ONCE upon a time, the North London derby would set even the pulses of neutral observers racing.
But yesterday’s renewal was a really flat and drab affair.
And you cannot entirely blame the lack of a crowd for how poor the fare was dished up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs won it thanks to a stupid defensive mistake and a set-piece.
They are way behind the top of the league. You can’t compare their football with what Liverpool and Manchester City have produced.
That was about the sum of it and I don’t think either team deserved to win.
Many of those neutrals who stayed in to watch probably found themselves wishing they’d taken advantage of the easing of lockdown and got out of the house on a Sunday afternoon!
I don’t think we learned anything from this match that we didn’t already know.
There is a massive amount of work to be done with both sides.
Spurs and Arsenal are in a similar position.
The Gunners are a staggering 43 points adrift of Liverpool — Spurs 41 points behind.
And the big question is, of course, whether the finances are going to be there to boost their respective squads due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even if they are, how many top players are going to want to sign up when Champions League football is not part of the package.
Quite probably not even Europa League football, for that matter.
And there was a certain irony that the winning goal came from a player, Toby Alderweireld, who would have left Jose Mourinho’s team by now if it were not for Covid-19 extending the season.
It seems hard to believe it was just over a year ago the Belgian was one of the Spurs players playing in the Champions League final in that 2-0 defeat by Liverpool.