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Tottenham’s hopes of re-breaking the top four

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It was Peter Crouch who settled Tottenham Hotspur’s top four challenge in the previous two years scoring in the same goal at the same ground against the same team. Unfortunately for Spurs fans, last season’s ‘winner’ was at the wrong end, allowing Manchester City to steal a march on their top four rivals before finishing third. Now, with the North London outfit having to settle for Europa League football next season, it remains to be seen whether the club will, once more, challenge for the coveted UEFA Champions League spot again next season.

Spurs kick off their campaign at home to Everton on Saturday 13th August, yet their first major challenge of the season comes a little over a week later when Harry Redknapp takes his Spurs side to Old Trafford to face defending champions Manchester United, a match that will be shown live on Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports HD and in Sky 3D with coverage of the nights events beginning at 7pm before kicking off at 8pm.

It has been a quiet summer for the North London side who have, thus far, bought in Brad Friedel, Cristian Cabellos and Souleymane Coulibaly and despite signing two young strikers; the club have still failed to strengthen in areas which are in dire need of improvement. Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane still remain on the pay-roll and it is these four that were supposed to fire the club back into the Champions League.

Alas, it wasn’t to be and, even though finishing fifth, while reaching the quarter-finals in their maiden Champions League campaign, isn’t bad, had the strikers been firing on all cylinders, it could have been a lot different for Spurs last season. A new striker is a must if the club are to push on and while the likes of Mirko Vucinic, Giuseppe Rossi and Fernando Llorente have all been linked with a move to White Hart Lane, nothing concrete has materialised and it is hard to get excited about any potential signings, especially without the lure of Champions League football that would have helped bring in a big name or two.

And it is that very problem that is seeing Luka Modric linked with a move away from White Hart Lane. From the final whistle of last season, the 25-year-old has been linked with a move to either Manchester clubs or Chelsea. Two offers from Chelsea were rejected as chairman Daniel Levy continued to insist that the Croatian wasn’t for sale and if he is still a Spurs player come September 1st, it will be a welcome relief to everyone at N17.

Finances are again hindering Spurs in the hunt for new players with United, Chelsea, City, Arsenal and now Liverpool able to offer higher wages and bigger transfer fees for potential signings, even ‘wheeler dealer’ Redknapp has been racking his brain as to who he can bring in. Levy has told the manager that he must sell before he can buy due to the amount of players currently soaking up the wage bill at White Hart Lane.

If only it was as easy as Sky Sports Fantasy Football for Redknapp as it is in the real world. Nevertheless, when it comes to challenging for fourth spot and higher next season, the competition for Spurs has grown exponentially. Liverpool has improved ten-fold and when the two sides face each other on Sunday 18th September live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD, it will be a superb game and give fans a clearer indication as to which side has become the stronger of the two in the hunt for the top four.

Following City’s signing of Sergio Aguero, it will be difficult to consider them as little more than top four contenders and next season could see them challenge for the title at the expense of Arsenal, of whom City leapfrogged into third place in the last game of last season. Some fans may feel that both North London giants are now equally as strong as each other, especially after Tottenham’s 3-2 win at the Emirates and the exciting 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane in April that has left fans begging for more. They won’t have long to wait as the first North London derby kicks off on Sunday 2nd October, again live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD.

Spurs couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the new season, having to play four of the top six in their initial seven games and it is important they hit the ground running if they hope to have cemented another top four finish come May. Yet, without any serious strengthening of the squad as of yet, it could prove to be a difficult ask for Redknapp and his squad. The club continue to be linked with a new striker, near enough on a daily basis, and before any serious movements begin to materialise, Spurs fans are, understandably, nervous  about their hopes for the coming season.

The Europa League will also play havoc on Spurs season with Redknapp already admitting that the competition, which he labelled a ‘killer, being sacrificed in favour of the Premier League. Here is hoping that, come May, Spurs can boast a shiny new FA Cup to add to the trophy cabinet and a top four finish to take into the new campaign.

Whatever happens, you can watch all the action un-fold over the next nine months through Sky Sports, the place to be for all your sporting needs.

Get started with Sky Sports Football and watch the best of the 2011/2012 Premier League season in HD

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