26 games in, and Tottenham Hotspur sit proudly in fourth place in the Premier League, just one point behind Chelsea in third, and a mere five points behind the increasingly erratic Manchester City in second.
Putting aside any aspirations of climbing the table further for the moment, and it is the sides below Spurs that are really of interest, as holding off Arsenal and Everton – and even Liver…probably going to be ok – is the challenge that faces Andre Villas-Boas’ side in the final few months of the season.
To finish fourth in the league teams normally need around 65 points, but it took Spurs 69 last season, and it will likely be closer to that mark again this time around with plenty of teams in the hunt. With twelve games left, and 48 points already in the bank, now is as good a time as any to have a look at the remaining fixtures in Spurs’ season, and work out exactly how they can claim a Champions League spot.
Working off last season’s total, let’s say Spurs will need 69 points to nab fourth place and a Champions League spot – barring any ludicrous Champions League wins from sides outside the top four, I don’t even want to imagine Arsenal doing a Chelsea. Forget about the other sides in the hunt, Spurs currently have the edge, and if they can pick up another 21 points, it should see them home.
Of the six games to come at White Hart Lane, Spurs will have to target wins against Fulham, Southampton and Sunderland, and ideally at least five points from the matches with Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton. Right there we would have 14 points, leaving just seven to pick up on the road.
In previous years, this might look an ominous target, but Spurs’ away form has been excellent this season, and if they could beat West Ham this weekend, and pick up another win at Wigan towards the end of April, just one point would be needed from matches at Liverpool, Swansea, Chelsea and Stoke to reach the theoretically golden 69 point mark.
So there we are, get a tick-list ready – if Spurs beat Fulham, Southampton, Sunderland and one of Everton, Arsenal and Manchester City at home, and Wigan and West Ham away, then a few draws here and there should get us Champions League football. This might be a completely pointless hypothetical exercise, but it’s made me feel a lot more confident about our chances, and that’s the main thing…right?