Will Spurs finish above Arsenal next season?


26th, June 2007


Now that Gooner talisman Thierry Henry has left for Barcelona, how do you feel Arsenal’s squad matches up against Spurs? Personally, I feel the two squads are as evenly matched as at any time since the Premiership began. I also feel that Spurs have their best chance in years of finishing above Arsenal next season. Let’s take a look at how the squads currently match-up:
GOALKEEPING: Probably Spurs’ weakest area. Paul Robinson is, in my opinion, one of the Premiership’s worst goalies, and in Radek Cerny and Ben Alnwick the cover is not so hot either. For Arsenal, Jens Lehmann is one of the Prem’s best but he is near the end of his career. Manuel Almunia is a talented if inconsistent back-up, whilst new signing Lukasz Fabianski is, like Alnwick, young and unproven.
WINNER: Arsenal win the battle of the No.1s

DEFENCE: The signing of Gareth Bale has greatly strengthened Spurs’ defence, who could now field a more-than-decent first-choice back four of: Bale, Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Pascal Chimbonda. The likes of Anthony Gardner, Ricardo Rocha provide useful cover at centre-back, whilst Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Lee Young-Pyo are capable deputy full-backs.
Arsenal have plenty of fine young talent to call on, including Gael Clichy, Justin Hoyte, Emmanuel Eboue, Armand Traore, Kerrea Gilbert and Johan Djourou. But it’s vital that senior defenders Kolo Toure and William Gallas stay fit, otherwise Arsenal look decidedly weak in the middle. Phillippe Senderos needs to regain some confidence, seemingly lost after being given the run-around by Didier Drogba last season.
WINNER: Arsenal, but not by much
MIDFIELD: Spurs could field a full XI made up of midfielders, but are they any good? I think the onus is on Martin Jol to settle on a regular midfield four. My first-choice Spurs midfield for next season would be: Aaron Lennon, Didier Zokora, Tom Huddlestone, Steed Malbranque. That leaves the likes of Teemu Tainio, Danny Murphy, Jermaine Jenas and the frankly rubbish Hossam Ghaly in reserve. So, despite having loads of midfielders in their squad, many of them are not good enough to propel Spurs into the top four. Murphy and Ghaly in particular need to be replaced.
Arsenal’s midfield looks a bit lightweight, but Cesc Fabregas has another season under his belt and you’d expect Tomas Rosicky to have a much better campaign now that he’s seen the Premiership up close. Gilberto Silva remains underrated – although he is no Vieira – and compatriot Denilson is one for the future, as is Abou Diaby. Overall though, Arsene Wenger could use another midfielder or two. The jury is still out on Alexander Hleb (is he shit or brilliant, Gooners can’t seem to decide) and does Freddie Ljungberg have another good season in him? When stacked up against the big three, Arsenal’s midfield looks a bit flimsy.
WINNER: Spurs have the quantity, Arsenal have the quality. Arsenal win again
ATTACK: Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane is the most entertaining strike partnership in the Prem; Spurs must do everything in their power to hang on to the mercurial Bulgarian and build a team around him. Jermain Defoe is too good to warm the bench every week, but his attitude is a problem – can Jol keep Defoe happy, or even keep him during the summer? If, as expected, Darren Bent arrives from Charlton, then Defoe will surely want to leave. As for the ever-inconsistent Mido, who knows if he’ll stay, and if he does, will he be brilliant or shit?
There’s a big Thierry Henry-shaped hole at the Emirates, and no one knows who will fill it. Ryan Babel could be the next Henry, but he has committed to at least another year at Ajax. There’s been talk of Nicolas Anelka returning to Arsenal, but that’s surely a bad idea. Players who go back to former clubs rarely do well. I like the look of Klaas Jan Huntelaar, also at Ajax, but I doubt he’s going anywhere either. Samuel Eto’o, who may now feel surplus to requirements at Barca, is hugely talented but his ego is even bigger and I don’t think Arsene Wenger believes he would fit in at Arsenal. In terms of current strikers, the key to Arsenal having a productive season is Robin van Persie. The young Dutchman is scarily talented and showed last season, before he got injured, that he has the potential to be one of Arsenal’s greatest forwards. Van Persie has the mental strength to replace Henry as Arsenal’s premier striker, but he lacks the pace and directness of the Frenchman. RVP can play the Bergkamp ‘second striker’ role to perfection, but Arsenal still need someone to play the part of Henry. Is that man Emmanuel Adebayor? Probably not, although he has his moments and is the sort of player who will chip in with ten goals in a season. I’ll be interested to see how Nicklas Bendtner fares, and if Theo Walcott turns from boy to man. Overall, Arsenal has just enough firepower up front, but if Van Persie picks up another injury, they’re in big trouble. They need to replace the irreplaceable Henry (hmm, tricky), and fast.
WINNER: Spurs take this one, purely because of the Berbatov-factor
So in Pies’ opinion, Arsenal still has the stronger squad, but not by much. They should have enough to finish above their North London rivals for another year.
Do you agree or disagree?

Posted in Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If Berbatov gets injured, Spurs are done. Arsenal managed to finish 4th even with their two leading goalscorers out for significant chunks of the season. Arsenal has the greater squad depth, so they can ride out all the little (or not so little) injuries/suspensions/whatever that happens during the season better than Spurs.

  2. Joe says:

    ‘Ryan Babel could be the next Henry’
    You’re having a laugh, right?

  3. we says:

    arsenal will have more cohesion without henry guaranteed…why didnt we rate managers??? anyone rate jol over wenger?

  4. Veiga says:

    Why didn’t you factor in Eboue, Adebayour and Toure will all nonce off to the Africa Nations Cup next year and Arsenal will for a month be minus at least 1 critical player.
    Without Toure their defence falls apart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please, Arsenal have still strong squad, and better that Spurs of course.
    Plus they will add few new players this summer.
    van perise–adebayor (or someone else, better)
    There’s no doubt…
    About Hleb, he’s brilliant.
    Neither Fabregas, neither Gilbeto work as much in middlefield like he does. He plays defence, needs to babysit Eboe and plays in every attack, counter attack. IMO great middlefield player.
    He really runs a lot, no wonder why Wenger replaces him around 70-80 min.
    And one more think, if you look objective he looses the ball as much as other Arsenal players in middfield.
    And I’m sure they will add at least one or two new PROVEN players this summer.

  6. Nicky S says:

    I’m a Gooner, so people may say I’m biased, but I continue to find this kind of talk laughable. Spurs were not close to Arsenal last season, indeed, Arsenal almost (should have) finished 3rd. This in a season with long term injuries to BOTH of our top strikers. Considering this, I really don’t see how people can continue to speak of Arsenal and Spurs as if both teams are closely matched.

  7. Abby says:

    With you, Nicky. Spurs weren’t exactly challenging anyone until the last game or two. They snuck into 5th because Everton had a tough schedule in the last few games and Bolton fell apart when Fat Sam left, as well as Reading not really wanting to be in Europe. Tottenham basically ended up fifth by default. What they do have is a good PR department to keep promoting this idea that they’ll break through…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Are you on drugs? Why would the Scum ever finish above the Arse?

  9. hariz says:

    Arsenal are gonna be champions although henry gone.
    arsene MUST make a good signing….

  10. Zekky says:

    Take into account Spurs never beat Arsenal either…

  11. clasher says:

    In that moment nobody seems look forward to join arsenal without henry and wengers head under the gilotyne. they are getting weaker, as veiga said, they’ll lost few players due to african nations cup, and let’s face it, they don’t have adequate cover except for keepers.
    but i don’t think that spurs will be better. course in their case it’s all on berbatov shoulders, they still lack a bit of a leader in the center midifield, huddelstone has still a lot to learn, zokora is milion miles behind essien and fabregas.
    i agree with the point that arsenal is getting weaker (but it can all change cause transfers just started for real) but spurs aren’t nowhere close to get to top 4.

  12. Joe says:

    Spurs lack the confidence, really

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a biased article! Robinson one of the worst goalies? Lehmann’s MUCH more unreliable.
    VERDICT: Robinson.
    Eboue’s more of an attacker than a defender. There’s no way he’s better than Chimbonda – maybe equal as Eboue’s better going forward, but Chimbonda is better all round.
    Toure and Gallas are as good as King and Dawson, but Spurs’ first choice defence played less than 8 games together with King and Lee out for ages, so their defence will improve.
    Cliche has a couple of years Premiership experience behind him while Bale has to get to grips with the top flight, so there may be a weakness there for Spurs. But if Bale is as good as they say he is, who knows.
    VERDICT: Equal.
    The midfield – Arsenal have Fabregas who is world class when on form and Gilberto who’s solid enough if not the ideal replacement for Vieria. Hleb may be underrated (I’ve not seen him much) and Diaby looks decent but Ljungberg looks tired and Rosicky is effective in 1 match out of 10.
    Spurs have Jenas who gets a goal every 4/5 games (i don’t know why you left him out) and Zokora who was very effective when he got used to the English conditions. Malbranque and Lennon offer more in attack than any Arsenal midfielder (now that Ljungberg’s past his peak). Tainio consistency and Huddlestone’s potential mean Spurs’ midfield will look pretty good once the likes of Murphy and Ghaly are sold and a left midfielder is signed.
    Apart from Fabregas, Arsenal have no PROVEN quality midfielders (I don’t know how you can rate Denilson and Diaby as quality and Rosicky is not the player everyone thought he was) whereas Spurs have a variety of midfielders who can play in various ways, can score, and in Lennon, Jenas and Malbranque can create chances all the time.
    VERDICT: Spurs
    Attack: Van Persie looks a great player but is he really better than Robbie Keane? He may be in two years time, but not right now.
    Defoe (if he stays) can score all day long (even from the bench) and Adebayor is nothing special no matter how you want to believe it. Oh, and tell me exactly what Walcott has done since he signed for Arsenal?
    And lastly, Spurs have Berbatov. Arsenal don’t have Henry.
    VERDICT – Spurs. Without even thinking about it.
    07/08 prediction:
    Even though Spurs have arguably the better team on paper, Arsenal still have Wenger and a playing style to destroy any team below the top 8. But now, without Henry, heads may drop.
    Spurs had a bad start to last season – 4 defeats after 6 games – and recovered to finish fifth once they found their feet.
    If the momentum continues, Spurs will finish above Arsenal. But let’s just wait and see…

  14. ze says:

    HAHAHAH LOT OF SPURS FANS HERE. some noname shit better than ones like rosicky and gilberto silva ? wtf ?
    robbie keane > (or even equal) to RvP ? wtf
    Toure and Gallas are as good as King and Dawson
    King and dawson can carry their towels imo
    just look at the difference of class beetween the teams

  15. Anonymous says:

    How did spurs get on against the arsenal reserves in the carling cup again? You spurs fans are on crack if you think you will finish above us. We are in a diiferent league to you boys.
    Liked that totally unbiased squad review by the way lol what a disgrace
    Up the arse!!

  16. Gooner4ever says:

    Keane better that RvP? WTF?!

  17. Kalezu says:

    Are you suggesting Spurs to win the premiership next year…You must be joking mate!
    Anybody who finishes above the young gunners (wait for a big suprise next season….believe me there will be one, will definitly be the Champions. And as to Spurs…hmmm…keep dreaming Boys!
    If history ever repeats itself, you might have a chance to win something in 2061 …with devine intervention.

  18. MaiGo says:

    “spurs have jenas”
    poor deluded spurs. every arsenal midfield player is better than jenas okay? even alexandre song is better than jenas.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Huddlestone is a beast, Jenas is a peice of crap gay boy who needs to be dropped for the ‘Bunker’ Hleb is rubbish he fannies around with those stupid little shin pads on losing the ball all the time, get some propper shin pads the look stupid on your skinny legs.
    Spurs are a bunch of bottlers (too many english players in the team) and wont finish above Arsenal this season.

  20. gunner says:

    first, Adebayor may miss good chances but if n when he gains enough confidence he’s game will be brilliant…to defend him, he’s been with gunners for 1 season only an improving.
    second, take this scenario…if man u had ronaldo and rooney injured for most of the season (like henry n rvp), giggs and heinze equally unfit (like rosicky n ebuoe who constantly nursed injuries) an someone out in the central defence (initially gallas) statistics shows them at number 6 or 7 in the league
    VERDICT: gunners at their worst ever condition managed to beat man u HOME and AWAY and came fourth in the leauge…..it could never get worse so WE THE BEST!

  21. eddie says:

    I look forward to seeing Spurs wipe the smile off those smug arrogant gooner faces.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Toure will get found out for the ugly, crap defender that he is. Did I mention he was ugly? It’s probably why Sol and Cashley left. They just didn’t fancy him.

  23. Sam says:

    Listen, you deluded plastic vagina, who only supports Arsenal cos he knows jack about football…
    Jenas outscored all of your midfielders, despite being injured for two months. And before you say Gilberto got 11 goals, SIX of them were penalties. So check your stats before you wanna talk serious football. I have no time for pathetic losers clinging on to some distant hope that Arsenal might win the league with youngsters this season.

  24. bert says:

    oh please arsenals youngesters beat spurs’ 1st team in the carling cup last year what makes them think they can get even close 2 beating the 1st choice arsenal 1st team.
    this is a load of crap of course arsenal will finnish higher.

  25. kev says:

    I cant quite belive the amount of deluded Arsenal fans that think that things are going to be the same without Theirry, you need to come back to reality guys Arsenal are finished!! especially next season when Cesc goes to Real Madrid!!
    And how can you say that an arsenal team containing so many young, unproven players is going to rival spurs 1st team next season – keep dreaming goons

  26. Aminda says:

    I have to agree that Arsene wenger is so selfish. The club has money to make Arsenal a dream club but he is interested in the youth system. Arsenal were an unbeatable team and they are now like a club with nothing. Henry did a very good job but rest is up to Arsene Wenger to bring some glory talent back into da team !

  27. Bob says:

    Any spurs fans on here feel a bit fucking stupid now?

  28. Adebayor says:

    1st and relegation zone – couldn’t be more different could it?

  29. The Gooner 4ever says:

    Whoever said Jenas is a good player can just do one. Everybody i know knows Jenas is shit and some of them are Yiddos. He may score the odd goal but come on – he is terrible. By the way- only proven midfielder is Fabregas- how about a world cup winner Gilberto? Twat. Who’s laughin now?
    ‘Not going to be the same without Henry’
    Thats wot you yiddos sed and you’re all rong………so far!

  30. Bushwacker!! says:

    Fuck off… you yids aint got a clue…i listen to you on a saturday afternoon & all you do is complain when ya have a defeat try being in the relegation zone in league1… Gooners over you mugs anyday
    ‘Not going to be the same without Henry.’
    Were are Arsenal?? Oh yeh top … Your the mugs you bought a gizzer who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat upfront for 500k more than henry…. Milllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!