Traditionally, the North London Derby pitting Tottenham against Arsenal is one of the hottest posters in England. But this Thursday evening, it’s a death match with a qualification for the next Champions League in sight that is looming. Something to add spice between the two London formations.
The Premier League knows how to provide spectacle and suspense to its spectators every year. While Manchester City and Liverpool are battling it out for the title and the fight to maintain it is intense between Everton, Burnley and Leeds, another issue unleashes passions almost more across the Channel, and more particularly in London: fourth place in the championship, last folding seat for the next Champions League campaign. A fierce fight that only involves two teams since West Ham and Manchester United let go: Tottenham and Arsenal. Two historical rivals, two audiences who hate each other and who meet this Thursday evening at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. And if this enclosure is gently teased, because it would be similar, seen from above, to a toilet bowl, nothing indicates that this poster will be to be thrown away. On the contrary.
Golden ticket, reunion and London supremacy
Beyond the obvious historical stakes of this derby, beware of anyone who has the bad idea of losing, and in particular Tottenham. Despite a good point scraped against Liverpool last weekend, the Spurs, fifth, are now four points behind Arsenal and must imperatively win this Thursday to keep their chances of C1, a competition they have not tasted since the 2019-2020 campaign (sixth and seventh the last two seasons ), despite a still qualitative workforce. A hardly more glorious observation for the Gunnerssystematically out of the top 4 for five years and who, for the first time since 1994-1995, were ejected from European places last year.
A blessing in disguise for the Gunners who have been able to rebuild more calmly this season, carried by the Baby Gunners who splash the Premier League and even point to four lengths from Chelsea (which has one more game), third and within gunshot to be crowned the throne of the best club in London. An unexpected situation, after the cataclysmic start to the season, which is largely the fruit of the long-term work of Mikel Arteta, recently extended until 2025 at the head of the team and praised by Antonio Conte. “We have to try to take the three points against Arsenal. We are talking about a good team that is really well organizedadvanced the coach of Spurs at a press conference on Tuesday. Arteta is really doing a great job, he had time to work and improve his squad. »
With Harry Kane top scorer in the history of the North London Derby, Heung-min-Son in great shape and a coach who has been able to right the ship adrift during the season, Tottenham can win on experience, but the dynamics of their opponent (four consecutive victories) blurs the lines cards. Especially since the objective (to find Europe) has already been achieved for a few days for Arsenal. Everything is now only bonus, including a qualification in C1. But sending his great rival to the Europa League while the toddlers go to have fun in the playground of the big ones is an idea that particularly appeals to those around the Emirates Stadium, as well as to the manager, who said to himself “can’t wait to play this match” from the final whistle against Leeds last Sunday. Recklessness on Arsenal and pressure on Tottenham to wash away the affront of the first leg, give themselves another chance to play in the Champions League next year and avoid the humiliation at home of the St Totteringham’s Day (day on which Arsenal fans celebrate the fact that they can mathematically no longer be overtaken by Tottenham in the league), which has not taken place for six years. An eternity for Gunners.
By Fabien Gelinat