It was 18 years ago that Tottenham Hotspur last completed a domestic league campaign in a superior position to North London rivals Arsenal.
The last time it happened, in 1994-95, the top flight still had 22 teams. Arsene Wenger was an unknown manager to most Gunners fans. Gareth Bale was not even six years old.
The Rundown has an overwhelming feeling, however, that 2013-14 is the season Spurs finally finish above their neighbours once again.
We know 37 of the 38 Premier League fixtures are yet to be played, and anything can happen between now and May. We are also aware that merely suggesting such a thing will have the world and his wife accusing us of being huge Hotspur fans, or just plain anti-Arsenal.
But the reason we are sticking our necks out on this one is an overwhelming supply of omens that suggest that this season is the season that Tottenham’s drought ends:
1) Spurs can spend: Yes, Tottenham look likely to lose Bale – the Welsh wizard many call their ‘one-man team’ - but Spurs are bringing in strong recruits to fill the gap, with Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado already in and the likes of Willian, Erik Lamela and Fabio Coentrao possibly following.
2) Arsenal can also spend… honest! Apparently, this summer was when the Gunners FINALLY mixed it up with the big boys in the transfer market. Instead, they have simply acted like big spenders, dropping out of countless deals before they had to open their wallet.
3) Ledley King said so: What? Just because King devoted his entire career to Spurs – and still works for the club as an ambassador - his claim that the drought will end in 2014 is not to be taken seriously? Then again, in this Eurosport exclusive from May, he also says that Bale is going nowhere. Hmm.
4) Long-standing legacies fall: Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer a football manager. The entire sport is clearly a different animal. Change is everywhere. Tottenham will finish above Arsenal. West Ham will be loved by someone other than West Ham fans. (Okay, maybe not)
5) Let’s get it started: Forget Fergie: Will I An is the Black Eyed Pea who’ll make the difference this time around, now he’s signed for Spurs.
6) Immodium on standby this time: Tottenham visit Upton Park on the penultimate weekend of the season – unlike in 2005/06 when they played West Ham last, suffering from lasagna-induced food poisoning. That gives the sickly Spurs seven whole days to rest up and get the dodgy Italian suppers out of their system before getting their noses over the line first at home to Aston Villa on the final day.
7) This be a results biz, son: Yes, it’s just one round of games. Yes, Arsenal were unlucky to lose to Villa thanks to refereeing decisions. And yes, Tottenham were fortunate to escape from an up-for-it Crystal Palace with a slender win. But who got three points and who got none? Expect more of the same.
8) Gunners lack ammo: It’s obvious to everyone who watches football that the likes of Gervinho, Arshavin and Squillaci were the REAL reason why Arsenal stayed above Spurs in recent seasons. Now, without their top talents, they are done for. Finished. Over!
9) No more ‘losing themselves’: The only reason Tottenham haven’t broken the North London duck sooner is because their main focus was supporting the rap career of Clint ‘Deuce’ Dempsey. Now he’s back in the States, they can give Arsenal the good old fashioned hiding they deserve.
10) Fresh vs Stale: Andre Villas-Boas is young, trendy and has his finger on the pulse of the modern game. Wenger was much the same .... last millennium.
11) The curse of Arsene: Spurs have never finished above Arsenal in the league while Wenger has been in charge. At this rate, that won’t be the case come the spring…
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