Tottenham vs Arsenal compared to Hamilton vs Verstappen amid ‘manipulation’ accusation

Tottenham v West Ham: Pictures

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Tottenham will reportedly host bitter rivals Arsenal in the Premier League during the penultimate week of the season in a rescheduled clash after the original game was postponed in January. And former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara believes the fixture has fallen foul to “manipulation,” while comparing it to Lewis Hamilton’s showdown with Max Verstappen at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“It’s like a Formula 1 moment,” O’Hara told talkSPORT. “You think about last season, the Hamilton and Verstappen moment, when they manipulated the race to make it brilliant for the public to watch.

“But actually, it was unfair on Hamilton. Is that what we’re going to start seeing [in football] now? Manipulating the fixtures because they go, ‘that will be brilliant for the viewing public, we’ll get increased viewing figures – who cares what the clubs think’

“As a Spurs fan, I’m actually quite happy about it, because it gives us a chance to pile some pressure on Arsenal, go into the last week of the season and have a huge fixture. It’ll probably be midweek, under the lights at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But I understand the Premier League are manipulating this fixture for the drama – is that right?”

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The 2021 F1 season ended in controversy after Verstappen was given permission to pull level with Hamilton for a one-lap shootout after the race had been delayed by a Safety Car following Nicholas Latifi’s late crash. Before the crash, Hamilton had been well clear and looked certain to land a record eighth F1 title. But Verstappen instead snatched his first ever title. 

Arsenal are currently fourth in the Premier League table, one place above their north London rivals. The Gunners are three points clear of Spurs and also have a game in hand over the Lilywhites. So they could have even secured a top-four finish by the time they face Spurs.

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Arsenal pulled out of the original contest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after being struck by COVID-19 and a spate of injuries. But the game now looks likely to go ahead on the week commencing May 9, which could add huge drama to the end of the Premier League season.

Mikel Arteta’s men are currently favourites to land fourth place, but face tough clashes with rivals Manchester United and West Ham as well as Tottenham. Antonio Conte’s men, meanwhile, face a difficult trip to Anfield to face Liverpool during the final month of the season. So the race for fourth place could go down to the wire.

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