Paul Robinson: ‘Spurs fans would rather finish 17th than see Arsenal win the title’

 | 26th April | 

6 mins read

Robbo big interview

Ahead of the North London derby on Sunday, Betfred have spoken to ex-Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paul Robinson  ahead of the game and he’s claimed that his former club’s fans would prefer their team finish 17th in the league, as well as not finish fourth, than see Arsenal win the Premier League title this season.

Robinson also spoke to us regarding his prediction for the game, Tottenham’s top four hopes, why he believes Guglielmo Vicario is a better goalkeeper than David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale, his Tottenham and Arsenal combined eleven and both club’s shared interest in Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak.

What do you rate Tottenham’s chances of finishing in the top four this season when you consider their run-in?

“They’ve got a really tough run-in if you look at their fixtures. They’ve got Arsenal on Sunday and they’ve still got to go to Liverpool and play Manchester City at home. They’re going to have a big say in the title race and they’re going to have a big say in their own destiny. They’ve got six points to catch up on Aston Villa, which is a big ask, but never say never. I think with the run-in that both teams have got, I think it’s going to be a big ask for Tottenham to finish in the top four this season. 

“As fifth place is no longer good enough to qualify for the Champions League, that’s a big blow for them. However, at the start of the season, you would have taken any European place from Tottenham’s point of view but on the flipside of that, if you were going to be told that Aston Villa would finish above you, then you probably wouldn’t have taken that.

“They can absolutely still do it, but it’s a big ask.”

Do you believe the majority of Tottenham fans would prefer to see their side finish outside the top four than see Arsenal win the Premier League this season?

“Absolutely, yes. No questions asked. Most Tottenham fans, myself included, would take any other sort of European finish over seeing Arsenal win the Premier League. They’d rather finish 17th than see Arsenal win the Premier League and that’s generally the feeling, so as long as they don’t win the league, and thankfully they can’t do it at our place, that’s the main thing and there’s even the chance to stop them on Sunday.”

We recently interviewed Andy Cole and he claimed that Aaron Ramsdale has been “mugged off” by his manager Mikel Arteta. Do you agree with this in a sense?

“Mikel Arteta hasn’t done what he said he was going to do. When David Raya came in, he said he had two number ones and that they’d be rotated and that hasn’t happened. Aaron Ramsdale is a clear number two and I think he was unfortunate to lose his place because he’s a top class goalkeeper and I think he will move on this summer and prove that again.”

Do you believe David Raya is a better goalkeeper than Aaron Ramsdale?

“I think they’re both better at different things. I think Aaron Ramsdale was so unlucky to lose his place because he was brilliant at the backend of last season and at the start of this season, he did nothing to warrant being dropped. 

“Mikel Arteta wants to play out from the back and the stats back up the impact David Raya has had. He’s got the most clean sheets, so there’s an argument to say that Mikel Arteta has got it right.

“Technically, both goalkeepers have got their flaws. I think Aaron is technically the better goalkeeper, but David Raya’s probably better with his feet. It’s hard to choose which goalkeeper you’d have in your starting eleven, but Mikel has chosen David Raya because of his ability with his feet.”

Do you believe that Tottenham’s Guglielmo Vicario is better than the pair of them?

“Vicario had a brilliant start to the season and after Manchester City targeted his supposed weakness from crosses in their FA Cup clash, and Everton did the same a week later, but from then, he’s worked on his game and at one point he was probably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season.

“Out of Vicario, Raya and Ramsdale, I’d take Vicario because sometimes we forget what a goalkeeper’s there to do and that’s keep the ball out of their net and when it comes to dominating their box and shotstopping, Vicario’s the better out of the three.”

Can you please tell us your Arsenal and Tottenham combined XI?

“Vicario get’s the nod in goal. I’d play a back three of Micky van de Ven, William Saliba and Gabriel. Ben White at right wing-back and Destiny Udogie at left-wing back. A midfield three of Martin Ødegaard, Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka, which shouldn’t surprise anyone as they’ve been brilliant all season, and just in front of them I’d have James Maddison and I’d have Son Heung-min as the striker. I had to change the formation around to accommodate all those players, but it’s only five from Tottenham and six from Arsenal.”

With the summer transfer window approaching, both Arsenal and Tottenham are linked with a move for Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak, who could be potentially sold by his club to help them comply with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules. Can you make a case for why Isak should join Spurs over the Gunners?

“He’d be a great signing for both clubs. I believe both clubs need an out-and-out number nine, but I believe that Tottenham should go for Ivan Toney over Alexander Isak. Don’t go for a player that can play as a wide player as well as a number nine, go for an out-and-out number nine like Ivan Toney and make a statement. 

“Isak’s got the choice of both clubs, but I believe Champions League football will play a part in his decision if Newcastle United did have to let him go. It would be great for Tottenham if they got either of Isak or Toney because both would be statement signings for both themselves and Arsenal.”

And finally, what’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?

“Goals, lots of goals. Arsenal have got a great defensive record, but Spurs are really good going forward. I think it’s going to be a really entertaining game and the fact that Tottenham have got the chance to stop Arsenal winning the title is a huge incentive. Spurs are unpredictable at the moment and they’ve been so up and down of late, so I believe it will be an entertaining draw.”

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