Following the summer signings by both Arsenal and Tottenham, many journalists and fans alike are now wondering, based on both squads strength in depth, who is now the best team in North London?
It’s no doubt that new signing Rafael Van Der Vaart, who moved to White Hart Lane from Spanish giants Real Madrid, has added much needed flair and attacking presence in the Spurs midfield, but has this £8 million star gave Tottenham the edge over their North London rivals Arsenal?
Dutch international and former team mate at the Bernabeu, Arjen Robben, believes Spurs are now just as good, if not better than the Gunners. The now Bayern Munich player, told the Daily Star Sunday:
“Before Rafa signed, I’d still have had Arsenal down as the stronger team – but now I don’t think there is anything between them”
“In terms of his vision, his range of passing, his ability to split a defence and his eye for goal he is as good as Cesc Fabregas, Steven Gerrard and of course Frank Lampard.”
‘He is that bridge for Spurs that makes them go from a very good Premier League club to a team capable of taking on and beating any side in Europe on their day.”
Robben also believes that Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie tried to tempt Van Der Vaart to move to the other side of North London:
“I knew of his interest in England and that van Persie had been speaking with him about how great life in London was. I think when Robin was trying to convince him how great London and the Premier League was, it was as though he was trying to convince him to join Arsenal.”
With the likes of Lennon, Bale, Modric and now Van Der Vaart in their lineup, Spurs do seemingly have an attacking line that could rival most teams in the Premier League. However, the real issue in any potential success remains, as it does with their North London rivals, in the insecurities in their defence.
With key injuries to Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson, along with the constant battle for fitness by Ledley King, many fans are doubting the security in defence to provide enough cover for goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, if they are once again to challenge for a top four spot.
Arsenal are seemingly in a similar position squad wise, with a large portion of its starting XI talent being in their attacking options. New signings Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci look to have enough promise to help bolster the Gunners defensive line considerably and with the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna already their ranks, the Emirates outfit should have more than enough this season to keep a number of sides quiet for 90 minutes and possibly challenge for top honours this time round.
The last piece of silverware to grace North London came in Tottenham’s 2008 League Cup victory over Chelsea, however, many believe that if Spurs are to become the top dogs between both clubs, they must first look to emulate Arsenal’s bright history in both the league and in Europe.
Their debut journey in the Champions League this season will give them a great opportunity to test themselves against Europe’s footballing elite, to see if their team is capable of living up to the hype, or if manager Harry Rednapp still has a lot of work to raise his team to where many fans believe they should be.
While many Spurs fans will see their side as much improved, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Ashavin and Theo Walcott, along with the abundance of young talent that manager Arsene Wenger seemingly has at his disposal, many fans at the Emirates will see their fierce rivals as being a long way off in possibly competing for that much coveted title of best side in North London.
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