We are witnessing the golden age of Tottenham Hotspur.
Never in the modern age of this sport have Spurs combined such a vast array of exciting talent with one of the best coaching minds in the world. It goes without debate that they have not had a striker as clinical as Harry Kane has been the last four seasons. The last time Tottenham had such a dynamic midfield duo like the one they have with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen was when they trotted out Gareth Bale and Luka Modric - both, as you know, now playing for Real Madrid. Hugo Lloris is, without question, the best shot stopper they’ve fielded.
And it goes without saying that Tottenham have simply never had a manager quite like Mauricio Pochettino.
Arriving from Southampton, by way of Espanyol, Pochettino’s preferred style of play combines a stout back line with aggressive, technical midfielders and attackers unafraid to shoot and pressure the opposing back line and keeper that consistently yields positive results on the pitch and in the league table. He’s also shown an ability to sell off crucial first-team players and effectively replace them with players who don’t negatively impact how the team performs. Pochettino’s been such a revelation that Spurs fans are already dreaming of a future where he becomes as ingrained and influential within the club as Arsene Wenger has been throughout his time at Arsenal.
And yet, all of this won’t matter a single iota because as long as they continue to lack trophies it will just be unfulfilled potential wasted. After all, that’s what many rushed to accuse Arsene Wenger of when he went trophy-less. The biggest difference, of course, is that this came on the heels of league and cup titles for Arsenal, including the season of the Invincibles.
Tottenham can’t continue to celebrate victories over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage and challenging the eventual league winners without having the same questions asked of them that were lobbed at Arsenal during their barren patch. At least, they can’t if they consider themselves to be an elite club that draws in the best talent from around the world – much like how they and others used this exact tool as a means to justify Arsenal’s relative failings.
The cruelest part of all this is that unless Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea disappear into the ether or restructure in a way that severely limits how they recruit players and management, Tottenham has hit their apex. In the modern age of soccer that we live in, this is the highest point they’ll ever achieve as a club. They will essentially waste away the careers of Kane, Alli, Eriksen, Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, giving them just enough of a taste of what it feels like to be near the top in the hopes that it satisfies them the same way that Arsenal wasted away the peaks of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, and Bacary Sagna. The question that remains to be answered is if the blunt, highly-inaccurate narrative used against Arsenal during those years of challenging – and failing – to win silverware will transfer to Spurs. Given that most media types are already rushing to excuse Tottenham because they’re an exciting team to watch and an interesting story to follow, I’m not hopeful.
This is where we, Arsenal fans, come in to play. We’ll never let you forget your near-titles, your early-autumn victories over a weakened Spanish power, and your F.A. Cup semi-final places. The abuse we’ve suffered for this exact same thing in the recent past - this run of form you’re have and will continue to go through over the next couple years - will be weaponized and used against you, from us, if the media will predictably fail to do the same.
Enjoy this while it lasts, Spurs fans. I look forward to celebrating the DVD release commemorating your 3rd place league finish next summer.