel (not the Totty cockeral, just any old cockeral) on its back with its feet in the air at this point, but we then read the Tottenham brand protection notice and thought it was a bit too much of a risk, so you’ll just have to imagine the famous bird with its legs in the air when you get to the point in the story where it all goes wrong).

Let us go back a little way, to 27 October last year, just on a quarter of the way through this season.  Tottenham fans were, I seem to recall, crowing rather like that cockerel.   For at this moment, they were top of the league with eight wins and two draws.  Arsenal had played a game fewer but were not doing so well with six wins and three draws.

Tottenham had a goal difference of +13, Arsenal were on +10.  Indeed, even Manchester City could not match Tottenham’s GD.

This was of course the sort of thing the media had predicted.  Arsenal languishing in third, and ready to drop down to fourth at any moment as Liverpool hit the accelerator.   

That was about Arsenal’s level – a club hindered by the fact that they did not rotate the team (although in fact actually, they did, and in terms of player positions, did it more and better than any other club.  Funny how those journo chappies didn’t notice.).  A club that always wasted its money buying the wrong player. (Did Souness ever apologise for his insulting behaviour in relation to the buying of Havertz?  If he did I missed it).

Those first ten games must have looked like delivery from heaven for the Totts, five points clear, best goal difference, undefeated, and Arsenal in third.  Yes Tottyheaven.

So what happened?

The fact is they suffered from something we have often talked about here in relation to Arsenal: a blip.  Through November and early December, Tottenham played five league games, and lost four of them, drawing the other.

And those defeats were not any old defeats.  For this was the team that was marching forth at the top of the league, whom no one could put down.   They had a mega-rich highly respected owner (OK he’s now been found guilty and has a suspended prison sentence, but we didn’t know that then) and that run of forthcoming league matches looked very winnable.

First up there was Chelsea at home (13th in the league and six points off relegation: Tottenham lost that one 1-4).  Then the not very mighty Wolverhampton (who were doing even worse than Chelsea) and Tottenham lost 1-2 away.   Then Aston Villa, who were below Tottenham but Tottenham still lost 1-2 at home.  There was then a very weird 3-3 draw away to Manchester City which immediately sent all the Tottenham-focussed media into a spin talking about the start of the revival, but four days later they lost at home to West Ham (now down in 11th) which made that draw in Man C look even odder.

They had dropped from top to fifth, nine points behind the leaders, and a goal difference that was 12 worse than Arsenal and Manchester City.

Since then they have drifted down and around with very little sense of direction.  Rather like a cockerel in fact.

Indeed for a team with pretensions of being at the very, very, very least top four, and more likely title challenging, to match their stadium (although no longer their owner who pleaded guilty of both conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of security fraud), they actually look more like their owner post-trial than anything else.  Highly ambitions, silly errors. 

Although to be fair, Tottenham had started their decline before that, and now if we jump forward to their last six games we can see that they have fallen from grace not just in terms of the honesty of their owner but also in terms of their ability on the pitch.  Even Bournemouth are doing better.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 6 5 1 0 22 0 +22 16
2 Man City 6 5 1 0 16 6 +10 16
3 Aston Villa 6 4 1 1 14 8 +6 13
4 Liverpool 6 3 1 2 11 9 +2 10
5 Newcastle 6 3 0 3 10 12 -2 9
6 Fulham 6 2 2 2 11 11 0 8
7 Man Utd 6 2 2 2 11 12 -1 8
8 Wolverhampton 6 2 2 2 9 11 -2 8
9 Bournemouth 6 2 1 3 8 10 -2 7
10 Tottenham 6 1 3 2 9 12 -3 6


However there are some redeeming factors for Tottenham as things have picked up a little bit of late and when we come to look at their last six home games they have indeed won five and lost one, gaining a +6 goal difference.

That’s not quite as good as Arsenal’s away form over the last six games, but it is a jolly good try from a club that has had so many setbacks this season.  Here’s the last six games…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal away 6 5 1 0 22 0 +22 16
2 Tottenham home 6 5 0 1 14 8 +6 15


Tottenham have two games in hand over Arsenal and so could climb to within 11 points of Arsenal if they were to win both games.   However as their goal difference is 40 goals worse than Arsenal’s they would have to be scoring at quite a rate to get up to anything like Arsenal’s level.

A more likely aim for Tottenham is to creep slowly back into the top four.   If they can win their two spare games each by 3-0 then they will indeed back in the top four that they rather do require in order to help pay for the stadium.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 34 24 5 5 82 26 56 77
2 Manchester City 33 23 7 3 80 32 48 76
3 Liverpool 34 22 8 4 75 34 41 74
4 Aston Villa 34 20 6 8 71 50 21 66
5 Tottenham Hotspur 32 18 6 8 65 49 16 60


More on the game tomorrow.  Meanwhile about that cockeral…


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