Monday, March 18th, 2013
North London is gripped and for the third season in a row Tottenham appear to be imploding at just the wrong time.
Seven points clear of Arsenal after beating them at White Hart Lane just 15 days ago, it all seems to have changed over the past week and European results have taken their toll on both teams.
As it stands, Arsenal are four points behind Tottenham with a game in hand and the Gunners have a +7 better goal difference.
The tide began to turn thanks to two poor defensive mistakes from Spurs at Liverpool last Sunday.
Then in midweek, Arsenal won at Bayern Munich, beating the Bundesliga leaders with a disciplined performance and Arsene Wenger’s side backed this up with victory at Swansea.
The much maligned Arsenal defence was changed and have gone two matches in a row without conceding.
Spurs meanwhile continued to creak, going oh so close to exiting the Europa League despite being 3-0 up from the first leg against Inter and then tasting home defeat at the hands of Fulham and former favourites Martin Jol and Dimitar Berbatov.
Now, Spurs and Arsenal fans are furiously checking the fixture list for the remaining games of the 2012/2013 season and in truth, on paper, it doesn’t look good for Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
Complicated by their Europa League quarter-final with Basel, Spurs still have to play Manchester City (h) and Chelsea (a) and trips to Stoke and Wigan don’t look too simple either.
Arsenal’s toughest game is Manchester United at the Emirates on April 28 but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will almost certainly have wrapped up the Premier League title by then. And with Robin van Persie set to return you can expect the Emirates to be bang up for this one.
Away games at QPR and Fulham don’t look easy with two former Spurs bosses hoping to do their old club a favour and Harry Redknapp likely to be fighting hard at the bottom of the table.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the run-in and battle for fourth (unless Chelsea or Manchester City fall away spectacularly) is the fact both Tottenham and Arsenal have Everton to face with the Toffees still bang in the mix for that fourth spot, currently just two points behind the Gunners.
A comparison of the remaining fixtures for Arsenal and Spurs are on the graphic below.