Spurs vs Chelsea – The race for third
February 10, 2012 Leave a comment
With the Manchester clubs racing ahead of their London rivals in the race for the Premier League title, a battle for third place and to be the top-placed London club between Tottenham and Chelsea is underway. Although it is not unreasonable to assume that Spurs could still challenge for second or even first given their points tally to date, Harry Redknapp’s men will set a more achievable objective of finishing behind the Manchester duo. Chelsea, although they would like to think that the title is not beyond their reach, will have to make do with Champions League qualification at best; their deficit of 14 points is too much to make up before the end of the season.
Last weekend’s fixtures leave the battle for third place in an interesting situation, with both Tottenham and Chelsea drawing, but in entirely different circumstances. Andre Villas Boas’ men will have suffered a dent in confidence by throwing away a three-goal lead against Manchester United on Sunday, whilst the White Hart Lane outfit will be pleased with a point in a below-par performance against Liverpool on Monday night. The gap between the London rivals currently sits at seven points with 14 games to go, but most expect this deficit to be reduced before the end of the campaign.
Tottenham have a tricky run in, with games against Manchester United, north London rivals Arsenal and a trip to Stamford Bridge to negotiate, and it may well be the latter on March 24 that makes the difference between third and fourth. Despite the disappointment of surrendering such a commanding advantage on Sunday, Chelsea will be buoyed on by what was a strong display as things slowly but surely start to fit into place for Andre Villas Boas. The Portuguese coach has a lot of work to do yet, and inconsistency in performances still exists, but expect The Blues to finish the campaign well and push for third place. One thing in Tottenham’s favour is the that fact that Chelsea are still in the Champions League, and a tricky back-to-back tie against Manchester City’s conquerors Napoli will be sure to test the English team. With the title a distant hope and Roman Abramovich’s long-term ambition of winning Europe’s premier club competition, Chelsea may well put added emphasis on excelling on the continent rather than domestically. Spurs will hope that Chelsea bypass Napoli and are suitably distracted for the rest of the campaign.
Do not discount a revitalised Arsenal, ever-impressive Newcastle or determined Liverpool from challenging for a Champions League berth, but this trio will have their eyes on fourth place rather than third. The race to be London’s top team is a prestigious one, with local bragging rights at stake; do not be surprised if the battle between Tottenham and Chelsea goes right down to the wire.
Published – Soccerclips