This Thursday at 9pm, Tottenham will welcome Arsenal in a crucial derby for the upcoming Champions League. Three days before the end of the tournament, Spurs must win to get back a point behind Arsenal, who will ensure a fourth-place finish should they win.
In the past two seasons, Tottenham and Arsenal have finished far from the top four and from qualifying for the Champions League. Even Arsenal have failed to play in Europe’s biggest competition over the past five seasons. But this time, the two clubs in north London are battling to snatch their ticket, which could be awarded on Thursday during the disputed derby match at Tottenham Hotspur. Coronation of one of the teams season of roller coaster.
August 2021: Arsenal underwater since the start of the season
After finishing eighth in the Premier League last year, Arsenal spent the summer working out their plan to find Europe, initially the Europa League. A plan was quickly undermined by three defeats at the start of the tournament, in the absence of a few executives, against Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City. Results Three days later, she conceded nine goals, scored zero, and placed 20th in the standings.
It was all it took to start the tally of Mikel Arteta, who was knocked out in the semi-finals a few months before the Europa League and was already in an uncomfortable position. But in the midst of the crisis, the Arsenal management decided to trust their Spanish coach. Unofficially, Arteta has until the derby match against Tottenham, at the end of September, to raise the bar. Arsenal beat their historic rival and presented themselves with a streak of 10 unbeaten matches in all competitions. Everything is going fine.
November 2021: Spurs already changed
Tottenham’s bet was last summer: persuading Wolverhampton coach Nuno Espirito Santo to set up the match and find the Champions League. The Portuguese got used to the Premier League, and they had to adapt quickly. Tottenham were hoping to find the right choice, a year and a half after the temporary departures of Mauricio Pochettino and Mourinho. Except that Nuno Espirito Santo was entitled to only 17 matches before he was sacked.
Despite winning in August against Manchester City, Tottenham then point to ninth place 10 days later and pay the Portuguese coach a heavy 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United. Antonio Conte arrived with a big move, putting Tottenham in the top four after just seven days and unbeaten in nine Premier League matches. It is approved immediately.
December 2021: “Baby Gunners” take over
Arsenal’s young players have been carrying their squad for a while, but in the middle of the season their grip increases. The sacking and then transfer of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the team’s captain so far, goes in that direction. The Gunners are now driving Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe, all of whom are 20 or 21 years old. Martin Odegaard, 23, is almost an eleventh veteran.
A symbol of this dynamic, during the match against Leeds, Arsenal scored four goals scored by Martinelli, Saka and Smith Rowe. Only three are over 24: Xhaka, Partey, and Lacazette. Today, three days before the end of the tournament, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe scored 11 goals and 10 goals in the Premier League. We haven’t seen such a young and prolific duo in the English Premier League since Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
February 2022: Kane wakes up to accompany Son
After a shy first half of the season, Harry Kane walks off the field with two goals against Manchester City. He then went on to score seven goals and provide six assists in just nine Premier League matches. Heung Min Son, the flawless leader in Tottenham’s attack, remains just as effective. After 33 days, Spurs finished fourth in the tournament, in a position to snatch the Champions League.
In total, Son has now scored 20 goals and 7 assists this season in the Premier League. Only Mohamed Salah is the best. Kane is a bit behind (13 goals, 8 assists) due to his early months after his aborted move to City last summer. But at the end of winter, when Spurs needed him, he was there.
April-May 2022: Arsenal Big Series
At the beginning of April, Mikel Arteta’s men had the cards on hand to seek qualification for the next Champions League but lost themselves by losing three games in a row to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. The absence of injuries to Barty and Tierney doesn’t help but Arsenal are out of the wildcard as three games come against top-ranked teams Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham.
Against the Blues, Arsenal gathered their strength and won 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. And they continued by beating United at the Emirates Stadium, in a match that could have gone in the wrong direction, and to end the series at West Ham Stadium, without shining. Arsenal are back ahead of Tottenham in the standings and are planning to host the north London derby which it promises will be decisive.
May 2022: The draw that hurt Tottenham
Right before Arsenal’s reception, Tottenham had at least a complicated task, which was to go to collect points at Anfield, against the Liverpool team that plays for the title, at the risk of introducing a new Joker to Arsenal. So Antonio Conte’s men fought back but couldn’t snatch better than a tie, which doesn’t help anyone.
Spurs are already four points behind Arsenal and their fate is no longer in their hands. Even if they win the highly anticipated North London derby on Thursday night, they will remain in the standings, with only two games remaining. Conversely, if they lose, they will see fourth place sporting a move away in favor of their London rival. “London is red,” Arsenal supporters are already shouting. They have been waiting for the Champions League for six years and did not finish before Tottenham in the standings.