"We will be happy with fourth place but we're only one point behind Chelsea, so we have to aim as high as possible,” said the Belgian.
After last season’s debacle in which Chelsea qualified instead of Spurs, despite finishing sixth in the league, all eyes are on Andre Villas-Boas’ men who currently sit in fourth position just one point behind the Blues.
Whilst last season, the fourth and third spot were being chased by both Tottenham and their North London rivals Arsenal, with the Gunners just pipping Spurs to the post and finishing third, is it conceivable that a similar top four could in fact contain both North London clubs and not Chelsea?
Or, perhaps, more logically, Chelsea could finish fourth and Arsenal could fail to qualify at all. Taking into account Chelsea’s miserable run of form since the arrival of Rafael Benitez, it’s shaping up to be quite a completion for 3rd and 4th place in the Premier League this year.
Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool are also in with a shout and with the top two spots almost certainly going to the two Manchester rivals United and City there are five clubs now challenging for two remaining places.
Spurs have got to be the favourites – despite Chelsea being European champions an all, the Blues have now lost 2, drawn 2, and won 2 of their last 6 games in the league.
Their inconsistent form and displays now finds them out of the title race completely, as well as out of the Champion’s League, the Capital One Cup and after losing the final of the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, they are left only with the FA Cup as a potential trophy.
The Blues will host Spurs at Stamford Bridge in April but I have a sneaking suspicion that Spurs may go into that clash above Chelsea in the league table.
Tottenham haven’t lost a Premier League match since their 2-1 defeat at Everton on December 9th last year. That’s an unbeaten run of 9 games on the trot and Villas-Boas must fancy his side’s chances at this stage. Chelsea seem to be falling apart in much the same manner that Spurs did last year under Harry Redknapp and Tottenham are building momentum in the league.
Spurs have a tough run of fixtures coming up – they’ll play a rejuvenated Newcastle side that beat Chelsea last weekend, followed by two London derby’s against West Ham and Arsenal, a trip to Anfield against Liverpool, and another London derby with Fulham.
If they can emerge from those fixtures relatively unscathed, they can surely secure their Champion’s League ambitions for next year and, quite possibly, finish 3rd above the Blues. That really would be the icing on the cake for Villas-Boas.
What are your predictions? Where can Tottenham finish?
image: © Vladimir Maiorov