With Manchester City’s UEFA ban having been overruled, Tottenham’s goals between now and the end of the season have become more clear.
Had City remained banned, Spurs could have finished as low as eighth and still qualified for the Europa League. Now seventh is the lowest that Tottenham could finish and make the Europa League, though if Arsenal win the FA Cup, we would need to finish in the top six. Our rivals are rated as the 12/1 outsiders to win the FA Cup, traling behind the other three semi-finalists, with Manchester City at 4/7, Manchester United 7/2 and Chelsea at 9/2.
Spurs are currently eighth, two points behind Sheffield United in seventh and three points behind Wolves in sixth. Fifth placed Manchester United are seven points ahead and are in too good form to be caught. Leicester might not be out of the question though. Currently fourth, they too are seven points ahead of Tottenham, but we still have to play them at home. The Foxes are in poor form and also have tough matches against Sheffield United and Manchester United.
So can Spurs get into the European positions? The bookies are split. In the betting to see which teams will finish in the top six of the Premier League, Tottenham are rated as either seventh or eighth most likely, with some preferring Sheffield United’s chances. Looking at the bookies on freebets.com, Spurs are available anywhere between 7/2 and 4/1, while Sheffield United are priced between 3/1 and 9/2. Odds of 4/1 could be pretty generous for Tottenham. Though it’s a tight battle, you have to go back to the 2008-09 season for the last time that Spurs finished outside the top six, with the club finishing eighth that season.
Fortunately for both teams, Wolves (4/7) and Leicester (1/25) are more catchable than their odds suggest. As mentioned, Leicester have three very difficult games to come against teams that are all fighting to qualify for Europe. They could easily lose all three, or only pick up a point or two.
Wolves will expect to win their home game against Crystal Palace, but away matches against in-form Burnley and Chelsea are more tricky. Sheffield United’s matches against Leicester, Everton and Southampton offer no guarantees.
Looking at the difficulty of the their rivals’ fixtures, if Tottenham win their last three games then they should at least finish seventh and probably higher. The big question is can they win those matches? For any Spurs fan will know that our form has been anything but consistent post-lockdown.
The big issue is that Tottenham face two away games and only one at home. Results at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been positive, even if the performances often gave cause for concern. Taking ten points from a possible twelve against Manchester United, West Ham, Everton and Arsenal is a good return and the team should be confident when taking on Leicester on July 19th.
Either side of that match are the two potential stumbling blocks. The trip to Newcastle on Wednesday is crucial, with the Magpies showing plenty of fight and a renewed cutting edge since the season restarted, despite not having much to play for.
The away match at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season looks easier, with Palace in dreadful form. It’s still a derby though and anyone that saw the recent 0-0 draw at Bournemouth will be taking nothing for granted.