A FEW weeks ago, pundits were talking about Tottenham Hotspur being outsiders for the title. Now, there is a real possibility they could lose their grip on a top four place. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have entered a bad run of form at the worst possible time, and the other contenders for a Champions League spot are creeping up on them.
Will Spurs be able to dig in and hold their place at the final furlong?
When Harry Kane limped off the field with an ankle injury in Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley in January, there was speculation that the loss of the star striker would cause the North London side to slip up in the title race.
Instead, Pochettino’s charges rallied and won the following four Premier League games against Fulham, Watford, Newcastle United, and Leicester City. Kane returned earlier than expected and only missed those four encounters in the division, but his re-emergence in the side may have disrupted the players who were clicking well before.
Indeed, since the England captain came back, Spurs have lost twice in the league to Burnley and Chelsea, and only mustered a draw against Arsenal. This left an insurmountable gap to the top and their title hopes shattered.
Pochettino now finds himself in a precarious position. He needs to fight to maintain his side’s place in the division, but could also go for glory in the Champions League. Spurs are through to the last eight of the competition and can be backed at odds of 12/1 with Betway, one of the top casino and online bookmakers listed by Bonussource.com.
While Spurs are considered outsiders, the manager is under slight pressure to win silverware and may decide to throw everything at the European prize.
In all likelihood, Pochettino will focus on securing a top four finish. The former Southampton manager has previously stated that he regards this of utmost importance.
The race for the Champions League places has become extremely close-fought in recent weeks, however, and there is now a chance that United could usurp Spurs for third place.
This would leave the North London side battling with Arsenal and Chelsea for fourth spot. The Lilywhites have some tough fixtures coming up and must face Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad in the next two months.
Chelsea have crucial games against Liverpool at Anfield and United at Old Trafford before the season ends, while Arsenal appear to have the easiest-looking run-in of the top four challengers. After their United tie at the Emirates, the Gunners avoid all the other top six teams.
There is a chance, though, that Chelsea and Arsenal may both look towards securing the Europa League title as their ticket to the Champions League next term.
There are so many different factors in play which make this ending to the season so hard to predict. Spurs seemed to have a top four place sewn up a couple of months ago, but could end up slipping badly if they are not careful. It will be an incredibly exciting finale, that’s for sure.