Tottenham Chutzpah Volume II: How Far Can Spurs REALLY Go?
Here are the top five places of the Premier League. The top three places where Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal currently sit look quite set in stone don't they.
You might be right, but you might also be a tiny bit wrong.
Arsenal lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park and coming into their last game of the season, the Gunners are only above arch-rivals Tottenham by just five points and Tottenham's fellow fourth place competitors Manchester City.
On Wednesday night, it wouldn't be surprising if traffic stopped in the middle of the road at 8pm to listen in on Eastlands as Tottenham travel to the blue half of Manchester for a game of epic proportions and much excitement.
This is a cup final to the two teams who have come so far over the last season or two and want to epitomise it with a place in the most bespoke, elite football tournament in the world—The UEFA Champions' League.
For Manchester City, a place in the top four would cement the method in the madness of the entire Manchester City board of directors.
They cruelly switched the down-to-earth "Sparky" Mark Hughes for the covertly brash Italian—Roberto Mancini for fear of not meeting the agreed target of a sixth place finish (by January 2010, which they had actually achieved) for the club and then a fourth place finish by the end of the season.
It would be a great opportunity for the directors and the rest of Hughes' nay-sayers to shout "I told you so!".
On the Southern end of the M6, Tottenham will also be looking to convert a season and a half of hard graft into a long-lost honeymoon period of "club hugeness" for themselves.
With the FA Cup semifinal firmly behind them and nothing more than a distant memory, the Spurs have indeed marched on and defeated Arsenal and Chelsea at White Hart Lane consecutively, despite the repeated major Doubting-Dave comments dished out by pundits.
Harry Redknapp—in conjunction with the great chairman Daniel Levy, have pushed Tottenham to the peak of what is their Mount Everest of achievement.
They have a chance of getting into the Champions' League for the first time in their history. However, there could be an added bonus following Arsenal's rather embarrassing defeat away to Blackburn Rovers.
Dare I say this, but there is a small chance that Tottenham could make twice as much history by finishing above their North London neighbours.
Arsenal have not won in their last four games and their most recent defeats were come-from-behind wins for Wigan and Blackburn.
I can't speak too soon though.
The game at Eastlands will be much more difficult than the last time they met, which was at White Hart Lane.
Back in mid-December 2009, Spurs comfortably dispatched Manchester City with a creditworthy 3-0 victory.
Defoe grabbed his 13th league goal, which was sandwiched between a brace from Niko Kranjcar who is currently out with an ankle injury.
The Croatian midfielder's second goal was probably a one-off. He beat two defenders and slid the ball past the also injured Shay Given to cement the win.
Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor just couldn't concentrate many shots on goal that evening.
However, such a defeat has only fired City up for tomorrow's showdown.
Tevez has regained his fine scoring form with consistently committed performances, even if he doesn't score. His energy and non-stop running can get goalkeepers hot under the collar when they've just had the ball passed back to them.
Tevez in particular will want to redeem himself for December and without the first-choice goalkeeping heroics of both Gomes (presumably) and Given, it'll be a better acid tests for the defences. Tevez has a thing for weaving around players.
Defoe has a thing for playing off the shoulder of the last man for outside-foot passes from Modric.
If both teams draw, it's in their hands and will go down to the wire on Sunday as they face a equally tough away trip to Burnley.
City will travel the opposite way to Upton Park for a match against West Ham. West Ham have a say in whether or not they want to see a bitter rival succeed in the League.
As I said, the possibilities are endless:
1) If City and Spurs both draw on Wednesday but also win their respective matches, Spurs will be in fourth by just one point.
2) If City win on Wednesday and Sunday while Spurs lose to Burnley, City will take fourth place with a more convincing four point gap.
3) If Spurs win on Wednesday and Sunday while City lose to West Ham, Spurs will be guaranteed fourth with the same gap and possibly third if Arsenal drops a clanger against Fulham (I'm looking at YOU Fabianski).
These are just some of the many possibilities which I can't be bothered to write about because absolutely anything can happen.
City could go fourth, but Spurs can go fourth and beyond (well, third, but we Spurs fans take every little good thing as if we've won a trophy—Just Google "Spurs DVDs" for multiple pieces of evidence).
My prediction for Wednesday:
Optimist - 2-1 Spurs
Realist - 2-2 Draw
Pessimist - 3-1 City
Let's just back the boys up, get out there and do it.
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