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North London Derby Q&A with Cartilage Free Captain

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Checking in with the noisy neighbors.

Aerial Views Of The London 2012 Olympic Venues
The new White Hart Lane looks a lot like the new Wembley
Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images

It’s that time again! Arsenal head a little bit north of the Emirates to help Spurs inaugurate their new stadium, and will hopefully deal their title chances another...hang on, I’m getting a memo handed to me. Give me a second to read what it says.

Oh.

It’s that time again! Arsenal head a little bit west of the Emirates to help Spurs forget that their costly stadium is still unfinished, months after it should have been ready to go, and will hopefully deal their title chances another blow at Wembley on Saturday morning.

Before all that, though, I talked with Sean Cahill of our fellow SBN blog Cartilage Free Captain to get their perspective on the last North Temporarily Northwest London Derby of the season. I answered some questions for CFC as well, I’ll link to them here when they’re live.

TSF: Two losses in two league games coming into the weekend. Do you hear footsteps?

CFC: I can’t hear anything over the internal screaming I’ve been doing the last five days. I hope it’s a blip on the radar, but losing three in a row would suddenly turn things completely upside down in the Top 4 race. I can stomach a loss at Stamford Bridge because it’s been a house of horrors for Spurs, but at Turf Moor? This is why I drink.

TSF: Title chances receding rapidly, top four more or less cemented, new stadium on the way. How does it feel to be 2006 Arsenal?

CFC: Better than 2006 Spurs, who finished fifth on 65 points and lost to the likes of Bolton and Fulham that year. Honestly, this has been such a weird season. The injury crisis in December and January made us all panic in the January window and, somehow, Spurs came out of it in a solid position. The top four race can still get flipped, but the fact that this club is in third place with all that’s happened this year is just wild.

TSF: How has Mauricio Pochettino kept Spurs on their upward trajectory despite not signing a single player in either window this season?

CFC: Pochettino gets the most he can out of a squad. It’s as simple as that. To go two transfer windows with no purchases and still be in this position shows you why a club like Manchester United want to bring him in. They would just have to pay Daniel Levy an absurd amount of money and that might be just to get in the door for a chat.

TSF: Related: Will Spurs be active this summer, or are Theoretical Stadium’s construction costs tying their hands financially?

CFC: They have to. Failure to do so in a third straight window may cause the masses to set the surrounding area of the stadium on fire and turn it into a Mad Max-esque wasteland. We’ve talked about it ad nauseam on our site and in our writer’s room and the targets are basically as follows:

- Central Midfielder (N’Dombele would be ideal, but he may be out of our price range)
- Fullbacks (Both sides of the pitch)
- Replacement for Toby Alderweireld (He’s gone.)
- Maybe a younger keeper

Now, will any of this happen? Who knows, but I have the whiskey on standby if I need it. (I’ll need it.)

TSF: Is Spurs’ inability to draw costing them in the title race?

CFC: I absolutely love this topic because we all love the memes of “THE UNDRAWABLES” but there may be a little truth to that. Nicking a point here and there means also taking two points off of your opponent, and they lost to Liverpool, City, and United all each by a goal. If you turn those into draws, this race is a whole lot more interesting even though it’s still a good one between Pool and City.

TSF: What’s been the most pleasant surprise of this season so far?

CFC: Moussa Sissoko and him being a solid player in the midfield for a long stretch. Coming into this season, I think just about everyone was ready to sell him for whatever Levy could get for him. Yet here we are about to enter March and he’s been a pretty vital player.

TSF: Spurs are all but past Dortmund in the Champions League; does that mean a full strength side on Saturday, to help restore league momentum, and reserves on Tuesday?

CFC: It’s the North London Derby. There is no way in hell this isn’t a full strength side, even if Spurs have that trip to Germany right after.

Thanks again to Sean and CFC for taking the time to talk to us!