Tottenham Hotspur have hidden boost in Champions League race ahead of final run-in

By Staff

Tottenham Hotspur are still reeling from their surprise 3-0 defeat to Fulham on Saturday that dented the club’s chances of overtaking Aston Villa and entering the top four. It followed Spurs’ strange pattern of struggling against midtable teams.

Tottenham have suffered seven league defeats so far in the campaign and six of them have come against teams currently sitting between 7th and 12th in the Premier League table. The only exception to the rule was Spurs’ home defeat to Villa, where Postecoglou’s side were made to rue plenty of missed chances, though the result was avenged in impressive style with their recent 4-0 victory at Villa Park.

Fulham joined Chelsea, Wolves, West Ham and Brighton in the list of teams sitting in the middle third of the table that have earned wins over Spurs. Remarkably, Spurs have dropped just four points to teams in the relegation battle, while picking up a respectable 12 points from seven games against sides in the top six. This could give Spurs an unheralded advantage during the final run-in.

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Postecoglou’s side have ten games remaining after the international break, starting with a home clash against Luton Town (18th). Spurs will also play relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest (17th) in April, as well as ending the season with back-to-back games against Burnley (19th) and Sheffield United (20th).

At the other end of the table, Spurs face a daunting trio of games next month as they host Arsenal (1st) before travelling to Anfield to take on Liverpool (2nd) and ending with a home game against Manchester City (3rd). However, the reverse fixtures suggest that Tottenham could fare better than many would expect, having earned five points from their three games against the title challengers.

The surprisingly trickier tests could come in a different form. Both West Ham (7th) and Chelsea (11th) enjoyed wins over Tottenham earlier in the season and will want to do the double over their London rivals while facing Newcastle United (10th) at St James’ Park is also not an easy task. The lack of fixtures against teams in the middle of the table could ultimately benefit Potecoglou’s team.

Spurs will not want to rely on fifth spot earning a Champions League place and sit three points off Villa, having played a game less. The race for the top four is remarkably close. For example, if Tottenham were to win their rescheduled game against Chelsea 1-0, then both Spurs and Villa would be level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

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