Derby Deliverance: Tottenham Spurs Now Have Their Eyes on the Prize

George Hopkin@@george_hopkinContributor IApril 17, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on April 17, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

The significance of this afternoon's London Derby could not have been greater.

A fantastic display from Tottenham Hotspur FC ensured that the team would finish the weekend in the driving seat for the elusive final UEFA Champions' League position.

For a remarkably inferior Chelsea side it is a different story altogether.

The two teams kicked off their league fixture at White Hart Lane knowing the result of the Manchester Derby that took place earlier at Eastlands.

Manchester United FC had beaten Manchester City FC, thanks to a last minute Paul Scholes header.

Alex Ferguson's Reds closed the gap to only one point behind league leaders Chelsea, while Roberto Mancini's UEFA Champions' League chasers had given the Spurs a fantastic opportunity to finish the afternoon in the much desired fourth league position.All was to play for.

Although both teams had a fantastic opportunity to gain ground on each of their rivals, it seemed that the Lillywhites were more up for the game than their opponents from across the River Thames.

An early shout for a penalty was ignored by referee Phil Dowd, but just minutes later, he pointed to the spot. John Terry had seemingly used his arm to control the direction of the ball in another in-the-box incident.

Defoe started a memorable occasion for Harry Redknapp's Tottenham side as he finished calmly into the bottom left hand corner, despite his poor penalty-taking record for the North London side. A fine goal by Gareth Bale before the break gave Spurs a 2-0 lead until the 91st minute consolation by Frank Lampard.

"It's so easy at the Lane", chanted Spurs fans as they celebrated their second Derby victory just 3 days after defeating arch-rivals Arsenal FC.

On this sunny London afternoon, Chelsea just didn't churn out a potential title-winners' performance. Carlo Ancelotti's side were sloppy in the final third, the full backs couldn't keep up with the constant menacing of "Welsh Wizard" Gareth Bale and the much-improved Younes Kaboul.

The whole team seemed incredibly lacklustre. The confidence boost that the match will give to Spurs could just give them the belief to go to Old Trafford and win.

With the match having been won by Spurs, one inevitable question will once again be raised, "Can Tottenham really finish in the top four?". With the club two points ahead of City and with a slightly superior goal difference of +1, the 2-1 result gives Spurs the advantage over their closest rivals, the mega-rich Sky Blues.

This could just be the season that Spurs finally deliver upon all of their promise. With another crucial fixture at Old Trafford next Saturday lunchtime, Redknapp will be making sure that his players work hard enough to come away from the Theatre of Dreams with at least one point.

The team will also have to get past a relegation-threatened Bolton squad at the Lane before a decisive trip to Eastlands that is sure to be a cracker.

If the occupants of the final UEFA Champions' League position are not decided by this time, the race could go right down to the final day of the season with Tottenham Hotspur travelling to 19th placed Burnley and Manchester City to 17th placed West Ham United.

Will Spurs be able to overcome disappointment in recent seasons and qualify for the ultimate European Club competition, the UEFA Champions' League?

Can Harry Redknapp's boys actually go to Manchester twice in four games and get the results needed? Is the squad at White Hart Lane really strong enough?

Only time will tell.