Do not let whatever happens over the next 5 days confuse you. Tottenham Hotspur are very much a team on the brink of crisis.
Even if they finish 4th, and Arsenal 5th, the pendulum has swung back to the red side of North London (it never really swung away in reality).
Whilst top 4 was not Arsenal’s everything this season, Spurs have shown in recent weeks just how important it was to them. And that is because the club and their fans know they are on the brink of collapse.
Arsenal are a team that are building something special.
The youngest squad in the league, the youngest manager, and a senior leadership team focused on building something very special.
Meanwhile, at Tottenham, a top 4 finish will be papering over some ever widening cracks.
So what are the issues Tottenham face?
I had to laugh last week when the media went hard against Mikel Arteta questioning the refereeing decisions after the North London Derby.
They tried to paint Arteta as someone that always complains when things do go well. The reality is it is Conte who has non-stop complained since he has been in Edmonton.
Conte has continually threatened to quit in post-match interviews after every Tottenham failure to win.
You feel Conte already has one foot out the door and is just waiting for the next job offer to come.
Conte will jump the sinking ship at the first opportunity next season.
This is a Tottenham squad at the peak of its powers.
By the time we kick off for the new season, Son will be 30 and Harry Kane 29.
Whilst they both have a few seasons left in the tank, they perhaps have no more than 2 or 3 seasons left playing at this high level.
Hugo Lloris, at 35-years-old, is also very much in the last knockings of his career.Do
Too long Spurs have relied on the same three men. Without them they are mid-table.
Tottenham will need to replace all 3 over the next few years, but with a new stadium to pay for it is unlikely they will be able to afford to replace them with similar quality.
This Tottenham squad have peaked.
Covid hit Tottenham more than most due to the cost of repaying their stadium. This resulted in them looking at alternative ways to finance transfer deals.
In Dejan Kulusevski and Cristian Romero they secured two very good, young players. But both came in on loan with obligations / options to buy.
With both, they basically “kicked the debt down the road.
This summer they will have to spend around €50million to secure the services of Romero on a permanent basis.
They will also have to pay €30million if they choose to make the Kulusevski deal permanent (rising to €40m if they choose to wait another 12 months).
Taking into account their financial struggles, to pay out upwards of €80million over the next 12 months to secure two players currently at the club is huge.
After they have paid for these two players, the probably won’t have much left to further improve their squad.
Unless they sell big (Harry Kane, Son), they will probably have to continue to try on loan deals to strengthen the squad.
And all that does is kick more debt down the road which will give them even less money to finance replacements for their ageing stars.
Tottenham fans are only deluding themselves when they talk about how they do not care about not winning a trophy for 14 years.
This is just a defensive mechanism, a barrier put up by their fans to hide the hurt.
The reality is they have had the best squad of players for decades and are still trophyless.
You see those on social media talking about Son and Kane being the best attacking duo the Premier League has ever seen. Yet they have won 0 trophies out of a possible 28.
For clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea, the primary goal is to win trophies. For Tottenham it seems the sole goal is to finish above The Arsenal.
No trophies, no funds for transfers, ageing stars and a manager who wants out.
Spurs are on brink of a crisis.