Did you feel that? A tremor. A few not­ches on the Richter scale: not quite a full-blown ear­th­quake, but unless car­ni­vo­rous worms have tun­nelled their way into the Bri­tish bed­rock, evi­dence of signi­fi­cant seismic activity rumb­ling beneath the Pre­mier League’s sur­face. This wee­kend, football’s tec­tonic plates shifted an inch or two into strange new posi­tions that might shape the lay of the land for many years to come. 

It was the imma­cu­late turf beneath Arsenal and Spurs’ feet on Saturday that shud­dered most. When Arsenal should have com­for­tably seen out the North London derby at 2 – 0 up, should in fact have gone on to slaughter their local rivals, they slumped. The oppor­tu­nity to go top of the table, and pos­sibly on to actually win­ning some­thing, see­mingly left them indif­fe­rent. Their defence buckled all too easily to allow ripostes from a Spurs side shar­pened up at half-time by Harry Red­knapp and sent out to attack: »I got the hump with Gareth Bale«, said the manager of the interval. »The right-back [Bacary Sagna] made a dia­bo­lical tackle on him and then Gareth went for a header, bumped him and walked over and shook hands with him. I said, What are we? We’re not the nice guys. Let’s go out there and com­pete with them in the second half. 

Will the earth swallow him, please?

That advice inspired Bale to grab the first goal of the fight back, before the once more excel­lent Rafael Van Der Vaart and Younes Kaboul com­pleted the unli­kely 3 – 2 tur­naround. The retur­ning Jer­main Defoe also deserves credit for bril­li­antly attacking the space bet­ween gung-ho Arsenal left-back Gael Clichy and centre-half Lau­rent Koscielny. The latter espe­ci­ally will have wished that the earth could have swal­lowed him up, so wret­ched was his second-half performance. 

Spurs though could reflect on rid­ding them­selves of a signi­fi­cant hoodoo: this was their first win on enemy ter­ritory for 17 years, and more import­antly it was the club’s first win on the road against any of Arsenal, Man­chester United or Liver­pool in 68 attempts. Though they remain three points off fourth place and the last Cham­pions League spot, both off and on the pitch, they are star­ting to posi­tion them­selves to profit from the shif­ting sands the tra­di­tional elite have built their suc­cess on. 

With Chelsea cont­ri­ving to lose 1 – 0 at Bir­mingham to record their third loss in four games, and their first back-to-back league defeats since 2006, there was a tan­gible sense this wee­kend that the Pre­mier League’s much vaunted (or rather much mar­keted) qua­lity is in serious decline – Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003 – 2004 season seems a distant memory, Sir Alex Ferguson’s ram­pant United side that reached suc­ces­sive Cham­pions League finals in 2008 and 2009 already seems a thing of the past, and even the grin­ding bril­li­ance of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea seems like a pre­cious heir­loom, mis­laid in the league’s attic. No team seems capable of sustai­ning a run that will lead them inexor­ably to the title and indis­pu­tably to foot­bal­ling glory. 

The advent of UEFA’s finan­cial fair play rules in 2012 seems to be for­cing clubs to grapple with new rea­li­ties. Some are doing it better than others: Man­chester United have done not­hing but create a rod for their own back by boos­ting Wayne Rooney’s wages to a rumoured £250,000 per week, whilst in the new year, a top ticket at Arsenal will break the £100 price bar­rier for the first time. Chelsea mean­while have bela­tedly rea­lised that the days of fixing all and any pro­blems in the transfer market are over: Ray Wil­kins’ ruth­less dis­missal points to a club trying to extract every ounce of qua­lity from the resources already at its dis­posal. Man­chester City for their part, are engaged in a race to join the Cham­pions League elite before restric­tions bite hard. Sheikh Man­sour has so far spent £573 mil­lion sal­vaged from down the back of the sofa at City, but chief exe­cu­tive Gary Cook has gone on the record as saying they will have to exer­cise restraint in future transfer win­dows or risk mis­sing out on an even­tual UEFA club licence from 2012. 

Tot­tenham is young, hungry and exciting

From then until 2015, clubs will not be allowed to spend more than they earn, apart from on major infra­st­ruc­ture, and will have to run at an aggre­gate loss of no more than £38 mil­lion over that period. While that may leave the Pre­mier League’s nou­veau riches on shaky ground, it plays nicely into the hands of Tot­tenham Hot­spur, who have a sound finan­cial record (the most recent figure that I could find pointed to a wages to tur­nover ratio at a healthy 47% for example, with the fifth hig­hest tur­nover in the Pre­mier League). They also have plan­ning per­mis­sion for the rede­ve­lop­ment of White Hart Lane or a move to the Olympic Sta­dium on the cards. And their squad (a few duff stri­kers not included) is young, hungry and exci­ting. Now that they have demons­trated not only their abi­lity to mix it with Europe’s finest but the bul­lies in their own back yard, they might just be stan­ding on the brink of a bright future in the strange new world of the Pre­mier League 2.0, ready to prove that greater com­pe­ti­tiveness, rather than elite qua­lity can be the product’s new sel­ling point. A signi­fi­cant chal­lenge remains for them this season to capi­ta­lise on the incon­sis­tency and par­si­mony of the teams above them while main­tai­ning a run in Europe. But if they can, the afters­hocks could reso­nate for sea­sons to come.

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Die Titus-Fuss­bal­ling-Eng-zyklo­pädie
An dieser Stelle erklärt Titus Chalk die eng­li­sche Fuß­ball-Kultur auf Deutsch

Folge 13: Chas and Dave

Denn ich gerade Hansi Hin­ter­seer ent­deckt habe, den iko­ni­schen ger­ma­ni­schen Trou­ba­dour, habe ich zwei Musi­kanten mit ähn­liche Talent mit euch teilen gewollt. Chas und Dave sind zwei Cock­neys (Ost­lon­doner) sowie die berühm­teste Anhänger von Tot­tenham Hot­spur. Sie haben am ende der 70er Jahre und am Anfang der 80er Jahre, meh­rere Hits gehabt in ihre ein­zig­ar­tige Rockney’ Stil und sogar vier Liede über Tot­ten­hams FA Cup Sai­sonen geschrieben. Stellt ihr vor – das ist wahr­schein­lich die Musik, die Harry Red­knapp jeder Morgen im Auto hört. Komi­scher­weise, ist ihre Wiki­pedia Seite nur nach Schwe­disch über­setzt. Ich habe keine Erklä­rung für ihr Erfolg in Skan­da­na­vien. Ehr­lich gesagt, habe ich auch keine für ihr Erfolg in Eng­land. Enjoy!