It is not hyperbole to say that the results from the next eight days will have a major impact on Tottenham Hotspur this season and next, as everything is on the line for Spurs.
There was a point back at the end of February and the beginning of March that Tottenham Hotspur had control of its own destiny. Even after losing to Wolves at the start of March, Spurs bounced back and beat Forest to hold fourth place. However, in the four games since that win over Forest, Tottenham has dropped seven points from four games and has dropped out of the Champions League places. If Spurs have any chance of regaining fourth, salvaging this season and playing the Champions League next season, they must excel over the next eight days.
Job one for Tottenham is Newcastle
Obviously, the first task Spurs must tackle is Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Magpies have already beaten Tottenham once this season, 1-2 in north London back in October of last year, and the Toon have won four of their last five Premier League games. Fortunately, the one Newcastle didn’t win was their most recent, a 0-3 defeat to surging Aston Villa.
More important than Newcastle’s form is its position in the table, directly in front of Tottenham in fourth place. A win would put Spurs even on points, but behind on goal difference, with the Toon still holding a game in hand. Nonetheless, a win would have Spurs even on points putting pressure on Newcastle and setting the Lilywhites up for a legitimate run at a top-four place.
Win, lose, or draw against Newcastle on Sunday, that game starts the big eight-day week; Tottenham must navigate to remain in the race for a Champions League place.
Magpies are just the start of Spurs’ gauntlet
Regardless of what happens against Newcastle, Tottenham has two more games speeding directly at them that will be difficult to handle but are vital to success. On Thursday of this coming week, Spurs host Manchester United.
Like Newcastle, United sits above Tottenham, six points ahead in third place, and has already beaten Spurs once this year, a 2-0 win at Old Trafford this past October. This means Spurs at least have the home-field advantage of playing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the midweek game, which could see Spurs draw level on points with United, who is out of Premier League action this weekend, playing an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday against Brighton.
Of course, if Spurs don’t beat Newcastle, some of the shine will be gone from the match-up, but the urgency for Tottenham will remain, with a pack chasing them, which includes their third opponent in eight days, Liverpool.
The Reds have been an enigma this season, going unbeaten for six and winning four at a different point. Yet, Liverpool sits in eighth place, six points adrift of Tottenham in fifth place, although the Merseyside club has a game in hand. Worse, the Reds are a team Spurs have historically struggled against, taking only 59 points from 61 matches all-time in the Premier League era. Worse yet, United is one of the two teams Spurs have performed even worse against, making the two games in four days following Newcastle potentially problematic.
Over the next week, Tottenham will either play their way into or out of Europe, positioning themselves for a legitimate shot at the top four or a dogfight to play in the Europa Conference League. That makes the next three games the most important stretch of the year.