Tottenham’s horrendous record against the top-4 clubs in the Premier League this season is a major factor on why Spurs are once again going to miss out on finishing the season in a Champions League place.
Over recent seasons we have seen an improvement in Tottenham’s performances and results against the top-4 teams in the Premier League. They had held their own, had some impressive results and were a clear threat to the top clubs who never sent out a weakened team against Spurs. Unfortunately, that has all changed this season with Spurs results and performances against the top-4 of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal being horrendous and which we’ve referred to as ‘Matches of Shame’.
This season when Spurs have faced those teams they have capitulated and they can only take credit from two of the games played to date – the home games against Chelsea and Arsenal which rendered their one point from the possible 21. The final match is against Liverpool on Sunday at Anfield.The scene was set at the Emirates in September when Arsenal swept aside Andre Villas-Boas’ new-look side with ease, scoring once and were rarely troubled by a Spurs side lacking attacking ideas. The first half of the home match against Chelsea, saw Spurs at their best and if they had taken more than the one chance they created, it might have been different. After the interval Chelsea were much improved and could have taken all three points.
As it stands, this is Spurs only point from the top-4 clubs. The next four games are worth forgetting as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea scored 20 goals while Spurs managed just one. There were extenuating circumstances with wrongful dismissals but Spurs capitulation in each of those games led to the removal of AVB and serious questions being asked of Tim Sherwood’s ability to manage at the highest level.
The most recent game was possibly Spurs best performance against this group of clubs but still ended in defeat as Spurs were unable to recover from the early goal conceded and for all their possession and territory rarely troubled an Arsenal defence which conceded 6 to Chelsea six days later.
Record Against Top-4 This Season
Comparison with Rest of Premier League
Tottenham’s record is bad enough but when you compare it with how the other Premier League clubs have performed against the top-4, it demonstrates how pathetic Spurs’ endeavours have been and with only a limited amount of self-pride and professionalism, Tottenham would be sitting comfortable in the top-4.Of the 16 clubs outside the top-4, Spurs sit in 14th position with 1 point. Only Fulham and Crystal Palace are below them, having failed to take any points from the matches played so far. In the column for goals scored Spurs are equal with relegation threatened Palace and Norwich, each having scored two. In the goals conceded column (23) , only Fulham’s 5-goal defeat has lifted Tottenham off the bottom of the table but for goal difference Spurs have the worst record (-21).
Aston Villa have the best record, taking 1o points from 7 games. They are the only club with a positive goal difference having scored 11 and conceded 10. Well done to Paul Lambert and his Villa players, it shows what can be achieved with application, organisation, determination and a desire not to roll over and capitulate. That attitude comes directly from the expectation of the manager, Lambert would accept nothing less from his players who have learned from last season’s experiences.
Stoke City are next with 7 points – maintaining their reputation for being a difficult team to beat. Two of the promoted clubs – Hull City and Cardiff have both managed to record a win, Hull surprising Liverpool and Cardiff recording an early season success over Manchester City.
As I said in the introduction, Tottenham’s failure against the top-4 is the reason Spurs will miss out on a Champions League place. If they had matched the record of Everton, Manchester United and Southampton who have taken a meagre 5 points, Spurs would be pushing for a top-4 finish with everything to play for in the next 7 games.