Petit: Arsenal have lost their NLD supremacy – Spurs are the team to beat now

The former Arsenal midfielder says that Spurs have closed the wide gap that once existed between the two sides...


I was an Arsenal player during a period in which Spurs struggled badly against us. It was a great source of frustration for their fans and players alike to lose constantly to Arsenal. They were quite far behind us at that stage, but since then, Tottenham has become a very different club.

Now, their overall position is very impressive. With a new stadium on the horizon and an excellent manager in charge of the team, they are in great shape. Their academy, also, is particularly impressive: it’s amazing how many players they are providing for the Three Lions – and not just in one position.

The difference that existed 15 years ago between Arsenal and Tottenham simply isn’t there anymore.

The once wide gap has closed, and it’s possible that Spurs will become stronger and stronger as time goes.

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Significantly, they’re beginning to keep their best players. It’s often asked what would happen if Real Madrid or Barcelona came in for the likes of Harry Kane or Dele Alli, but I have the feeling that, unlike in the past, these guys would choose to remain at the club. Even five years ago, they would have left without hesitation.

The future is bright for the Lilywhites – they may even become one of the financially strongest clubs. Their fanbase is growing, especially in Asia, and their overall image is a good one – times are exciting at White Hart Lane.

That said, Tottenham are not yet at the same level as Arsenal. But their players serve as excellent representatives and symbols of their club – some of them have come through the academy, many others are either local or English.

They have a loyalty and pride in their club that the Arsenal players don’t.

The Gunners’ best players often want to leave the Emirates, and this has been the case for quite a while now. It’s easy to get the feeling that there is far more motivation and commitment at Spurs than in the ranks of their oldest foes.

Arsenal must aim to regain this kind of dynamic at their own club. They have been struggling to attract the type of footballer and personality they want. But this isn’t just down to money – it’s also because of the club’s current image.

Spurs haven’t won anything for nine years, and for all their effort and quality they have absolutely nothing to show for it. They must win something – and quickly. Otherwise the players’ motivation may disappear and they may start to depart.

Like Wenger, I hope Pochettino stays at White Hart Lane for 20 years – but if he does, do you think he would be the same manager as he was in his first year?

For me, the answer is no.

What Arsène has achieved at Arsenal is incredible – those first ten seasons were amazing: the Invincibles, the Champions League final, the League and Cup trophies.

I’m a big fan of Pochettino’s work. The way he manages his players, the way his team’s play, his tactical flexibility. He builds a team in his own vision, planning ahead and executing those ideas.

But most importantly, he improves players. Some players have improved to an unbelievable extent under his stewardship – this is the first quality you look for in a manager.

If I were him, I would stay at Tottenham until I eventually ended up getting sacked. The future is bright for his club, and I don’t know why Pochettino would want to leave. He deserves to win trophies there, as do his players.

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