Spurs face Liverpool tonight in what has the potential to be a thrilling encounter at White Hart Lane. Spurs are coming off the back of a very impressive performance when beating West Ham on Sunday and should be full of confidence coming into this encounter. Liverpool should also come into the match in positive mood as they are now on a run of eight games unbeaten following a very slow start to the season.
Andre Villas Boas has been under a tremendous amount of pressure since his arrival at Tottenham and three league defeats on the trot certainly didn’t do anything to alleviate that. The results against Arsenal and Man City were unfortunate but excusable, it was the defeat at the hands of Wigan on home soil that really hurt the home fans. Spurs haven’t quite hit the heights at the Lane thus far during this campaign but did look to be approaching somewhere near their best with Sunday’s victory over the Hammers.
Brendan Rodgers is in a similar position to Villas Boas in that they are both at clubs with huge expectations and are both going to struggle to deliver the Champions League football that their fans crave so desperately. Things did look pretty dire for Liverpool at the beginning of the season with no wins in their first five league games but things have steadily improved under the former Swansea coach. They are undefeated since losing to Manchester United at the back end of September and it’s going to take a good Tottenham performance for that to change.
Tottenham are still without Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul due to their long term injuries, while Emmanuel Adebayor continues his suspension. The good news for the home side is that Sandro has been passed as fit to play after being stretchered off against West Ham. He’s a crucial part of the Spurs midfield and could be the difference maker at White Hart Lane this evening. Liverpool have no serious injury concerns.
This is an important game for Andre Villas-Boas’ men. They face trips to Fulham and Everton in their next two games so three points here are much needed. If Spurs can reproduce the form they showed in their most recent win, I think it should go the way of the home side, and a 1-0 score line would not surprise me. Check out CarbonSports Sportsbook before betting on tonight’s big match.
After a campaign of both joy and despair, it has come to this. Spurs are within touching distance of an automatic Champions League spot and although I would have been devastated by the prospect had you told me this is where would would end up back in January, it is only thanks to a resurgence in the last few games that we have any chance of playing against Europe’s elite next season. Following a run which saw Tottenham win just one league game in nine, the players have shown a lot of spirit to take seven points from a possible nine in the last three fixtures.
Just two points separate Arsenal in third place and Newcastle in fifth, with Tottenham sandwiched in between. Any two of the three sides can still fill the remaining two Champions League places depending one how results go on Sunday and on paper at least, Spurs would appear to have the strongest claims. Ignoring the fact that Chelsea winning this season’s Champions League final could throw a spanner in the works, it is third place that is all important as it will guarantee automatic progress into the Champions League group stages.
Although I hate to say it, credit must go to both Arsenal and Newcastle for the form they have shown in the latter part of the season. It had looked as though both sides had lost their chance of a top four finish but they managed to close the huge gap Spurs had built up in the early part of the campaign to set up this dramatic climax. Newcastle have arguably the toughest task come the weekend with an away game against Everton, but neither a trip to West Brom for the Gunners nor a home clash with an in form Fulham side for Spurs, are going to be easy.
If Chelsea do manage to beat Bayern Munich, then the team finishing in fourth spot in the Premier League will go into the Europa League rather than Champions League. So basically, Spurs need to win and hope that Arsenal don’t to secure third place. Personally, I think Arsenal will likely draw at the Hawthorns, Newcastle will get something from their game at Everton and Spurs should be able to beat Fulham at the Lane, but who knows! There are bound to be a number of twists and turns on Sunday but hopefully, the football Gods will be on Tottenham’s side this once…
So that was a white lie, but it will hurt seeing Martin Jol at another Premiership side if today’s papers are to be believed. Maarten Cornelis Jol should never have lost his job as Tottenham manager and the way he was treated still gets my goat when I think back to it. Obviously it’s all water under the bridge now, and I wouldn’t swap Harry for anyone, but I was very disappointed when the Dutchman was replaced.
His record since leaving Spurs has enforced the fact he is an excellent manager having tasted success at both Hamburg and Ajax. It’s easy to forget what he achieved at Tottenham and how much improvement and consistency he got from the squad during his tenure. Winning the League Cup under Ramos vindicated the club’s decision to replace Jol in the short term, but Ramos’ overall record did nothing of the sort.
I’ve always had a lot of time for Fulham as a football club anyway but now I’ll be keen for them to do well, just so long as it isn’t at Tottenham’s expense. If Martin Jol does take the reigns at Craven Cottage, it will certainly make for a couple of very entertaining fixtures this coming season and it would be no surprise to see Jol’s Fulham side turn us over in at least one of those Premier League meetings. As much as I’m a fan of our former manager, I just hope it isn’t at White Hart Lane!
We will never know what might have been under Martin Jol. I realise he was going through a slightly rough patch when he was removed from office at Tottenham but that was likely due to the fact his position had been undermined by both Levy and Comolli. Fingers crossed it will be a successful 2010/11 season for both Tottenham and Fulham.
Probably the biggest game of this season as far as the board are concerned with the money that will be generated next but is it a match that is as crucial to Harry Redknapp? He has been quoted in the press as saying the Europa League could be a distraction and he’d prefer to concentrate on our league position next season.
I have no doubt Redknapp will be doing his upmost to get a result at Anfield but I also don’t think he’d be disappointed to come away without a victory. It probably won’t matter in any case if Fulham can continue their fine form.
Steven Gerrard has been talking up this game as if they should put on a right show for his fans and him only being two goals off Anelka and Ronaldo means he’ll certainly be wanting to get on the score sheet.
Personally, I’d be very happy to see us sneak in the Europa League. The new format gives the competition a bit more prestige and I think it’s important for a club like us to be consistently playing European football even if it is at the lesser level.
Everything points to a Liverpool victory however. It’s six years since Liverpool ended a top-flight season with defeat and Spurs have lost three of their last four last day away league fixtures. We have also only won once at Anfield in the Premier League.
Tomorrow should be another interesting close to the season anyway, especially where the bottom of the table is concerned. Now we have all the transfer rumours to look forward to and as Spurs fans, that is probably our busiest part of the year!
I know today’s results weren’t ideal, but I think I would have settled for a point at Everton before the game. The real disappointment was the fact Villa’s woeful form continued as did Fulham’s excellent form at home. All credit to them, Fulham probably deserve a place in the Europa League next season but football tends not to work like that. A lot of neutrals would argue Spurs don’t deserve it, but I couldn’t care less!
West Ham are one nil down at home to Liverpool as I write, still have to go to Everton and their last game is at Upton Park against Middlesbrough. If Boro can still stay up at that point, it’s going to be a real tough match for the Hammers.
It might be a slim chance, but there is still a chance for Spurs to steal 7th spot. I’m confident of a win against Man City then anything can happen at Liverpool with their title challenge over.
Fulham may be in the driving seat this afternoon, but it’s not over yet…