The ultimate dilemma for United and Spurs fans: what if victory gives your rivals the title?

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‘I just want this season to be over’

So. It came down to this. As another season comes to a disappointed end, Spurs have one final act to play as potential kingmakers as they struggle to hold on to a place in the Europa League. Excuse me while I try to contain my excitement.

The math is simple. If Spurs beat Manchester City on Tuesday and Arsenal win both of their last two games, the Premier League title will go to North London. If Spurs lose and City win their last two games, Pep Guardiola will lift the trophy. Again.

For some fans, this is a no-brainer. Their hatred for Arsenal is so intense that they will do everything they can to deprive our closest rival of glory. On some fan group websites you can find some supporters urging Ange Postecoglou to send a second-string team against City. But how anyone could tell the difference from the first team at this point is a moot point.

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For me, however, it is all a bit more complicated. I’m really conflicted. In my ideal world, neither Arsenal nor City would be at the top. Or Liverpool for that matter. There is a right on all three clubs that sticks in the throat.

Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t suddenly become weak towards Arsenal. Well, maybe a little. After more than sixty years of supporting Spurs, my hatred of our north London rivals is no longer deep-rooted. It’s more cartoonish. Tinted with comedy. Two-dimensional. Something I adopt because I always have. Obviously I never want them to win – every time we lose to them I’m confused for a few days – but you know what? It all happens. If you haven’t learned that as a Spurs fan, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.

So here’s the problem. We’ve gotten a bit ahead of ourselves. Because Spurs had the chance to dent Arsenal’s title hopes a fortnight ago. Only we fell behind 3-0 after 30 minutes, because our defense declined in the first half. It could have been 5-0 at halftime. So let’s not make it all about the City game. And I’m not so confused – this will be a surprise to my therapist – that I would actively go to Tottenham hoping to see us lose next Tuesday.

In fact, City are also a difficult team to like these days. They and their supporters have changed from the perennial underdogs of fifteen years ago. They are inflated by the success they bought with petrodollars. They have lost their charm. Just become another football mega-company. They now think they deserve what they have. Sad, really. All that can be said if City win another title is that it will mean less to their supporters. Another notch in the bedpost. No real emotional involvement.

Mind you, it’s a bit far-fetched to think Spurs can have any say in the title race. Other than as passive observers. The way we’re playing now, we’d struggle to beat Plymouth Argyle. The team really seems out of ideas. I would say tired, but we have had very little football to get tired of this season. City would have to overdose on fentanyl to lose to us. The idea that Spurs will remember how to play football on Tuesday is fanciful.

But what will be, will be. I go into the game with little hope and little expectation. Whatever the outcome, there will be at least some benefit. The truth is, I don’t really care who wins the title. I just want this season to be over. In a week I’ll forget it all. Overall the best thing you can do as a Spurs supporter. JC

‘A football bush tucker test with only maggots and worms on the menu’

So Manchester United play a crucial role in the fate of the Premier League title? Kind of. Certainly not in the way any of us wanted. If they win against Arsenal, the title will most likely go to Manchester City. Lose, and giving it to the Londoners might help.

Who would I most like to win the title? It’s a football-like bush tucker test with only maggots and worms on the menu. An unpleasant choice. But in reality there is no choice at all.

The case against City is simple enough. There are at least 116 reasons why City should not be crowned champions again. One hundred and fifteen of these were helpfully provided by the Premier League, which detailed them in allegations of (alleged) cheating.

The presumption of innocence may well be the way things work at the Old Bailey. The reverse is true at Old Trafford. Points deductions, relegation, stripped of titles – all this should happen before the outcome of the legal process.

And the 116th reason? Tippy-tappy, tiki-taka football. I’m so over it. Even City fans seem bored to death by “Perfect Pep”, which must be why the Etihad never seems full.

So then it’s Arsenal. But that is not it. This is where it gets more complicated.

Arsenal and Liverpool are two reasons why I ultimately supported Manchester United. My dad supported the former, my friends supported the latter, and in the mid-1970s Tommy “the Doc” Docherty seemed pretty cool. At least compared to Bob Paisley.

Stuart Pearson was my hero in the 1977 cup final, Alan Sunderland broke my heart two years later. Those two clubs left scars that only fully healed in the Alex Ferguson era.

Arsenal caused early, life-shaping pain. City tormented me in middle age.

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I’ve had a lot of time to think about this in recent months. Consider, for example, the drive back to London from Manchester after a 1-3 defeat against Brighton. Four and a half hours of unwelcome contemplation. The 0-3 against City was much the same. This also applies to the 0-3 against Bournemouth. The 1-2 against Fulham.

There has been a lot of time to think about things this season. I saw a lot of theater, but for the price of my season ticket I got very few dreams.

That brings me to Sunday’s game. I fear North Londoners will go home happy. Not by any conspiratorial intent. But because we’ve been heartbreakingly disastrous this season.

I suggested to my daughter Jess that she bring her boots on Sunday. With all our injuries, a handy left back with a good engine could make the bench.

From the first whistle, until the last, there will be only one thought and all other permutations will be cast aside. Because only one thing Real Affairs. And it’s not what happens at the top of the table. Come on United! NH

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