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In the End – Class Always Wins.

No matter the circumstances, class wins out every time. And this season as Arsenal begin the arduous task of turning their fortunes around, the gulf in class between us and the noisy neighbours is as wide as it has ever been.

No matter the circumstances, class wins out every time. And this season as Arsenal begin the arduous task of turning their fortunes around, the gulf in class between us and the noisy neighbours is as wide as it has ever been.

In August as Tottenham sold Gareth Bale and subsequently spent £100 million on 7 players, we were barraged with how astute and calculating Levy was and how his best signing may have been his new technical director.

Early on in the season Arsenal dispatched Tottenham at the Emirates in a 1-0 routing with our only signing being Mathieu Flamini (at that point). As the season went on, Arsenal rocketed to the top of the table while Tottenham struggled to maintain pace with the top 4 and was mired down in Europa League qualification.

The success of Arsenal’s transfer policy showed a stark difference from our supposed rivals as the results continued to be less and less impressive for them and more and more impressive for us, especially in the context of the hoopla from the summer. The negative spiral we were under engulfed our neighbours and resulted in their manager again getting the sack. AVB gone. Enter Agent Sherwood.

Agent Sherwood was a Arsenal supporter or is, depending on which narrative you follow and he was brought in to arrest the slide. His first move was to bring back everyone’s favorite ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor. At the start it looked like an astute move as it paid dividends. Uh oh right?

Then came the pairing of Arsenal and the rabble from the other part of North London. Again, this was supposed to be a measuring stick.  Tottenham came with a full starting XI and Arsenal with a mix of starters and reserves.

Needless to say the display only further cemented the disparity of fortunes. Arsenal were too slick, controlled the midfield and made Tottenham look, well second class.  That brings us then to yesterday.

Arsenal have had an inconsistent league run up to this tie. They had relative success outside of the league where we advanced to the FA Cup Semis and gave a good account of ourselves in Germany versus Bayern Munich. But at the time of the match the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham were a mere 6 points.

Had Tottenham managed to overcome Arsenal at White Hart Lane we know how vociferous the press would’ve been jumping on the “Tottenham will get better of Arsenal” band wagon. We also know that the press would’ve been running rampant with Arsenal falter again stories.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that – class won out.

Sometimes a match needs a moment of class to turn it on its head. That’s what we saw within 77 seconds when Tomas Rosicky’s rocket shot, curled off the outside of his boot, megged a defender and curled into the far corner. Game on (and over.)

Arsenal were clearly up for the match and Tottenham were intent to try whatever they could do to beat Manchester United’s single-match crossing record.  It was funny to see some of the responses to the first half and the match overall.

In the first half after the opening goal, Arsenal sat back and let Tottenham chase the game. Arsenal forced the play wide and long and frankly Tottenham were without the creative nous to break through. Arsenal on the other hand were lucky not to see their lead be 3-0 or even 4-0.

As we say class wins out over grit any day and Oxlade-Chamberblin continues to show his class each week. He made some poor decisions – even though they were good ideas – and they resulted in missed chances that on another day could have come back to haunt us. His first an errant, looping cross to Podolski on the far side would’ve been better served as a shot to the far post that Lloris would’ve likely had to push into the way of the incoming Podolski and the second a shot, well let’s just say, NASA is tracking it’s orbit.

Still he had a classy performance and was unlucky to not get on the score sheet.

Tottenham then had the task of trying to force their way through our defensive wall. However, without a  clear creative or clinical edge to them they would likely have to depend on an Arsenal mistake to help them. They almost got it when  Szczesny misplays a ball and Chadli when presented with an open net is thwarted not once but twice by Arsenal’s impervious defensive stalwarts, Mertesacker and Koscielny.

Arsenal invited more pressure when Wenger thinking 1-0 was enough went more defensive with his changes and had 5 at the back along with an additional fullback in Monreal and Flamini clogging up the middle.  Frankly he could’ve likely spared the Flamini change as there was nothing coming from the middle of the pitch from Tottenham at all.

I saw many saying Tottenham deserved more. I am never one for that narrative. The score line depicts what you should get. If you win, you deserved it. If you lose, regardless of effort you deserved to lose because you didn’t do enough to win – like score the goals.

Now some will argue that Tottenham’s £100 million signings need time to gel. That’s a load of crap actually. I think you can make that argument to a point in the season. But at some point if it doesn’t happen then the players they brought in aren’t actually good enough.

Outside of a hardworking Adebayor and Eriksen, I am hard pressed to see any of those players Tottenham have signed forcing their way into Arsenal’s first XI. I don’t mean that as some wild bravado. I simply don’t think they’ve brought in players that represent the class and style that denotes an Arsenal player.

They went and spent £100 million to close a gap of one point and force entry into Europe’s elite.  Now they are 9 points adrift of the top 4 and in worse shape than before last season. For all of my hatred of Gareth Bale he was the only player they had that represented any true class. There is no denying his ability as much as I hate to say it. They have none of that.

When your single focus is to just beat Arsenal then your focus is misplaced. It shows misplaced ambition. It shows a mentality that is focused locally rather than seeing the big picture. I will worry about Tottenham when their players, their coaches and their supporters talk about beating Arsenal and focus in on higher success. But no matter how many times they say it they never will match the sheer class that is Arsenal.

Many will remark that our focus was just finishing in the top 4. Well, put yourself and your team under the financial constraints we did – and you’ll understand that better. But we always knew that our focus was much bigger than that. It would take time but no one was under any delusion of what our true end goal was.

We looked to the future not to beat Tottenham but to compete regularly with the biggest names in football – in every possible manner. We are close to seeing that come to fruition. Beating Tottenham is a nice little extra to that. We know where our true hopes and dreams lie and they have less to do with that little club down the lane then they would want it to be.

In the end Tottenham, you didn’t deserve to win. You won’t deserve to win until you understand what class is. Class is Arsenal. There’s your first lesson.

North London Is Red.

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