Posts Tagged ‘Andre Villas Boas’

features, Football

Why Spurs now have a stronger squad than Arsenal – and this from a Gooner

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Up until this season if you had suggested to an Arsenal fan that their pals at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road had a stronger squad you would have probably been chased all the way back to Edmonton.

However, as the season progresses and Arsenal’s results and performances get weirder and weirder, it has become painfully obvious to a lot of Gooners that the superiority over their neighbours that they once took for granted, might be about to come to an end.

At the time of writing both teams are, along with Everton, the key contenders for that fourth Champions League slot. If you asked me though who I think will be hosting Champions League games next season I’d say it is more likely to be Spurs – and this from a Gooner. And it isn’t just me. Catch them in a more reflective moment and many Arsenal fans would agree that their worst fears might soon be about to be realised.

I have gone through both squads and compared the Arsenal and Spurs players (to be fair I am way more familiar with the Gunners, but I have watched a lot of the Spuds on the TV this season) and the sad part is that, while it is still pretty close, in certain key areas, Tottenham have the edge. There is probably a greater number of Spurs players who I wish were wearing red and white than probably since the late 80s, and fewer Arsenal men that Spurs fans covet.

So, take the tour and say what you think in the comments. Like most Arsenal fans I remain optimistic, but that optimism is born out of two things – 1 A feeling that we have managed to sneak a Champions League slot so many times before. 2 That Ivan Gazidis isn’t kidding when he says that Arsene Wenger has plenty of cash to spend in January. Whether Arsene spends it though is another matter.

Images PA

Central Midfield - Arsenal

Picture 4 of 7
Picture 4 of 7

This is one of two areas where there is clear water between the two sides and you would be very hard pressed to find an Arsenal fan who thinks otherwise. In Jack Wilshere Arsenal have possibly the country's best young midfielder. And the bad news for Spurs fans is that he looks stronger, keener and more creative as every game passes. Wilshere is the key to the second half of Arsenal's season. He might be having a quieter patch of late but Santi Cazorla's creative genius means he should well feature on many pundits teams of the year. After some amazing performances, like against Liverpool, some Arsenal fans were arguing that he is a better player than Fabregas. He has skills in his locker that Cesc hasn't, but IMO Fabregas consistently had more impact on games than Santi. Then there's the metronomic passing of Mikel Arteta. As other teams have discovered to Arsenal's expense, if you stop the wily Spaniard then you seriously disrupts the team's flow. On their day Arsenal not only have the best midfield trio in north London, but the Premiership too. On their day though... I would still love to see a proper replacement for Song. I'll admit that Spurs have some very real quality in the middle of the park in Dembele and Sandro. It seems like the missing ingredient for the team this year has been the absence of one of their players of last season, Scott Parker. The English midfielder seems to be edging his way back to fitness and form and looked good in the closing stages of the Villa game in December. I desperately wanted Wenger to sign Parker and was gutted when he went to Spurs. He would certainly give Arsene a headache in working out whether to play him or Arteta.



Football

Gareth Bale – is he going to Real Madrid/Barcelona? And why Spurs might not miss him

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

As Arsene Wenger has found to his cost, sell your best players and it becomes very hard to stay a top team. And that’s a dilemma that must be uppermost in the mind of one André Villas-Boas as he ponders the future of Gareth Bale.

There’s no denying the huge talent of the Welsh full back/winger/striker and there are no shortage of clubs keen to secure his services.

A few weeks ago Spain was being talked of as the most likely destination for Bale, if he does choose to move this summer, with Jose Mourinho apparently keen enough to fork out the £50 million or so it would take to reunite Bale with his old mucker Luka Modric. Though it should be added that Mourinho’s future at Real seems to be in some doubt.

For AVB then the decision is a tricky one. Sell Bale, and he’ll need the board to back him, and he has a huge war chest with which to build a new team. But if he does sell him he will run the risk of seriously alienating some of the fans.

The interesting bit though is the question – how useful has Bale been to Tottenham this season? This chart from our mates at Bantr illustrates that not only do Spurs not miss Bale, they have actually performed slightly better without him. Obviously there would be a huge hole were AVB to cash in on Bale but if the figures are similar at the end of the season surely the temptation to sell Bale to a Spanish club would be overwhelming.

So why have Spurs not played so well when Bale has been in the team. Any theories Spurs fans?

Infographic courtesy of our mates at Bantr. Bantr makes live football interactive by allowing fans to follow and vote on live football matches in real time, set manager and player approval and much more.

Our website is a hotbed of sparky football debate and offers exclusive statistics about the mood from the terraces. Whether you want to keep an eye on all the scores, vote on whether Rooney dived for that penalty or comment on the unique data that our website produces, Bantr is the interactive future of following the beautiful game.




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