What’s just like winning 10-0 in the Nou Camp? If you’re Spurs, it’s drawing 1-1 with Barcelona’s B team.
That’s what the Daily Mail tried to tell us on Thursday morning after a desperate Tottenham, staring down the barrel of impending Champions League ignominy, went to Spain and played a bunch of Barca kids. They needed a result to ensure qualification and the best they could manage was a draw against the weakest Barca team the world has seen in 10 years.
There’s a weird thing that happens with some parts of the media when it comes to Tottenham. Despite having not won a trophy in a decade (or a trophy that matters since the 90s) and making a total dog’s dinner of their stadium move, they are still treated as if they are an elite team that does more than ‘put the pressure on’ the eventual title winners once every quarter of a century.
What has this got to do with Arsenal? Well, I was wondering, if the papers still insist that Tottenham are in the title race, doesn’t that mean Arsenal are too?
Let’s be clear up front, no, it doesn’t. Neither team is in a title race that will be fought out between Manchester City and Liverpool unless something unexpected happens.
But how can Spurs, who were recently humiliated by Arsenal and sit just two points ahead of their north London rivals be spoken about in such different terms to the Gunners?
During Arsenal’s worst period in the last two decades, they still managed to pick up more trophies than Spurs have managed in living memory. It doesn’t make any sense. This is the best Spurs have been in 30 years and they still have absolutely nothing to show for it.
But yeah, let’s talk about their title chances.
There is little to choose from between the two sides at present and yes, that statement does make me feel mildly sick. The two points that separate them in the league mean little but what we are witnessing is a Tottenham side at the top of their crest while Arsenal start their slow climb back up.
This is as good as Tottenham can get. If they were going to win actual things, they’d have done it by now.
When they eventually move into their stadium things will get harder for them, not easier. Just ask Arsenal fans about their club and how everything was put on hold for 10 years while they settled in and repaid their debt.
The way Spurs have dealt with their own stadium build should leave their fans very worried indeed. They haven’t even been able to get it built on schedule (or without major mistakes), what makes anyone think their plans for paying it off will run smoothly?
Already unable to match the wages of the top clubs, Spurs will have to start selling stars for two reasons. Firstly, they will need the cash to pay of a stadium that now looks set to cost close to £1bn, more than double its estimate. Secondly, they have players who will only wait so long before swanning off to clubs that will triple their wages.
People will tell you that what the papers say doesn’t matter but that’s a lie. We all want to see our sides represented in glowing terms across the national media for our non-Arsenal-supporting pals. Bragging rights come with the ability to wave double-page spreads hailing your heroes. See! It’s not just us that think they’re brilliant, the press think so too!
When it comes to dealing with both sides of north London it often seems like double standards are in place but as I write that sentence I wonder if we shouldn’t just let it go.
It is, after all, the only double of any sort that Tottenham are likely to get near any time soon.