Before the season began, much was made of the success of Spurs’ transfer strategy. The conventional wisdom was that Daniel Levy had turned a potentially disastrous negative – the loss of Gareth Bale – into a positive. We may have lost our best player, but we had ended up with a much more balanced squad. Well at least that was the narrative the media had chosen.
Arsenal on the other hand were castigated for their lack of signings, especially in comparison to Tottenham. They had failed to invest except for one desperate looking last minute signing, that of Mesit Ozil.
Of course subsequent events have rather put paid to this view of events. Spurs sit sixth, out of both domestic cups having sacked their manager, while Arsenal top the league. Maybe even more pertinently, both North London derbies have been fairly routine wins for the gunners and Ozil has made a great impact. Arsenal look slick and well organised, Spurs slow and disjointed.
The reality is this is an unfair comparison. Arsenal started with the better squad and the more settled manager. They finished higher last season, admittedly not by much but more importantly they didn’t sell their best player (for once). When strengthening they looked for quality not quantity. One world class proven talent.
It’s also too early to tell which strategy will prove better in the long term. Arsenal were always likely to start better, hit the ground running so to speak. The players already knew each other and Wenger knew his best team. Spurs on the other hand were always likely to take some time to gel, time to get used to playing together and, in the case of the new signings, time to get used to the Premier League and living in London.
The silver lining for Spurs fans is that as the season progresses you would expect Spurs to get better. The new players should start to settle in and get used to there surroundings and playing with each other. The manager will find his best team.
Equally Arsenal’s form is more likely to deteriorate as tiredness and injuries affect their squad. They chose quality over quantity and the consequence may be a lack of depth. So just as Spurs start to improve maybe their rivals will implode. We can only hope.