It is a measure of how far Tottenham and Arsenal have slipped off the pace in the Premier League that this weekend’s north London derby is irrelevant in the title race
Tottenham have gone backwards so far since reaching the Champions League final in 2019 it’s frightening.
And I’m not convinced that Spurs are going to win trophies under Nuno Espirito Santo – unless you count the Europa Conference League.
It is a measure of how far Tottenham and Arsenal have slipped off the pace in the Premier League that this weekend’s north London derby is irrelevant in the title race.
Until recently, we talked about a Big Six in English football – but now it’s a Big Four. There is a big gap from Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United to Spurs and Arsenal.
It’s amazing to think that, 11 months ago, Tottenham beat City to go top of the league and we were wondering if they could stay there.
Since then, they have gone from sacking Jose Mourinho in the week of a Wembley final, and putting Ryan Mason in charge as an interim manager, to being rebuffed by the likes of Hansi Flick and Antonio Conte before settling on Nuno.
Overall Nuno did a great job at Wolves but his last season at Molineux was poor.
After three games, Nuno’s Tottenham were top of the table and Arsenal were bottom… but a 2-0 win for the Gunners this weekend would lift them above Spurs.
That’s how quickly it can turn in football.
And although he scored in the League Cup against Nuno’s old club in midweek, Harry Kane – who has hit 11 goals against Arsenal down the years – has yet to break his duck in the Premier League this season.
What is the point of Tottenham fighting tooth and nail to keep Kane if they are going to play him on the left flank?
When I saw Kane playing deep, and behind Heung-Min Son, against Chelsea last weekend, I wondered what on earth was going on.
Action Images via Reuters)
You have one of the world’s top centre forwards, and you bat away Manchester City’s financial might to keep hold of him… and then, instead of him leading the line, you play him in a withdrawn role against one of the big hitters? I don’t get it.
Kane struggled to make an impact for England in the Euros when he kept coming deep to get on the ball – surely he needs to be making his presence felt in and around the opposition box?
Much as I admire Spurs chairman Daniel Levy for refusing to budge on selling Kane, now I’m not sure what would constitute success for Tottenham this season.
All of a sudden, they have gone from title contenders and European Cup finalists under Mauricio Pochettino to more limited horizons.
They have a space-age stadium and a wonderful training ground but the team is just OK.
Maybe, as a club, they are drawing breath ahead of a big push in 2022, but right now there is a danger of the most exciting contest at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium this season being Anthony Joshua’s world title fight tonight.