With the North London rivals both set for their best campaign in many years, Vincent Ralph believes their fans should sit back and enjoy the competition.
Conversations between rival football fans are often akin to playground boasting. Instead of “My dad is stronger than your dad,” we get two headstrong sides both arguing their case for having the best players, managers, histories or futures, neither willing to accept the other is anything less than inferior.
Whenever I or anyone else writes an article about Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal, their fierce rivals invariably get involved. Such is the mentality of football fans the world over: as much as we enjoy watching our own team succeed, we take almost as much pleasure in seeing our nemeses falter or fall.
But I believe it is time for Gunners and Spurs fans to stop claiming one is significantly stronger than the other.
It may not go down well with some, but I think supporters of the North London rivals need to accept both sides are stronger than they have been for many seasons, and that their rivalry may be about to go far beyond bragging rights and who finishes fourth.
Along with an impressive Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham appear the most likely to challenge for the Premier League title this season.
And while predictions made after little more than a month are often rendered foolish by time, I am going to put my neck out and state that with a little luck and a dip into the January sales, Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas could be battling it out not just twice this season, but every single week until May.
Tottenham’s defensive record is fast-becoming outstanding, while their summer arrivals are all savvy, necessary, and extremely exciting for the White Hart Lane faithful.
And while Arsenal brought in only two senior players of note during the transfer window, what signings they were.
Mesut Ozil is already proving that more than a few cracks can be papered over by the supreme talent of one individual; while Mathieu Flamini’s return was a master-stroke that may not be fully appreciated until the season’s end.
So while Arsenal and Tottenham fans continue to banter over who is the best, perhaps they should ready themselves for a far fiercer rivalry, that will see them not just challenging each other on message boards but for the biggest trophies in the game.
As much as some supporters may not wish to acknowledge it, both sides are mightily impressive, and both could finish the campaign with a trophy or two.
Do you agree that Arsenal and Spurs are the teams to beat this season?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald