Saturday’s win at Swansea lifted Tottenham up to third position in the Premier League on 57 points with seven games to play. Twelve months ago, a win on 1st April, against Swansea at White Hart Lane saw Spurs on 58 points in 4th position, level with Arsenal but 5 clear of Chelsea.
Tottenham are two points ahead of Chelsea and they retain their four points advantage over Arsenal in fourth but both clubs have a match in hand. Chelsea have to play Fulham at Craven Cottage while Arsenal have a home game against Everton who could have a major say in who finishes in the top four. They still have Champions League aspirations of their own being only two points behind Arsenal and are next up at White Hart Lane on Sunday, play Arsenal on 16th April and visit Chelsea on the last day of the season. Chelsea’s match at Fulham has been arranged for 17th April.
2011-12 / 2012-13 Comparison
2011-12: P 31 W 17 D 7 L 7 For 56 Ag 36 Pts 58 (+ 20)
2012-13: P 31 W 17 D 6 L 8 For 53 Ag 38 Pts 57 (+ 19)
Home 2011-12: P 15 W 11 D 2 L 2 For 34 Ag 12 Pts 35
Home 2012-13: P 15 W 8 D 4 L 3 For 22 Ag 15 Pts 28
Away 2011-12: P 16 W 7 D 2 L 7 For 28 Ag 29 Pts 23
Away 2012-13: P 16 W 9 D 2 L 5 For 31 Ag 23 Pts 29
Tottenham’s record for the past two seasons is so similar with their total points tally being only one point less this year. The difference, however, is that last season it was based on a very sound home record with only 10 points lost at White Hart Lane. This season’s strength has been the away form with Saturday’s win being the team’s 9th success on their travels, bringing the total of away points to 29. The number of goals conceded away from White Hart Lane has been reduced but the number of home goals scored is well down on last season’s 34 goals, explaining Tottenham’s difficulty in turning draws into wins against West Bromwich, Norwich City and Stoke City. In two of the three home defeats Spurs have failed to score, against Wigan and Fulham.
7 Matches to go!
Last season Tottenham took 11 points from their last 7 matches – a scoreless draw at Sunderland, wins over relegated Blackburn Rovers (h) and Bolton (a), a draw at Aston Villa and a last day of the season win over Fulham at White Hart Lane. They suffered defeats at home to Norwich City and Queen’s Park Rangers. Recalling those games, some of the performances were very poor especially against Sunderland, Norwich, QPR and Villa and they got what they deserved, very little.
This season Spurs will need a stronger finish to finish in a Champions League place. Last season’s results against the next seven opponents were:
Everton (h) Won 2- 0 [January match in hand, took Spurs level with United, 2 points behind City]
Chelsea (a) Draw 0 – 0 [March - deserved the three points]
Manchester City (h) Lost 1 – 5 [August's disastrous start]
Wigan (a) Won 2 – 1 [September revival underway]
Southampton (h) – (comparison with relegated Bolton Won 3 – 0)
Stoke City (a) Lost 1 – 2 [We all know who to blame for the end of Spurs unbeaten run]
Sunderland (h) Won 1 – 0 [Pavlyuchenko's last PL goal in Martin O'Neill's first away game as Sunderland manager]
Tottenham’s next three matches are against teams who are in or challenging for a top 4 finish and they then finish with games against four clubs who are in the battle against relegation (Wigan and Sunderland) or may still have concerns about it (Southampton or Stoke).
Those games brought Spurs 13 points last year but to maintain their hold on qualification for the Champions League they will probably need to add to that total which will not be an easy task. Everton are a difficult team to beat and Chelsea have obviously targeted the game against Spurs as one to win having sacrificed three points at Southampton at the weekend. City have been inconsistent recently but have players returning to fitness which will strengthen them. The games against relegation threatened sides are always difficult to gauge as they can so often produce unexpected results in a late battle to avoid the drop.
Over to You?
Will Tottenham Finish in the Top 4 this season?