If Tottenham beat Arsenal, don't be fooled


Inevitable talk of a power shift in North London will start, but we have seen it all before. It just a game for three points and temporary bragging rights, no more.

Tottenham assistant boss Steffen Freund has been busy talking up the weekend's derby with Arsenal, commenting that the club are closing the gap on their rivals.

Fortunately he stopped there, he didn't say 'A Tottenham win will show a shift in power' - For those sorts of false dawns are assessments fans have heard so often before.

If Spurs do claim an impressive win at the Emirates, expect those three buzzwords 'Shift in Power' to be trotted out. They seemingly are every time Tottenham claim a win over Arsenal.

Take this April 2010 article in the Telegraph, after Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Lane 'Has the balance of power shifted in North London?'

Arsenal fans may be amused to read this Spurs blog, written on January of this year entitled - 'Mind the Gap - Reasons Behind the Power Shift'

While this Telegraph article from February entitled - 'Arsenal in danger of being left behind by Tottenham'

Arsenal's crushing 5-2 victory the time the pair last met at the Emirates put paid to that, knocking Spurs' season dramatically of balance and they never recovered, surrending a substantial lead, and relinquishing control of third spot.

Now there are two London clubs playing Champions League football, and Tottenham are not one of them. Power shift? What power shift?

What does all of the above mean for the weekend? For the game itself, it isn't especially pressing, except the fact that the match is what players, fans, and managers should be focusing on; and the game alone.

Tottenham do have a memorable Emirates win to recall in recent years, their Rafael van der Vaart inspired 3-2 victory in 2009. Last season they defeated Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Lane, and were looking rosy at 2-0 up the Emirates, before their implosion.

The message from us is, if Tottenham win, supporters from either side shouldn't get carried away. 

Arsenal fans shouldn't take to the streets calling for Arsene Wenger's head - Although you can only imagine Piers Morgan's Twitter meltdown if Spurs are victorious - and Spurs fans mustn't get too carried away and get fooled into prematurely talking about 'power shifts'.

It's difficult when it comes to derby matches, and bragging rights means supporters will revel in the glory of their win, and pain of their rivals.

What matters ultimately is what happens at the end of the season. Tottenham fans would surely take successive defeats in both games; if it meant finishing above their rivals come May - Something they haven't done in 18 years.

Now that would be a real shift in power. Just hold the horses for now.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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