Tottenham’s twisted end of season fate is about to be put to the test this Sunday as they are most likely to finish behind Arsenal again in the Premier League. The bitter North London rivals are engaged in an end of season fight down to the last season of the season for Champions League football next season and Arsenal seems to have one up over their rivals. Tottenham’s inability to take advantage of a seven point margin when they beat Arsenal in early March has come back to haunt them again and as Arsenal prepare to battle Newcastle at St. James’ Park, Tottenham will have a relatively easier fixture at home against the Black Cats and even a victory could not be sufficient to lift them to fourth if Arsenal too wins.
Sunderland have managed to escape relegation by a whisker and a huge reason of their enormous relief, going into the final game of the season, is Arsenal’s domination of Wigan at the Emirates last Tuesday. As a Gunners fan, it would be great to have the Black Cats return the favour this Sunday by beating Tottenham – a mean feat but not unachievable. Like Arsenal, Tottenham too would be going into the match under huge pressure to take all three points. The crowd will no doubt be behind them but Sunderland can be a tough opponent to crack and they have conceded the least goals of all the clubs in the bottom half of the league other than Stoke City.
Tottenham’s ability to score dramatic late winners is admirable but it will be interesting to see if they will continue to persist by that habit again. Bale again holds the key for them and the Black Cats need to take care to avoid affording him too much space in front of the goal line to have a decent chance of coming away with points from White Hart Lane. Paolo Di Canio has already announced a shorter summer vacation for his players and his high expectations and calls for a professional performance against Spurs could drive his team to a result he would find pleasing.
Last year saw the end of Harry Redknapp’s reign at the club after he failed to guide them to the crucial third place finish and it was indeed harsh on him as Chelsea, which finished sixth, got lucky courtesy of their victory against Bayern Munich in the Champions League finals. Andre Villas Boas started promisingly but Tottenham have ensured a similar fate like last year and Arsene Wenger has again managed to outsmart his counterpart. Hopefully the trend continues for one more game and the Gunners can again claim supremacy!
Tottenham’s victory over Arsenal at White Hart Lane retrospectively did more good to the Gunners. I feel the loss was what the Gunners needed to get their campaign back on track. Arsenal has gone unbeaten in the league ever since that day and also overcame Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena with a clean sheet – something that no club has managed to do this season. It would be exciting for Arsenal if they can complete their magical run with another win and a Sunderland victory could be the perfect icing on the cake!