First of all, it was necessary for Tottenham to lose on Sunday…so this article could be more interesting to write. A 2-1 defeat to actual title contenders Liverpool confirmed that Tottenham’s fight is actually for the Top 5 (not even Top 4…their horizons are really broad). Harry Kane & co realized straight away, after the final whistle, that they could be 6th by next weekend. Such a difference a few months can make.
Here’s the situation: they currently sit in 4th place after Arsenal leapfrogged them by beating Newcastle last night, they are level with Chelsea having garnered 61 points so far this season but lead Man United by just a single point. With about 7 games left to play this season, Spurs fans should prepare for a nervy finish.
But that adds to the excitement of it all. Been a while we witnessed a real scrap for the Top 4 positions. In the English Premier League, you have 4 teams vying for just 2 spots and they are very stellar teams. Apart from Tottenham, the other 3 teams have won the league title at least twice.
For Tottenham, the race to maintain their spot in the Top 4 for the 3rd year running is a battle that they seem to be losing. In recent seasons, it was easier to earn a spot in the Top 4 because they would fall out of the title race very late in the season. This year, however, they are out much earlier and, to add to the hurt, are being chased by teams that equally desperate to get some European soccer in them next season.
Unai Emery knows that the success of his debut campaign will hinge on his ability to get Arsenal back into the Champions League next season. He has 2 ways of doing that: The Europa League and finishing in the Top 4. At the moment, they are 3rd in the league; which is remarkable given that they were 10 points behind Tottenham as at February. A run of 10 successive home wins suggests there is hope but being Arsenal, anything is possible.
You must feel for Sarri by now. One-nil down against Cardiff must have felt like hell for him. The fans used the score-line as ammunition all game long before the referee and Loftus-Cheek turned the game around. The relief on his face at full-time said it all. The Italian’s stubborn commitment to his kind of football has seen him earn more critics than supporters. Surprisingly though, Chelsea have had a good run of games. Apart from the losses to Bournemouth and Everton, their other losses have come against top teams like themselves (Arsenal, Man United & Tottenham). I think the squad is mentally strong enough for the fight.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may be riding on a wave after Man United upgraded his managerial status to ‘Permanent’ but that doesn’t mean he won’t be under any pressure to deliver Champions League football by the end of the season. The honeymoon period is over and the league season has reached its business end. The game against Man City will not just play a part in City’s title bid but also United’s Top 4 ambitions. Lose that and his 3-year contract might not be so secure.
It’s a straight race between Liverpool and Man City for the title; that part is easy enough. Even the relegations spots are almost confirmed; with Fulham set to join Huddersfield after tonight, or this weekend…or later (but soon though). That leaves all eyes on who gets the 2 precious spots after the Top 2. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.