It was the most eagerly anticipated game of this last weekend, and one of the most anticipated all season. The local derby between North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is usually a pretty exciting game. The last two matches between the two sides have seen Arsenal win both games 5-2. But on Sunday (3rd of March), Spurs not only beat Arsenal 2-1, but in doing so have moved above them and possibly put paid to Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top four of the Premiership.
Should Spurs finish above Arsenal, it will be the first time under the 16 year reign of Arsène Wenger that (i) Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League and (ii) that Spurs have finished above them. Currently Spurs have not only moved above Arsenal, but also above Chelsea, making Spurs the top London club, and only two points behind Manchester City.
The Premiership title itself looks to be in the bag for Manchester United. As I blogged about here, the winner of last year’s title was decided in one of the most dramatic fashions over seen in English football. It all came down to added time of the final weekend, with Manchester City scoring two goals in added time to beat Queens Park Rangers and snatch the title from their arch rivals Manchester United. With Manchester United currently 15 points clear, and memories of last season still fresh in Alex Ferguson’s memory, I cannot see Man U letting the title slip from their grasp this time.
Coming back to Spurs; probably the player who has most helped them ascend to third place in the Premiership is Welshman Gareth Bale. He has been on fire the last two months, scoring 9 goals in his last 7 games, including the opener on Sunday against Arsenal. Those of us in Wales have known how good he is for a number of years, but now he is gaining the attention of the footballing World. Rumours abound of lucrative offers to go to clubs like Real Madrid, with Bale being talked of in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. People who know Gareth Bale say he will not be seduced by such talk, and will probably stay at Spurs as he puts family and friends above money.
All I can say is that I am glad that, wherever he chooses to play his club football, Wales will be able to call on his incredible skills in our National team.