COMMENT: Tottenham's hold over Arsenal could be a long-term thing

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Was this weekend a changing of the guard?

The symbolism was far-reaching as the final whistle blew, not only on Arsenal’s chances of salvaging something from the north London derby but of the dreaded St Totteringham’s day that has plagued both Spurs fans and neutrals in equal measure.

Tottenham won’t only finish above their rivals for the first time in 22 years, they’ll more than likely do it by a significant margin as the current gap of 17 points could swell beyond 20 come May 21.

That’s the sort of separation Arsenal regularly experienced during Arsene Wenger’s first decade in charge and the peak of their dominance, but now there is everything to suggest the roles have reversed.

A lot depends on hypotheticals and moving parts within both clubs, with Tottenham’s switch to Wembley a potential speedbump given their outstanding home record at White Hart Lane under Mauricio Pochettino.

But reasoned logic suggests Pochettino’s planning and the idea that Spurs are in the midst of a project should keep Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen et al. for at least two more seasons.

Their manager’s faith in young talent could also help them promote themselves as a ‘Dortmund of the Premier League’ in the market this summer; helping attract the sort of players that were always Wenger’s stock-in-trade.

In the red half of north London, however, the future looks decidedly less certain. We’re – and possibly his players too – yet to discover what Wenger is doing beyond this month, nor if Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil want to stay.

Even if the manager does sign a two-year contract the likely lack of Champions League football will surely force at least one of Sanchez or Ozil to leave, perhaps both, and serious investment is then required.

London will always be an attractive destination for any footballer but when there are two other clubs in the city in the Champions League, unless Arsenal are willing to break their wage ceiling, they will be a comfortable third choice.

There is also the very real scenario Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and even Keiran Gibbs could be plucked away this summer with only one-year left on their deals; while in 2019, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal, Gabriel and Petr Cech all become free agents.

Four are either already in their 30s or will be by then, meaning the eternally-prudent Arsenal board may be reticent in retaining them.

That represents 11 first-team players and a manager who could feasibly be gone within 24 months, none of which carries any visible contingency plan.

Tottenham’s time has arrived, and it’s difficult to see Arsenal stopping them in the short-term.

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Teddy Sheringham: No reason Dele Alli or Harry Kane should leave Spurs

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Teddy Sheringham sees no reason why Harry Kane or Dele Alli should leave Tottenham claiming Mauricio Pochettino has assembled an elite squad for the future.

Spurs lie four points behind leaders Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title after another season of progress under the Argentine manager.

However, such has been their success the long-term prospects of their leading lights has also attracted debate and speculation.

Kane’s 21 league goals have placed him among Europe’s leading young marksmen while Alli has scored 17 in the Premier League and added five assists, at the age of 21.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted last week that Tottenham would struggle to hold onto their prized assets unless they can match the sort of salaries offered by England’s highest-spending clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City.



But Sheringham, who left White Hart Lane to sign for United in 1997, said: “There’s no reason for them to go.

“When I left to go to Manchester United, the club wasn’t in the same position they are in now.

“They are challenging for honours, building a new stadium, have a fantastic manager. They are looking to progress, why would you want to go anywhere else?

“They are playing for one of the top three, four, five clubs in the country. The club is on the up, everyone is on the up in the club, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.

“They seem quite happy where they are.”

Teddy Sheringham in Dubai. Teddy Sheringham in Dubai.

The highest final league position achieved while Sheringham was a Tottenham player was seventh in the 1994/95 season and the concept of being title-challengers seemed a long-way off.

A run of nine-straight wins has this impressive Spurs side breathing down the necks of Chelsea with four matches remaining, albeit with the Blues enjoying a very comfortable run-in of Middlesbrough, Watford and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge and West Brom away.

Sheringham admits Chelsea’s consistency means the gap is too great for his former club to breach and they may have to make do with a runner-up finish.

Speaking at an IJF coaching clinic at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai on Monday night, Sheringham added: “I said about two months ago – when it was a 10 point deficit at that point – that they would run them close, that the gap will diminish, but I just think Chelsea have too much.

“They’ve got it down to four points, could get it to two, but they are just looking too solid. They’ve had that sticky patch where they’ve lost by a few points. Now they are back on track. I see them riding it out really.”


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Callum Wilson praises Qatar treatment on ligament injury

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On his way to full recovery: Callum Wilson

Callum Wilson recently completed a three-week treatment plan at Aspetar, one of the leading orthopaedic and sports medicine hospitals, based in Doha, Qatar.

The 25-year-old striker’s season ended prematurely after he ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament in training last February, bringing him to Aspetar for treatment and rehabilitation.

During his stay, Wilson benefited from the expertise of Aspetar’s renowned specialists in sports medicine, sports science, orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation.

As part of the hospital’s efforts to assist athletes in achieving their maximum performance and full potential, Aspetar’s team took Wilson through a comprehensive treatment process to assess his injury and prepare a treatment plan to get him back on the field as soon as possible.

“There was really no better place for me to come for consultation and treatment than one of the world’s leading institutions in sports medicine and exercise science,” said Wilson of his Gulf surrounds. “It’s also great to get away to a new location where you can concentrate fully on recovery without the pressures associated with your home base.

“My family is also here with me in Doha on a brief vacation from London and they’ve immensely enjoyed their stay, taking advantage of the great entertainment options Doha has to offer. Knowing that my family is here while I’m undergoing rehabilitation has been very motivating.

“My experience with Aspetar has been excellent and very productive so far. I’ve been here for two and a half weeks and I enjoyed every minute of it. The coaches working with me are on a mission to help me achieve my maximum performance and full potential and I already feel the difference. I have numerous people to thank here for making me more knowledgeable about my body and more aware on how to protect it from injury out on the field. I’ll take this knowledge with me back to England to aid me throughout my career.”

Being monitored well: Wilson

Being monitored well: Wilson

It is Wilson’s second cruciate knee ligament injury and experts have ruled him out for at least six months, marking the end of his season.

Aspetar boasts one of the most advanced rehabilitation departments in the region, which is integral to Aspetar’s multidisciplinary approach to athlete management.

The hospital’s method focuses on assessment and treatment of injured athletes by implementing personalised injury treatment programmes, including the hamstring protocol.

Full of praise for the Doha facilities, Wilson felt he was in the best possible place to further his treatment.

The facilities at Aspetar are truly world-class and fantastic,” he said. “They are designed as a one-stop-shop for athletes to receive treatment, go through rehabilitation and training.

Showing gradual improvement in his recovery: Callum Wilson.

Showing gradual improvement in his recovery: Callum Wilson.

“Players have all they need here from gym facilities, pools to weights training, which complements the treatment process to ensure a quicker recovery.

“The state-of-the art equipment and technologies also allow for monitoring and assessment to course correct my treatment plan as we go along, which has made all the difference in making sure my body gets exactly what it needs to heal.”

Wilson was also asked his thoughts regarding Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup 2022, saying it is “properly equipped” to host football’s biggest tournament.

“I think Qatar is properly equipped to host the World Cup, as can be seen from the projects that are currently being developed, like the Khalifa International Stadium next door and the Rail system that’s being built underground,” he said. “I hope I can return to Qatar in a more active fashion to represent England in 2022.”

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