Very different but so far very similar. The north London derby never requires hype, but the 205th meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur feels like it has a bit of a ride as chalk and cheese find themselves fighting hard for the same.
As the pandemic turns into a pandemic and the industry seeks to recover the millions lost, the fruits of the Champions League are more important than ever.
That the neighbors find themselves in a four-way battle for last place alongside Manchester United and West Ham – unless Liverpool or Chelsea suffer major improbable collapses – adds another indelible layer of importance to tomorrow’s work, even if team news dominates the pre-match interest.
While the outcome in isolation will not be decisive, it could also cause a domino effect, with at least 15 days left in the transfer window and pressure mounting on both to strengthen their teams.
A win for Antonio Conte’s side would put them two games ahead of their rivals in hand, however there is little consensus that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are advancing from the mediocre and Tottenham continue to drop rapidly from their highs.
Five years have passed since Arsenal last emerged at the top, and there is a compelling argument that they now need the Champions League more than Tottenham, who reached the final three years ago. In a world where financial strength seems just as important to success on the ground, keeping up with the true elite is essential.
Despite the justified excitement around the emergence of several young players and fans backed by renewed optimism, the balance sheet indicates that Arsenal are likely to be lost adrift.
However, five years ago one could not argue against Arsenal being the biggest club. Their revenue in 2016, the last time the club finished in the top four, was 67.5% more than Tottenham’s (£391m compared to £233m).
The sponsors were drawn to red like a bull, and they made more money than any club except Manchester United in match day revenue and had more broadcast income due to success on the pitch.
By 2019, Spurs generated 17% more revenue than Arsenal’s (£435m compared to £371m) and, according to Deloitte, were comfortably in the top ten richest clubs while Arsenal slipped from sixth to eleventh. Since 2017.
“Arsenal has always been the club with the money, like the old Bank of England,” says John Purcell of Visible Financial Analysts. “They always had that rating while Tottenham were seen as a nice club, but it was just Tottenham.
“A lot of the investment has gone into the new stadium and Arsenal have gone through something similar before and that has been the dominant factor in how they behave with a CFO since then.”
As Levy said in mid-2020, the pandemic came at the worst possible time for the club as they sought to reap the rewards of their £1bn new assets, which had left £706m of outstanding debt according to their latest calculations.
“Spurs have really struggled,” says Purcell. “Pre-Covid Spurs actually generated an economic profit of £27.5m on revenue of £460m following his move to the stadium.
“By 2021, to give you a measure of the turnover, Tottenham will have £361m, a significant drop due to a lack of Champions League and match-match revenue, with an economic loss of £142m. Within two years, there has been a negative turnover of more than 60m. £. That’s going to hurt.”
When it comes to the balance sheet in 2022 with stadiums now reopening, the Lilywhites should be in a stronger position as they capitalize on their decade-old NFL deal, as well as host music and boxing events.
“It takes time to get back on track, but Tottenham have an advantage over most clubs in the Premier League because of the stadium. Their revenue payback period is likely to be shorter than most other clubs,” says Purcell.
This does not mean that Tottenham will be in a strong position now that the peak of the epidemic has passed, especially when the team is in dire need of surgery and there is still doubt that the investment required will be penalized for Levy and owner Joe Lewis.
Levy’s assertion that Spurs have lost their DNA during the pandemic is good talk, but a look at his transfer history points to a track record of economics unmatched by other big teams.
They find themselves in a situation similar to Arsenal’s 12 months ago, acknowledging the need to invest in new blood but before they can act having to shed important, high-paid members.
Conte has been outspoken about the need for additional options and supporters’ impression of Levy has been at an all-time low this season.
Add the Champions League carrot and it’s easy to say the next two weeks will see a departure from the club’s long-term economy, but as Purcell says: “Have you ever known Daniel Levy to take a risk? Spurs will know you can do exceptionally well from the Champions League race, So it’s up to what Levy considers the risks of the business.”
Arsenal are much further along the way with summer spending of £149m, even if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is earning £350,000 a week while Mikel Arteta wasn’t in his plans, and the death of serious options in midfield suggests the project Far from achieving it. the last stages.
They have learned the hard and painful way, most notably through Mesut Ozil’s saga, with the industry’s collective belt tightening in a pandemic that complicates clubs’ ability to break away from unwanted players.
“Look at the contracts that Ozil and Aubameyang signed, and you end up with players who are tied up with high wages and they can’t get rid of them anymore,” says Tom Basson, associate professor of sports management at Coventry University.
“I suspect that clubs in the current climate are now reluctant to do that because you don’t want to end up with a player who is 31 or 32, not in the first team but the highest paid player on the team.”
Tottenham, whose wage structure has been less outrageous, are finding it difficult to transfer many players for similar reasons and the restrictions facing many clubs across Europe have restricted options.
It has been exacerbated by the epidemic. We’ve seen in the last 18 months that English clubs have managed it well at scale, but clubs abroad haven’t, and that’s cutting off the option to sell,” Basson adds. Selling to English clubs. Everyone tightens their belts except for clubs backed by owners who can put cash in easily.”
This time last year, there were compelling arguments that the era of the “big six” was over as Arsenal finished eighth in a row. Since then they have made clear strides, the brakes have been applied to Leicester City’s lead and that is the clear split between third and fourth at the moment, there is temptation to say it really is a three-way.
“The Big Six is a revenue ranking and the gap between sixth and seventh has been growing and increasing since 2009 but it narrowed a little bit last year,” Purcell says. “Arsenal is in sixth place, Everton is in seventh and the difference is 344 million pounds to 185 million pounds.”
The future remains uncertain and Newcastle United’s fortune means there could be another mid-term contender, but tomorrow’s renewal of a derby that rarely fails to produce entertainment has the potential to shape much more than just the mood of the fans that comes Sunday night.