If last season is to be remembered by Tottenham fans for anything, it will almost certainly be their dreadful end-of-season slip up that saw rivals Arsenal once again finish above them for the 20th consecutive season. Oh, and that Eden Hazard may stick in the memory a while too.
The celebrations of St Totteringham’s Day from Arsenal fans will have been salt in the wounds of both Tottenham players and fans, as they witnessed what looked like a solid title challenge dwindle to a third place and trophy less season.
Mauricio Pochettino will remain positive – with third being the highest ever finish of a Tottenham side in the Premier League and a host of his young players being selected in the PFA Team of the Season – however Spurs’ still have plenty of progress to make if they are to end their dismal run of two decades of finishing below the Gunners.
They must look to last season and beyond if they are to learn what it takes to be successful at the highest level, and what better way to do so than look directly at those who are constantly conquering you.
So here are three things Tottenham could learn from Arsenal…
Tottenham’s inexperience of being near the pinnacle of the table towards the end of the season showed dramatically in the last few games. Pochettino’s young side finished the season without a win in four, including two dismal losses to relegated Newcastle and European qualifier’s Southampton.
Arsenal on the other hand didn’t lose any of their last 10 games, hence their march into second place and ultimately Arsene Wenger and his side’s experience made the difference come the final day.
Yes Tottenham did collapse from title challengers to third place, but why? The pressure? Yes. The inexperience? Also, yes. But more than anything it was their lack of strength in depth.
Moussa Dembele and Dele Alli’s suspensions for the final two games had a huge impact on Spurs midfield, as the Lily-whites seemed unable to replace the pair who had been such consistent figures for the remainder of the season.
The lack of a replacement centre-half and a back-up to Harry Kane was another pitfall. The signings of Vincent Jannsen and Victor Wanyama should help begin to relieve this dilemma, but plenty more still needs to be done.
Arsenal, despite their injury worries throughout the season, managed to field a strong squad throughout the season. In midfield the Gunner’s possess Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Mohammed Elneny, Mesut Ozil, Francis Coquelin, new boy Granit Xhaka and more.
Up front, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott. The difference between the two squads is remarkable.
One thing Tottenham have been guilty of over the years has been changing manager more than Nicolas Anelka changes his club.
In the two decades Wenger has been at the helm of Arsenal, Spurs have had a whopping 15 different managers – none of whom lasted more than a few seasons, with many only being given one year to change the clubs fortunes.
Under Pochettino, Tottenham have made terrific progress and now look like genuine consistent contenders for the top four and even the title if they continue in the same way. Those in charge must learn that changing the manager despite non-instant success is not the answer, and should look at their London rivals as an example.