Take yourself back to 2014. Tottenham had endured yet another painful season which resulted in the dismissals of Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, while Arsenal continued their record as one of the only teams to complete a top-four finish in every year of the Premier League era.
With Spurs still at White Hart Lane and Arsenal at the relatively new Emirates stadium, the gap between the two clubs was vast. The Arsenal squad was more talented, experienced and skilled resulting in them finishing ten points above their arch-rivals – it was obvious who were the better team.
Fast forward a few years though and there seems to have been a change of fortunes between the two North London clubs. For over a decade, Spurs struggled to come within reach of even finishing close to the Gunners; yet for the third season in a row, the white side of North London has conquered the pride of the city with a reasonable margin to spare.
Having just moved into their modernised home at White Hart Lane, many have posed the question – has there been a power shift in North London?
Well from a literal perspective, the answer would simply be no. Football is about the trophies, and despite Tottenham’s mass improvement over the last few years, they have still failed to find their first piece of silverware since 2008. The unusual thing about the decline of Arsenal though is that they have still managed to find their glory even when times looked bleak. For example, their three FA cups in four years came about despite Arsene Wenger being under mountains of pressure before his departure.
Many believe football is about trophies, and in many ways it is. Teams enter tournaments to win and if they do not walk away with the trophy then can you really call it a success?
With those ideas in mind, Arsenal remain the greater of the two clubs in North London; their rich heritage and history carrying them through to the modern day, despite the recent success of their rivals.
A new era under Unai Emery should eventually bring about trophies at the Emirates, with the Spaniard being known for taking certain players and transforming them into serial winners. His three UEFA Europa League medals speak for themselves and with Emery taking Arsenal to a final within his first season, with what can be described as a below average team for a top-six outfit, perhaps shows the dominance of Arsenal will continue in the long run once Emery bags a few trophies.
However, that being said, it will take a long time for Emery to create a team that will abide perfectly by his philosophies. A collapse in the stature of Arsenal, with fans calling for the head of Stan Kroenke, could make one argue that the pride of North London now belongs at White Hart Lane.
Yes, Tottenham haven’t won any trophies, but their progress under Mauricio Pochettino has been second to none. Tottenham have one of the best centre-back partnerships in Europe, as well as one of the best strikers in the world, which has allowed Pochettino’s side to rocket up the table over the last few years.
The talents of Vertonghan, Alli, Kane and Sissoko makes Tottenham eleven streets ahead of the Gunners. It is perhaps with no debate that currently, the power is within the white side of North London.
Having reached a Champions League final, as well as nurturing the talents of Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente, any journeyman player may lick their lips at the prospect of joining Spurs – unlike Arsenal where the fan base goes through phases of toxicity with the players. Of course, Tottenham fans have their moments too, however, they appear to be more accepting that young players need to develop – a catalyst for the success of Kane and Alli over the last few years.
Their power also seems more assertive when moving into the new White Hart Lane. It took a long time coming but it was worth the wait; a stadium built to mix the clubs history as well as it’s bright future into one. It has already seen some fantastic nights there, most notably their first leg Champions League win against Man City; and with their growing matchday revenue, it appears there will be multiple nights like that for Spurs.
Another reason why Spurs are superior to the Gunners is their current prominence on the European stage. Again, while no trophy may be involved, Tottenham’s rise into the Champions League final against all the odds is yet another reflection on the fabulous job Pochettino has done.
On the other hand, Arsenal’s humiliating defeat in the Europa League final sums up their recent fall from grace; a further reason why Tottenham’s latest achievements surpass Arsenal’s, making them the most powerful in North London.
I think it’s fair to say that overall, Arsenal are the bigger club and for that to change it would take Spurs winning a few major trophies, including the Premier League itself. That being said, in the modern day, Tottenham and Pochettino have come on leaps and bounds to come within touching distance of Arsenal, which is a credit to everyone on the white side of North London.
Over the next few years, it will become evident whether a power shift has arisen in London, but it will forever a debate which will spark conflict between the two fan bases and one which will no doubt continue to shift in the coming years.