If you want to know the real difference between Arsenal and Tottenham, then look at how they feel about their upcoming clash. While Spurs fans are itching for revenge, Gooners are struggling to even remember there’s a game coming up.
Wait long enough and a Tottenham player will always come along with a soundbite from which you can launch a thousand editorials. They’re like open-top buses, or, as it’s Tottenham, DVD releases.
This week, Harry Winks obliged when he said of the Arsenal game, “It’s a massive game for us. It’s come quickly after we lost to them two weeks ago, so there’s going to be revenge on our minds. We want to put it right and, obviously, it’s a good opportunity to progress in a cup.”
Only thing is, Harry old chap, a spanking in the league and a win in the league cup are not one and the same.
It’s no surprise that Spurs feel an affinity with the League Cup that top sides do not. It is, after all, the only trophy they’ve managed to win in the last 28 years, unless, of course, you count them finishing above Arsenal twice in the last 22.
Arsenal, meanwhile, go into the game just wanting to get it out of the way. You won’t find a single Arsenal fan who wants to lose the game, or would be happy if we did, but it’s hard to deny that Arsenal have bigger fish to fry, namely winning the Europa League and getting back into the Champions League.
In terms of priorities this couldn’t be any lower for Arsenal and if it wasn’t Tottenham they were playing on Wednesday night, fans wouldn’t care if Arsenal crashed out. Well, some would, but those able to see the bigger picture would realise that not having to play a two-legged semi-final in January when we have no fit players is a good thing.
It’s no sacrifice, really. The League Cup is great fun ever since Arsene Wenger breathed new life into it by playing all his kids. Others have followed suit and it has become the place to watch future generations of stars at an affordable price. But nobody really cares about winning it, not outside Tottenham and Jose Mourinho’s house, anyway.
While cup games are always fun to win, Arsenal also aren’t in any urgent need for a domestic pot. They already have three FA Cups in the bag from the last five years. That’s more than Spurs have won in the last 33 years despite Arsenal supposedly being on the slide and Spurs being the best side on the planet.
Of course, when Wednesday rolls around, Arsenal fans will be just as ferocious in their support of their side against the enemy, but at the final whistle, only one team will be thinking about releasing a DVD should they win and that tells you all you need to know about the real differences between the two sides.
This article was first written for Paddy Power