Arsenal FC: Why Tottenham Hotspur May Still Finish Above the Gunners
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The race to the finish is on in the Premier League. Each team has as yet eight matches to play, and at this point, it can safely be assumed that the first and second spots on the table belong to the two Manchester clubs.
Whichever of the two clubs clinches the title will come down to consistency. This also applies in the case of other teams who will battle either for a respectable position at mid-table or to avoid relegation.
Then there's the battle for a top-four finish, with Newcastle United, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal still fighting for the last two spots. This battle is spiced up by the London rivalry between Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.
The fiercest of this, though, is undoubtedly between Arsenal and Spurs; Saint Totteringham's Day is at stake and is an occasion celebrated at the stage by which it becomes impossible for Spurs to overtake Arsenal on the table.
With just three measly points as an advantage, at this point Arsenal can't be sure they'll celebrate this day this season. As a matter of fact, Spurs look the most likely to finish above Arsenal at third if the remaining fixtures are anything to go by.
April fixtures favor Spurs, as can be seen on the table. Arsenal have two top clubs as yet to play—Manchester City and Chelsea—while Spurs have none.
The only difficulty that could face Spurs could come from the two away teams—Sunderland and Aston Villa—that could push or even upset them. Spurs' remaining fixtures are the types we would expect them to win (Swansea, Norwich, Bolton, QPR, Blackburn and Fulham).
In comparison, Arsenal have the challenge of Manchester City and Chelsea to see off, two matches with the potential to take four points off Arsenal's potential 24. In this event, Spurs would have a point advantage. The advantage could even be as much as two points if Arsenal lose one of the two matches and manage only a draw in the other.
As to Arsenal's remaining fixtures, the last three are sure to be problematic. Stoke City are a problem any day and could even defeat Arsenal. And, taking the above paragraphs into consideration, this could turn Spurs' advantage to five points.
West Bromwich Albion hover on top of Arsenal's fixtures, ready to be spoilers at the very end. On that final day, while Arsenal play away, Spurs will have a home advantage.
For Arsenal to maintain their advantage, they'd have to produce massive performances in April. This surely is the month that decides where each team finishes.
Third on the table would mean Saint Totteringham's Day for Arsenal fans. More importantly, though, is its implication on next season's Champions League campaign.
Arsene Wenger reflects:
"We have come through a very difficult period. We have learnt from that and must keep our feet on the ground and focus on the next game.
"It makes a massive difference [to finish in third] because fourth place is a qualifier and third place is really the Champions League.
"I would prefer not [to have to qualify], as would everybody, but if we have to do it, we do it. And don’t forget, it’s after the Euros so we might not have all of our players."
Big victories over Spurs, AC Milan and Newcastle suggest Arsenal are capable of handling the difficult fixtures of the coming month. What is important, though, is not just to talk the talk but to also walk the walk.
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