Chance of Champions League football: realistic or deluded?

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

The 2014/15 season is in its final phase and for those clubs at the top and bottom of the Premier League it is certainly the business end of the season. For Tottenham, they have eleven games to achieve their target of finishing in the top four and to be playing Champions League football next term. In the last week the Club was dumped out of Europe and lost the Capital One Cup final at Wembley. All their hopes for the season rest on finishing in the top four. However, are we deluding ourselves- given the form and quality of other teams around them, do Tottenham realistically stand a chance of reaching the top-four?

After a slow start to the season, Mauricio Pochettino has managed to put his stamp on the Tottenham team and they now find themselves just six points off fourth spot and seven points off third spot, with a game in hand. After a disappointing last week, the Club got back to winning ways against Swansea in midweek and now the fans are dreaming of reaching the top four for only the third time in the Premier League era. It would be a magnificent achievement for Pochettino considering the underwhelming squad he inherited at the start of the season. He dealt with this issue by promoting young and hungry players from the academy who have flourished since being given the chance. However, Tottenham have played more games than any other team in the Premier League this season and there is a risk of burnout, even given Pochettino’s gruelling fitness regime. Tottenham’s players need to be at their peak if they are to reach the top four and beat off competition from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester United. However, what does benefit the Club is that out of their next eleven games they will only play four sides currently in the top half: Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton and Stoke. Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal will all play five teams in the top half out of their remaining ten games. The fixtures therefore give Tottenham hope, there is no reason to believe that Tottenham cannot at least get seven wins out of their next eleven games.

However, the concern for Tottenham is that Liverpool and Arsenal have hit great runs of form and that Manchester United are continuing to grind out results. These clubs have the know-how to reach the top-four and have played significantly fewer games than Tottenham. However, all three are still involved in the FA Cup and Arsenal are also still involved in the Champions League. This will allow Tottenham to do something they haven’t been able to do all season- focus solely on the League whilst other clubs balance commitments in the League and in the Cups. This may give Tottenham a chance.

There is no doubt that reaching the Champions League places is a possibility, but Tottenham now have to go on one heck of a run. They need to beat the teams around them, Southampton and Manchester United, to stand any chance of achieving this objective. They have to have 110% focus on games against the so called “lesser teams” and make sure that they do everything and anything necessary to claim the three points. Make no mistake not finishing in the top-four would not be a failure by any means, especially considering the money spent by the clubs around them, Pochettino’s struggles early on in the season and the genuine lack of strength in depth that the Club has. This season has been transitional and an important one for the development of academy graduates who have made the step up to the first team, but finishing in the top-four would give the Club a massive boost. The clubs around them are hitting form and won’t relent in the race for these prized places, but Tottenham can launch a late charge on the outside to be back playing Champions League football next season.

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  1. Looking at league form, alone, ours isn't that much below Liverpool and the Goons. We have an easier run-in than United and Liverpool. They all have to play one another and they all have to play Chelsea – two of them at the Bridge. Not only is our league form good but we are an improving team. We are credited with having an extremely high level of fitness. For the first time all season, having played more games than any other team in the EPL, we now have no outside involvements and one game per week with plenty of time for recovery and plenty of time for Pochettino to coach them – he is, after all, head coach.

    On that basis, I see no reason why we shouldn't be considered credible contenders.


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