Ahead of Tottenham’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino has been comparing himself to Arsene Wenger.

180108 daily mail pochettino wenger
Daily Mail 8 January 2019

Tottenham and Pochettino are a curious beast. As a club, they’ve won only one trophy (a league cup) in 11 years (though not under him), two (2 league cups) in 20 and haven’t won a proper trophy since their FA Cup win in 1991.

Yet, somehow, they are treated by the press as if they are on par with Liverpool and Manchester United and ahead of Arsenal despite the latter winning more trophies in the last five years than Spurs have managed in the last three decades.

As Spurs get ready to (eventually) move to their new stadium, Arsenal fans warned of what lies ahead – a tightened budget, fleeing  stars and a slide down the table as reality bites.

Arsenal fans know because we’ve been through it before.

180108 daily telegraph pochettino wenger
Daily Telegraph 8 January 2019

Arsenal moved into their new stadium on the back of an Invincibles season and a Champions League final. Tottenham, no matter how much they have progressed under their manager, are nothing like Arsene Wenger’s side. No matter how much Pochettino wants to be considered in the same breath as the Frenchman, he’s incomparable.

Speaking to the media before the game against Chelsea, Poch gave the strongest hint that he would stay at Spurs and not jump ship for United or Real Madrid. Whether his will holds in the face of a real and tangible offer remains to be seen, but for now, he’s comparing  himself to Wenger at the end of his reign which is more than a little disingenuous to say the least.

180108 daily star pochettino wenger
Daily Star 8 January 2019

For a start, by the end of Wenger’s time at Arsenal he’d had a decade of austerity post-stadium move. Spurs haven’t even opened their stadium yet and austerity has taken hold. No players were bought during the summer and January looks like it will bring the same.

What I find most perplexing in all this is how the media treat Spurs.

When Arsenal went through their trophy drought under Wenger, it was shorter than Spurs current drought yet the coverage was relentless. Wenger was mocked mercilessly for saying finishing in the top four was ‘like a trophy’ yet that is now accepted wisdom.

Pochettino, however, can say things like this without criticism:

Can you imagine if Wenger, with his stuffed trophy cabinet, had said any of this? Or even Jose Mourinho?

Why, then is the Spurs manager with his empty chest able to say it without mockery from the media?

Pochettino wants to ask Wenger if it was all ‘worth it’ given how the final year played out for the Frenchman.

He’s sizing up his own 20-year-stay at Spurs and wants to know if the grief at the end was worth going through, but what Poch fails to appreciate is that Wenger’s own standards during his first decade at the club were a large reason behind the discontent in the second.

Through three league titles, one of them unbeaten, and a few FA Cups, Wenger raised expectations at Arsenal to unrealistic levels.

All Pochettino has managed to achieve in his four years with Spurs is two finishes above Arsenal in the league. It’s hardly the stuff they give out gold trophies for.

Pochettino is right in some of what he says. Progress shouldn’t be measured in trophies, especially not when there are only a handful to go around and the top clubs are bankrolled by Russian and Saudi blood money, but he’s not saying anything Arsene Wenger didn’t say long ago only to be ridiculed for.

It’s like listening to Sam Allardyce and taking him seriously after mocking Sir Alex Ferguson for expressing the same views. Perhaps a more extreme example, but you get the point I’m making.

Some people’s opinions are worth more by virtue of what they have achieved yet that rule doesn’t seem to apply to Pochettino at Spurs.

It is most curious.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.