It’s painful to admit, but Tottenham have a really good team these days.
Remiss as we are to give Tottenham any credit, they’ve come a long way in the last few years. This was a team who used to be full of bravado about closing the gap but, come derby day, would be firmly put back into their place.
Talk of a power shift in North London always proved premature.
That was until last season, anyway. Spurs finally finished above us, and now they’re considered genuine title contenders while we’re languishing outside the top four. [Edit: a massive one whole point behind them.]
They’re beating Real Madrid in the Champions League while we’re struggling against Red Star Belgrade on a Thursday night. Their team is organised, dynamic and flexible. Our’s is messy and whimsical.
Let’s face it: they’re better than we are right now.
Don’t like that fact? Well, here are seven things you can do to cope:
1. Live in the past
Sure, Spurs are having a good run now, but there’s no doubt who was better in the past, right? Unlike Spurs, Arsenal actually used to win things when they had a good team. They also beat Real Madrid 11 years ago. Away. Arsenal beat Barcelona when they were possibly the greatest club team ever. The Invincibles weren’t that long ago, Thierry Henry is better than Harry Kane and Arsene Wenger used to wear a magic hat. Spurs’ Put-The-Pressure-On trophies are nothing compared to all that.
2. Complain about it
Football fans love a moan, and Arsenal fans have plenty to moan about. If you’re unhappy with Spurs being better than Arsenal, there are plenty of places, and patient, willing listeners, to hear your cries. You can tell them all about Arsenal’s faults, what they’re doing wrong, how they’ve committed the grave sin of letting Spurs overtake them and how unacceptable it all is. I recommend Twitter. It’s an open and accepting environment that welcomes constructive debate.
3. Rubbish every Spurs achievement
Real Madrid may be back-to-back European champions, but their team is getting older and just had a really bad night. Challenging for the title is great, but Spurs didn’t win the thing, did they? And yeah, it’s great to have young players like Dele Alli and Harry Kane in the team, but they won’t be at Spurs for long. Neither will Pochettino. Don’t give me that nonsense about providing the spine for the England team; England are rubbish.
4. Give credit where it’s due
Alternatively, you could swallow your pride and just admit that Spurs are good now. It’s okay to put your neutral cap on and accept that Spurs are playing good football with a young team and deserve to be where they are. It’s no accident that they are where they are, and Arsenal can learn a lot from how they’ve gone about building their team.
5. Seek refuge in the lower leagues
If it’s all getting to be too much, you could always watch lower league football. There’s more to football than the Premier League, and you might appreciate the simpler efforts of your local side playing on sodden pitches on a Saturday afternoon. Arsenal aren’t going anywhere. They’ll still be there when you come back. You can just focus on lower league football for a few years, then come back when Arsenal are good again.
6. Stop watching football
If the lower leagues don’t do it for you, there’s another option: stop watching football altogether. It’s a difficult habit to kick, but nothing is worth it if you’re not enjoying it. There are more important things in life to stress over than whether Arsenal are better than Tottenham or not. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back, regain a sense of perspective and come back fresher and wiser.
7. Suck it up
Ultimately, football is a game of cycles. Nobody stays at the top forever, and every team has its moments. Arsenal are in a low ebb in their history, but that’s fine, because they’ll return to the top level someday. Spurs are experiencing a high, and that’s okay too. Give it a few years and they’ll fade away and drop down the table again. We’ve been through periods of domination by Manchester United and Chelsea, and those were arguably a lot worse than a Spurs side that has yet to win anything. So tough it out; this is not a permanent shift in power.