The Cockerel rules but for how long?

MAYBE it was just a mid-life crisis after all. You know, the old boy suddenly realises his age and two flashy new sports cars appear in the driveway. But they were still left standing by the neighbours.

The two new motors had left Everton for dead and we thought they might at least give Spurs a run. But if there's such a thing as a comprehensive one-nil thrashing, Wembley on Saturday was it.

No matter the Lilywhites lived dangerously at the end: had Alexandre Lacazette equalised, it would have been larceny - and still a thrashing. Arsenal were outplayed, outfought and out-just about everything.

They were badly beaten in every department: the roof is still leaking and the engine still spluttering. Only Petr Cech kept their heads above water. Spurs not only have more roadworthy cars, they are building a bigger house on more solid foundations.

For Arsene Wenger and those who thought the Gunners had been rejuvenated in the transfer window, it was more than "a reality check".

Age is catching up with him whereas Mauricio Pochettino is still in the prime of his managerial life.

Wenger remains deluded enough to claim his team "should have won in the first half". He really does need to change those contact lenses for this had the hallmarks of not just a defeat but a seminal moment.

Around the turn of the millennium, Wenger talked about a change in the balance of power. His Arsenal were getting the better of Fergie's United and would become No.1 in England. Now they are no longer No.1 in north London.

Their new wheels never got out of first gear. In fact, Henrikh Mkhitaryan reverted to Man United mode – Miss-itaryan or Over-hitaryan. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went back to Borussia Dortmund mode – not turning up at all.

Even though known to be unreliable, it was still a shock to find them splutter so badly. As did a reborn Mesut Ozil. The pre-match talk was of Wenger neglecting defence and midfield or perhaps even not being in control of spending any more: either way, post-match talk was about the passing of the baton.

For Spurs, ruling the roost in north London has been a long time in coming. Two seasons ago, they looked good yet managed to come third in a two-horse race.

Last season, for the first time in Wenger's reign, they finished above their hated rivals. Now, they are setting their sights on greater conquests.

Seven points above them in the League, this week they take on Juventus in the Big Boys' tournament while Arsenal meet Ostersunds in the cup for also-rans. They are a young, vibrant team, and the team is not the only thing nearing completion.

Their stunning new stadium should be ready for next season.

It will be the second biggest in the country – bigger than Arsenal's – and allow them to compete on the same level. All this and it is being achieved on a fraction of Arsenal's spending power.

In eight transfer windows, Pochettino has a net spend of £40m to Wenger's £163m. In match revenues for last season, Spurs took in £45m, Arsenal £100m. Spurs' top earner is Harry Kane on £100k a week, Arsenal's is Ozil on more than three times as much.

If that is not enough to open the jaundiced eyes of the economics graduate from Strasbourg University, the way they set up surely is: solid at the back, dynamic in midfield.

The Cockerel has made heavy weather of taking the top place but there can be no doubt any longer who is crowing now. That said, theirs is not a cloudless sky: Real Madrid loom like a spectre at the feast.

Desperate to rebuild, the Spanish kings are likely to come after not just Kane but Pochettino and maybe Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld too.

Such an assault would rob the club of its heart, soul and body parts. And Spurs may be vulnerable as the players would be able to triple their wages, while Pochettino, instead of begging for pocket money from Daniel Levy, would wield the wealth of the most storied club in the world.

The possibility is enough to keep those of a Spurs persuasion awake at night and the chances are they may lose a player or two. Alderweireld looks the most likely.

The Belgian defender is 29 the same day as his manager is 46, and has been having contract talks for almost a year. Scraping by on a miserly £50k a week, he may wish to earn the big bucks while still at his peak.

But for the manager at least, the threat is not imminent. Pochettino has yet to win anything and he is unlikely to leave a side he has built just as they appear to be on the cusp of glory.

Back in December, he said: "When we finish the new stadium and settle there, it would be the time to say: 'Now, we will win the title." Indeed. Better to build one dynasty and then he'd always have that in his locker. For him, Real Madrid can wait.

For Kane, 24, a shot at Spanish gold can also come later in his career after he has built something with Spurs. He is, after all, one of their own. But he will no doubt be asking for a pay rise in the meantime.

You wish Spurs well and there can be no more ifs – they have definitely arrived in a new era of local dominance. The question facing Levy and Pochettino is how to make it last.

*Bob's latest book, Living the Dream, is available at Borders, MPH, Popular, Gerakbudaya and Kinokuniya book stores.

GOOD
Sergio Aguero
Already a City legend, the Argentine further enhanced his status with an awesome second–half foursome against Leicester. Quad? Aguero's own personal one keeps the league leaders on course. At the very least, it may have convinced Pep of his worth.

BAD
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
When he's good, he's very good; when he's bad, he doesn't even look like a footballer. A hattrick of over hit passes/crosses/whatever they were summed up his display against Spurs - no pace, no vision, no interest. And a week after being brilliant!

UGLY
Jese
Once a star in the making at Real Madrid, Jese is now a pantomime villain at Stoke. His chest-beating tantrum at not getting to take the last-minute penalty he won against Brighton did not help the eventual taker, Charlie Adam, whose shot was saved. If Stoke go down, Jese will take his share of the blame.

STUPID
Riyad Mahrez
We can understand Mahrez's disappointment at Leicester not letting him leave to a bigger club, but his incredible five-day sulk did him no favours. He's lucky his teammates seem to have forgiven him but Foxes' home fans may not be so easily won over.