NOT long before last April’s North London Derby, two opposing players — who are long-time friends — discussed their rival clubs over dinner.
The Arsenal player insisted to his Tottenham pal that his team still had, man for man, better players than their foes.
AFP – Getty Mauricio Pochettino has taken Spurs forward and improved their players – whereas Arsenal have made no such recent improvements
But he admitted being envious of the vastly-superior team spirit at Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.
The Arsenal man said when he looked around at his hugely-talented team-mates, he wondered which of them might turn up for any given match.
When the sides met for the last time at the old White Hart Lane, there was nothing in Tottenham’s 2-0 victory to suggest the Arsenal man was being unrealistic about his colleagues.
And when Spurs finished the season above their sworn enemies for the first time in 22 years, few Arsenal people other than the delusional Arsene Wenger would have argued they hadn’t seen it coming a mile off.
PA:Empics Sport Harry Kane is the best example of a player developing under Mauricio Pochettino Rex Features Injury-hit Jack Wilshere was once the brightest new hope for England in midfield – now he seems to be struggling to just maintain a Premier League career
The question, before Saturday’s resumption of hostilities at the Emirates, is whether we are seeing a blip or a long-term power shift in North London.
And after Spurs got over their Wembley woes by stuffing Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Real Madrid, you’d assume they will be in the ascendancy for at least as long as Pochettino and Wenger remain.
UP FOR THE (WORLD) CUP Only NINE teams have qualified for every World Cup since France 1998… but can you name each and every one of them?
Because where individual players improve markedly under Pochettino, they now go backwards under Wenger.
Just contrast the development of the young England internationals at the two clubs.
Look at Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Harry Winks and Kyle Walker, compared to Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Calum Chambers (remember him?).
And while Pochettino presides over a ‘no excuses’ environment, Wenger employs an ‘any excuses’ policy.
More than a week after Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester City, the Frenchman was still howling at the moon, ranting at ref Michael Oliver.
While earning extra Qatari oil cash from a deal with beIN Sports, the £8million-per-year Gunners boss was still venting about Raheem Sterling having the temerity to adhere to the laws of gravity and win a penalty after being shoved in the back.
The Arsenal boss also claimed City were only ahead by 0.7 to 0.6 on the new-fangled ‘expected goals’ formula.
The greatest Premier League goals from Arsenal v Tottenham
This system is used by people on the internet who are convinced football’s actual scoring system isn’t complex enough.
Yet even this was completely made up (Wenger has a tendency for stating stats in a convincing manner, only for them to be disproved by a basic Google search once he’s left the room).
Because Opta actually had City ahead by 1.83 expected goals to 0.31 — suggesting a two-goal winning margin was about right.
Just as it had appeared to us dinosaurs watching with our eyes.
PA:Press Association Mauricio Pochettino needs Spurs to start beating their big rivals away from home
Next up, a defeat by Pochettino’s side would leave Arsenal seven points adrift of Spurs and marooned in mid-table.
Pochettino certainly knows the importance of this one — hence his uncharacteristic decision to issue Kane, Winks and Alli with sicknotes to avoid England duty.
Win this and Spurs can be crowned undisputed kings of North London for the first time since the mid-80s, when Keith Burkinshaw left the Lane and George Graham joined Arsenal.
Rex Features Harry Winks is the latest youth product to be eased into the Spurs first-team
And Pochettino has rightly said the final frontier for his squad is a question of increased self-belief.
Having played tentatively in defeat at Manchester United after the last international break, Spurs must prove they can win away at top-six rivals — after just one success in 16 attempts under their Argentine boss.
Pochettino has not lost to Arsenal in the league — two wins and four draws — although all three at the Emirates have been drawn.
And that away record against elite opposition must now change.
Rex Features Theo Walcott has seen his career stall in the last year as Arsenal too stutter
This is a critical time for Spurs, while a costly new stadium is being paid for — making it all the more remarkable that Pochettino has overhauled Wenger on approximately half of Arsenal’s wage bill.
The worry for Spurs is the possibility of their bitter rivals appointing a modern manager in touch with reality.
Because they still have the financial clout to out-do Spurs in signing blue-chip recruits — if only they had a boss capable of motivating them.
As even Arsenal players will admit over dinner.
Rex Features Arsene Wenger will hope finishing fifth last term is a blip – but Arsenal are sixth
TOTTENHAM used the international break to announce two new signings.
Along with their official catering partner Levy UK (wait a minute?) they finalised their ‘unprecedented collection of internationally-acclaimed chefs as part of premium offering at the new stadium’ by recruiting Bryn Williams and Dipna Anand.
As we go deeper into this Premier League world of glass tunnels and corporate self-pleasuring, it’s worth remembering the pie and peas you used to get at Edgeley Park, Stockport or the legendary soup still served at Kidderminister.
Both are infinitely better than anything you’ll receive for ten times the price in executive boxes.
And if you steer clear of those places you won’t have to make small-talk with the kind of people who say ‘footie’ and ‘the Prem’ either.
Ed Cup tied
AFTER Eddie Jones was caught by a lip reader exclaiming, ‘F***, how f***ing stupid are we?’ when his side conceded a needless penalty against Argentina, we can only hope the England rugby boss will not adopt the modern sporting affectation of talking behind your hand as if you are some sort of FBI agent.
Getty Images – Getty Eddie Jones apologised for his outburst – but let us hope he does not start cupping his hand over his mouth every time he speaks
This fad reached ridiculous proportions during a doubles match at tennis’ ATP World Tour finals at the O2 Arena.
As Sky co-commentator Leif Shiras rightly asked: “Is it the most entertaining spectacle to watch one guy with his hand cupped over his mouth talking to another guy with his hand cupped over his mouth between every single point?”
WAYNE ROONEY’S move into coaching may not be far off.
And had David Unsworth passed his audition to become Everton manager, I’m told the former England skipper would have taken a player-coach’s role.
PA:Press Association Wayne Rooney might make a move into coaching quicker than expected
Rooney is no longer kidding himself about his waning powers as a player but both he and Everton are keen that he eventually becomes a key part of the club’s coaching staff.
Although if Rooney advises players on their lifestyle choices, there may have to be an element of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.
The Italian sob
WITNESSING the ‘apocalypse’ of Italy failing to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 60 years, makes you realise that international fortunes can sometimes be cyclical — an accident of natural ability.
Because it’s not as if Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura was snubbing a host of better players.
Getty Images – Getty Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura is the latest high-profile example of the coach of a famous footballing nation paying the price for lean times
England are currently in a trough but at least they have still qualified for Russia.
In five to ten years’ time, they may be enjoying another ‘golden generation’.
Let’s just hope it’s not squandered, as Sven-Goran Eriksson squandered the last one.
England 0-0 Germany: Watch all the highlights from the international friendly at Wembley
IF you wondered how FA chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn and technical director Dan Ashworth all managed to keep their jobs after their car-crash handling of the Mark Sampson racism scandal, there is one simple answer.
When Clarke succeeded Greg Dyke last year, there was literally ONE other applicant for the post.
The reality is that the three stooges survived because virtually nobody else wants their jobs.
Dam, that’s strange
WELL done, FA, for ensuring there’ll be no pre-World Cup embarrassment from travelling fans by scheduling England’s final overseas friendly on a Friday night in Amsterdam.
What could possibly go wrong?
Uk Weather Warnings Issued By Met Office – What The Yellow, Amber And Red Alerts For Snow, Ice And Wind Mean
THE Met Office issues UK weather warnings when the country faces conditions which could put them in danger.
But what do these warnings mean and how can you stay safe in extreme weather conditions?
Getty Images – Getty Driving in the snow can be potentially dangerous
What does a severe weather warning mean?
The Met Office warns the public about severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to endanger lives or cause widespread disruption through the National Severe Weather Warning Service.
Warnings are issued for rain, snow, wind, fog and ice and are colour coded depending on both the likelihood of them happening and the impact of conditions.
In general, a severe weather warning means there is danger to life, prolonged disruption and strain on emergency services, transport routes and travel severely impacted and extensive damage to buildings and property.
While an amber weather warning means people should be prepared for the conditions.
What do the different colours mean for weather warnings?
Yellow weather warning
Yellow means “be aware”. Severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect you.
Plan ahead and think about possible travel delays or the disruption of your day to day activities.
Keep an eye on the latest forecast and be aware that the weather may change or worsen, leading to disruption of your plans in the next few days.
Amber weather warning
Amber means “be prepared”. There is an increased likelihood of bad or extreme weather, potentially disrupting plans and causing travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power and the potential risk to life and property.
Be prepared to change your plans and protect you, your family and community from the impacts of the severe weather.
Red weather warning
Red means “take action”. Extreme weather is expected.
Take action to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather.
Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely.
Avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.
What is a ‘do not travel’ warning?
A warning not to travel unless necessary can be issued to people living in areas worst affected by poor weather conditions.
On January 18, in the midst of Storm Fionn, drivers were urged not to travel in Scotland and northern England as snow storms hit.
It was believed to have been the first issued since the high winds of January 2013.
How do I drive safely in wind, snow and ice?
The best advice is – don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.
But if you genuinely do have to drive, make sure you prepare in case you get stranded in a snow drift.
Take food, water, blankets, a torch, a first aid kit, a fully charged phone, a shovel, jump leads and de-icer fluid.
Make sure you clear all your windows – it’s actually illegal to drive if you can’t see out of all of them.
Try to stick to major roads which should have been gritted and make sure you have a full tank of fuel, and check the oil and other engine fluids before you set off.
Keep your distance – it can take 10 times as long to come to a stop in icy conditions compared to normal.
At least 20 seconds’ distance from the car in front is recommended.
Remember to drive smoothly and don’t brake or accelerate harshly, otherwise your tyres will lose grip.
Keep the radio turned off or down low so you can hear the difference if you hit an icy patch.
If you do skid, don’t brake – take your foot off the accelerator and let the car slow down itself.
London News Pictures Drivers often can end up stranded if they travel in snow, so only go if your journey is absolutely necessary
How do I drive safely in fog?
Again, don’t drive unless you absolutely, absolutely have to.
But if you do, then go very slowly, and keep your headlights dipped – otherwise they will reflect off the fog and visibility will be even worse.
Don’t drive close to the car in front, even if it feels reassuring to stay near someone else.
Keep your fog light on but make sure to turn it off if visibility improves as otherwise it will dazzle drivers behind.
Watch out for freezing fog as this is often coupled with an icy road surface, making driving even more treacherous.
How do I drive safely in heavy rain?
Before you set off, check that your windscreen wipers are working and that your tyres have enough tread.
Drive slowly and make sure you keep plenty of distance from the car in front as your stopping speeds will be impaired by at least double.
Keep your car heating on to prevent windows from misting up, and watch out for big vehicles such as lorries which could spray you.
How Cold Is It In The Uk, What’s The Lowest Temperature Recorded In Britain And Where’s The Coldest Place On Earth?
WITH Britain yet to escape the freezing cold clutches of the winter weather, many of us are still waking up in the morning to icy temperatures.
Here is everything you need to know about today’s nippy weather and Britain’s historical lows.
Alamy Live News Britain has experienced some seriously nippy cold snaps this winter
How cold is it today?
Brits are facing chilly temperatures across the country.
While plenty of the UK, in particular London and the South East, enjoyed clear skies and sunshine – the thermometer remained low.
On February 22, the lowest recorded temperature in the UK was around 1C.
What is the coldest recorded temperature in the UK?
If you thought today was chilly then brace yourself, you haven’t seen anything yet.
UK temperatures have been known to plunge to lows of -27.2 degrees C, in Braemar, East Scotland, and Altnaharra in the North of Scotland.
These lows were recorded on 10 January 1982 and 30 December 1995, respectively.
The third lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK was clocked in Shawbury in the Midlands on 13 December 1981, when the mercury dipped to -25.2 degrees C.
Alamy Vostok holds the record for the coldest recorded temperature on Earth
What is the coldest place on Earth?
Okay, if -27.2 degrees sounds cold then brace yourself, you haven’t seen anything yet.
By a long way, the coldest place on Earth is Vostok, Antarctica, where the lowest ever temperature was recorded.
A Russian research station in Vostok once clocked lows of -89.2 degrees C and is so close to the poles that it gets mere minutes of sunshine a day in winter.
During the cold months, the average temperature in Vostok is around -68 degrees C, while the summer average is a tooth-chattering -32 degrees C.
Rex Features Oymyakon is believed to be the coldest inhabited place on the planet
Randy Couple Romp On A Moving Train In Front Of Shocked Commuters
A BRAZEN couple romped on a moving train in front of stunned passengers.
Shocked commuters filmed what appears to be a randy pair going at it in broad daylight.
CEN The couple giggle as the woman writhes around on the man’s lap
The alleged sexy shocker took place as the train roared through the city of Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia.
According to reports, the railroad sex session took place as they approached Chkalovskaya station.
In the video, a blonde woman in a red top and black trousers can be seen kneeling between a sitting man’s legs.
She appears to perform a sex act on the bloke, who places a bag on his lap to try and obscure the view.
At one point they stop to kiss before noticing they are being filmed.
CEN She can be seen kneeling between her male pal’s legs on the busy commuter train
CEN They stop their very public display for a passionate kiss
CEN The woman reaches for a train carriage door handle for support during their railroad romp Man is filmed performing a sex act on himself while on a train in Melbourne, Australia
Rather than hid in shame, they giggle and carry on – with the guy pushing to girl’s head down.
She then writhes around on his lamp as the dark-haired man smiles and laughs.
The girl even grabs onto the carriage door handle for support during their shocking display.
They stop going at it – briefly – as the train pulls into a station and more passengers get on and sit near to them.
CEN The couple don’t even pack in their antics when they notice other passengers are filming them going at it ?Brazen ?couple have sex in broad daylight at Hackney Downs train station
But almost immediately carry on with the poor man unaware he is about to et an eyeful.
Eventually the train terminates, derailing their fun.
Shocked internet users in Russia shamed the couple with one writing: ‘Why did no one come over and stop that?’ Police declined to comment.
They are not the first couple to get in the mood in, and around, train stations.
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