By Ryan Fleming
Obviously it isn’t true. Each team wants to win each game, be the best in its division and play in Europe next season. It’s pretty simple. What’s also just as easy, is watching Tottenham and Arsenal and how they both seemingly don’t want to do well. Of course, both of the North London clubs have aspirations to succeed and it has shown earlier this year (ie: Totts’ run in the Champions League and Arsenal’s impressive Dec/Jan run).
As of late, though, acting like their in cahoots, both clubs are playing down to to their competition, refusing to be the bullies, and instead getting picked on themselves. Arsenal’s downfall is basically lack of experience and, at least in my eyes, a definite lack of motivation and emotion. In the Gunners’ case, at least their manager owed up to the club’s seemingly two-month downfall.
“It’s very unsatisfactory because it’s one of the easiest run-ins we’ve had for a long time and we didn’t take our chances many times,” Wenger told soccernet.com. “That’s frustrating because you feel the potential is there but you have to take your chances.”
The Frenchman indeed has a point. Of course, the potential is there. With the lackluster play of a great portion of the defense (Koscielny, Squillaci), and seemingly absent forward Marouane Chamakh and the circus that is the goalkeeping situation, Arsenal still has oodles of talent.
And yes, the chances were there. With matches against weaker opponents such as West Brom, Blackburn and most recently Bolton, Arsenal have came away with only two points in a nearly certain six for a top EPL club. In their last eight matches, the Gunners have earned a mere 11 points and have not won a league fixture at home since their 1-0 win over Stoke on Feb 23.
On the other hand, Tottenham, has also skidded along the last two months, earning an exact 11 points in eight matches and also succumbing to Real Madrid in the Champions League. Spurs, much like their under performing rival, is becoming a surreal motto for both sets of supporters. Instead of focusing on their recent troubles, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp continues to tell the world how he’s going to spend money like it grows on trees when the summer transfer window opens up.
“There shouldn’t be two transfer scenarios,” Redknapp said to soccernet.com. “If you want to get into the Champions League again you have to keep improving. People say ‘If we get in the Champions League we’ll buy some great players’ but if you don’t buy some great players you won’t get in the Champions League. That’s how it works.”
And that is a big ‘if’. Right now Tottenham are slotted in fifth place, one slot out of a CL position, but within the Europa League qualifying territory. Europa League money isn’t CL money, though. While a birth in the EL would be a fine result, the obvious result is the CL where the money is more abundant. Redknapp’s plan would obviously have to be altered and the supposed chase of Didier Drogba could face a change.
It certainly matters how both clubs, fierce rivals, end their respective seasons. With expectations so high in the beginning and then the poor spring months, both sets of fans are calling for more. If the trend continues, and the free fall becomes unstoppable, both managers will have to do some to appease the ever-hungry fans.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.