They say actions speak louder than words.

They say you should learn from your mistakes.

They say that pride comes before a fall.

Someone should tell Tottenham, because they don’t seem to have got the message.

Here’s why:


Back in March 2013, Arsenal had just lost away at White Hart Lane, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat where the team only awoke from their slumbers in the second half and despite a rousing performance were unable to fix the problems of their own making. The result put us seven points behind our rivals with ten games to go.

We were at least a tiny bit worried.

But then Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas opened his mouth and, with a ridiculous smirk on his face, uttered that famous comment “[Arsenal] are in a negative spiral.”

He even went on to elaborate “To get out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult.”

You would think he would be able to cast his memory back to just the season before, when Arsenal reeled in a ten point deficit to see Chel$ki’s Champions League victory deny Spurs their coveted elite European football in spite of a 4th placed finish.

Actions not words.

I thought it would be fun to look at how the two clubs have compared since then, and see quite how badly Arsenal were affected by that negative spiral*.

(*If Arsenal have been in a negative spiral, what’s the term for Tottenham’s situation? A calamitous fall off a cliff?)


In closing out the 2012-13 season, Arsenal proceeded to go all ten games unbeaten (11 if you include a Champions League away win over eventual champions Bayern Munich), with just two draws and nine victories.

In contrast, Spurs won just six of their remaining 14 games, drawing four and losing four.

In fact, in all competitive games since that North London Derby, Arsenal have won 66% of their 102 games and drawn a further 18%. Tottenham have won a full 10% less of their 107 games with 56% and drawn 18%.

Arsenal’s fixtures include the 2013-14 Champions League Group of Death and an away goals exit to reigning champions Bayern Munich.

Tottenham’s Europa League opponents comprised of Dinamo Tbilisi, Tromso, Anzhi Makhachkala, Sheriff Tiraspol, and Dnipro, before they were knocked out by their first meaningful opposition in the shape of Benfica.

Convert that into trophies, and Arsenal have of course added the FA Cup (and the Community Shield – you’ve got to be in it to win it!) to our trophy cabinet since that fateful day, whereas Tottenham…well, best to leave it there.


Since his arrival in 1996, Arsene has seen 16 different managers take up the reigns over at Tottenham, and only Christian Gross has an unbeaten record, managing a draw from his single encounter.

Indeed, only three of those managers achieved even a solitary league win over Wenger’s Arsenal, and typically those wins were by single goal margins compared to some of the drubbings handed out in return (5-2 anyone?).

After the negative spiral comment, Villas-Boas didn’t make it to the following Christmas, with the comical Tim Sherwood appointed in his place as Daniel Levy sought to spice things up from the Portuguese’s bore-fest of a reign.

Sherwood certainly brought some ups and downs, but ultimately was unable to deliver the improvement needed either.

In fact, Spurs lost three times to Arsenal in the 2013-14 season without scoring a single goal, as the Gunners proceeded through the Third Round of the FA Cup at their local rivals’ expense.

Mauricio Pochettino took on the role in the summer but he has failed to beat Wenger in any of their three encounters to date.


Since March 2013, Arsenal have sold only three players who could be considered close to the first team – Gervinho, Vito Mannone and Thomas Vermaelen who was the most expensive at £15m,

Tottenham have sold at ten players who have played a substantial number of games for the club, but most especially their only world class player – Gareth Bale.

And how have they invested that cash?

Arsenal have spent £138m on a number of players who have already played regularly for the first team – Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Krystian Bielik, Gabriel and of course the marquee signings of Mesut Ozil (£42m) and Alexis Sanchez (£35m).

Tottenham have spent £127m on a whole host of players, many who have only been bit-part players – Paulinho , Capoue, Chiriches, Vorm, Davies, Dier and Stambouli have all been underwhelming, while £26m apiece for Sold-a-dud and Lamela looks laughable business. Not to mention £8m on Fazio, but we’ll get onto him later this week in the “Biggest Liability” review.

As for Yedlin – who?


Of course, Arsenal have finally hit that period following years of stadium-induced austerity where we can afford to splash the cash a little.

Tottenham are just starting out along that journey, and in spite of some significant financial help from the local borough council, they still face some major hurdles before they can even think about competing on that front.

Archway Sheet Metal Works is just a small family business on the Paxton Road in the shadow of their stadium, but many Tottenham fans are very well acquainted with them as the business which has been delaying their stadium plans for years.

Despite a very suspicious looking fire at the premises, the family continue to oppose the Compulsory Purchase Order and with each delay in those legal proceedings so the stadium build also gets delayed.

Even when it is resolved, Tottenham fans face the delightful prospect of at least a season commuting to Milton Keynes where they are expected to play home games during the rebuild.

Realistically, the earliest they can hope to move into a new home is 2019, and with the gulf in spending power available to the two clubs, there’s a real possibility of a major gulf in class opening up between now and then. As the song goes…


In fact, no matter which way you cut it, the trajectory of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has been in a significantly more downward direction than that of the Gunners since that day back in March 2013.

You’d think they’d have learned to keep quiet by now.

It’ll be down to us to make sure they’re still quiet by 2.45pm on Saturday.

The time for talking is over, let’s get down to business.

Coming later:

tale of two derbies