Daily Debate: Can Spurs topple Arsenal?

With Arsenal's poor form and Tottenham's resurgence coinciding, two TEAMtalk writers debate whether Spurs could finish higher this season.

Last Updated: 15/02/14 at 07:53 Post Comment

Tim Sherwood: Has masterminded Spurs' recovery

Tim Sherwood: Has masterminded Spurs' recovery

In Daily Debate, two TEAMtalk writers give their views on a hot topic and then invite readers to decide who has put forward the best argument.

You can vote for your winner using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article, or by declaring your support on Twitter.

Could Spurs finish above Arsenal?

With Tottenham on the rise under boss Tim Sherwood and Arsenal suffering a wobble at the Premier League summit, and the recent history between the two clubs proving evidence that a points gap can be turned over, the question must be asked: Can Spurs really finish above Arsenal? Matt Stead and Mark Holmes have their say...

Matt Stead (@MattStead91) - YES

Considering the gap has been as wide as 11 points between the two sides, and the juxtaposition of the respective clubs' seasons so far, tipping Spurs to finish above Arsenal seems absurd.

Look at it through an observant pair of eyes, however. Spurs, under the tutelage of the unproven but enthusiastic Tim Sherwood, have so far picked up 23 points from a possible 30. The AVB era has been much-maligned - and wrongly so in my opinion - but Sherwood has eased into the position and invigorated the club.

Bear in mind, also, that Spurs were never too far behind the chasing pack despite calls to the contrary, so their current standing should come as no surprise.

Arsenal's form so far this season has been excellent, but are they exceeding expectations? If you compare their results from last season against the same teams in the same fixtures this season, they're actually six points worse off from the same games. The fixtures have been relatively kind to them, and it's showing.

In fact, looking at their run-in, Arsenal may fall out of the top four, never mind the race for the title. They still have to face six top-half sides, including trips to Spurs, Chelsea and Everton and a home tie with Manchester City, while Spurs face just four top-half sides in the remaining 12 fixtures. That means Arsenal face six bottom half teams, with Spurs battling eight.

This could be pivotal, and it's not outlandish to suggest that Spurs will capitalise and grasp the crown of North London's best club.

Consider that Arsenal's fixture run is interlinked with assaults on the Champions League and FA Cup, and an already embattled and weary squad will be truly tested to the limit. Spurs have the Europa League to contend with, but they're more equipped to cope.

Arsenal, in the time that Sherwood has transformed Spurs, have accrued 21 points from a possible 30 - a negligible amount less - but they look to be on a downward spiral. Their praised defence have conceded nine in the 10 games since Sherwood took over Spurs, while the White Hart Lane club - now renowned for their gung-ho style - have only conceded 11, including an unjust five-goal mauling at the hands of Manchester City.

Take into account the fact that Spurs have scored 21 and Arsenal 15 in the same time, and Spurs look to be the club on the rise.

If any two clubs are fully aware of the propensity for Premier League point gaps to be overhauled in such a short space of time, it's Arsenal and Spurs. Four point and seven-point deficits have been clawed back by Arsenal in the last two seasons, so a six-point gap certainly isn't out of reach.

Maybe it's time for Tim Sherwood's men to serve some revenge? The momentum is certainly on their side.

State your support for Matt using the story comment facility below or by tweeting the hashtag #TTSpurs to @TEAMtalk.

Mark Holmes (@homzy) - NO

Why is it that so many people are so desperate to write off Arsenal. They get tipped to finish outside of the top four every pre-season - I've been guilty of it myself in the past before learning my lesson - and even a hint of a loss of form this season has seen critics rushing to predict an impending crisis.

That was certainly the case after they were well beaten at Manchester City but Arsene Wenger once again proved everyone wrong as the Gunners went the next 10 games unbeaten.

You'd think that might have silenced the doubters that don't believe they have the mental strength to maintain a title challenge but no, the knives have quickly come out again following the heavy defeat to Liverpool.

Their performance that day, the injury list, lack of strike cover and difficult fixture list will certainly be of concern to Wenger and co. but Arsenal have won nine and drawn one of their 10 games against the current bottom seven teams whereas City have only won five of their nine clashes with the strugglers, while Chelsea have won only five of their eight.

It is often said that it is games against your fellow title rivals decide the destination of the trophy but there are three points up for grabs in every game. If Arsenal continue to brush aside the league's lesser lights - something they deserve great credit for, incidentally, given their slip-ups against such sides in previous seasons - and City and Chelsea continue to drop points against them, it may be that the Gunners only need to draw the so-called six pointers, as they did against Chelsea.

In all honesty, Arsenal are deservedly third favourites for the title behind their two big-spending rivals but it's utter madness to suggest they will suddenly fall drastically off the pace having set it themselves for much of the season so far.

Liverpool could make it a four-horse race for the title but Tottenham just aren't good enough at this moment in time. There's no doubting they're a different proposition under Tim Sherwood but they are still going through a transition as the new boss tries to work out exactly what his best team is. And, as was evidenced earlier in the season, they struggle to score goals if Emmanuel Adebayor is not on the pitch. An injury to him could be disastrous.

Sherwood deserves an enormous amount of praise for turning around Spurs' fortunes, and Brendan Rodgers is a Manager of the Season contender for the way he has transformed Liverpool, but I just don't see either team overhauling an Arsenal side that has been criminally under-praised.

State your support for Mark using the story comment facility below or by tweeting the hashtag #TTArsenal to @TEAMtalk.

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