Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs Enter Final Day in Familiar Position

Frank Wagner@Fw1812Correspondent IMay 18, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team mate Aaron Lennon (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at White Hart Lane on May 13, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

When Tottenham's match against Sunderland kicks off Sunday, supporters of the club will have only half of their attention focused on their side's performance at White Hart Lane.

The other half will be scoreboard watching, hoping arch-rivals Arsenal drop precious points at Newcastle to open the door to the Champions League.

Entering these final matches, Arsenal leads Tottenham by one point (and quite a bit of goal difference) for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

As a result, Spurs' only hope in making it to Europe's top club competition next season is to win their final match while the Gunners drop points.

If you're getting a sense of deja vu from this situation, that is quite understandable. After all, an eerily similar situation unfolded just last season.

After a surge in the second half of the season, Arsenal carried a one-point lead over Tottenham into last year's final day.

With Spurs needing to defeat Fulham at White Hart Lane and for Arsenal to slip up against West Brom at the Hawthorns, Tottenham were only able to get their half done: Spurs breezed past Fulham 2-0 while Arsenal battled from behind to a 3-2 victory over Albion.

While that lead was for third place and an automatic bid to the Champions League, Chelsea's eventual triumph over Bayern Munich in that season's Champions League final meant that the Gunners' victory provided the difference between a Champions League and Europa League campaign for Tottenham.

Now, a few differences between these two situations spring to mind.

For example, Arsenal's ability to catch Tottenham last season was down to Spurs' terrible late-season form, which saw them lose five of their last 13 matches. On the other hand, this season's race has been defined by the Gunners' incredible run of form, which has seen them take 36 of the past 45 available points.

Further, Tottenham entered last year's final day worrying more about overcoming Newcastle to hold onto fourth. Meanwhile, they enter this final day rooting for Newcastle to help them attain fourth.

Still, the parallelisms between the situations are stark.

For the second year running, Tottenham enters its final match needing one point to pass Arsenal.

Yet again, Spurs supporters will be watching the scoreboard in hopes that the Gunners will slip up that little bit.

If there's any luck, the only thing that will be different is the result.

Come on, you Frenchmen.