30 matches played, 8 to go. With the top two places firmly in the hands of Manchester (barring a complete and utter collapse) it has become clear that the remaining two Champions League berths for next season will go to London or Newcastle but two teams have to miss out. While most people aren't considering the Magpies as a threat for the CL places I think we need to include them, given that they are level on points with Chelsea.
Let's take a look at each team..
Tottenham's mini collapse coincided with good winning runs by both Arsenal and Chelsea to create a race for the Champions League that we were really never meant to be a part of. We were looking nailed on for third place and I don't think I really need to recap what happened, we all felt the pain once already. Currently speaking we are still in good stead. We have by far the easiest fixture list of the three London clubs and Newcastle. We have players hitting decent form, confidence is returning and Lennon will return soon to give us our proper starting XI. We are 3 points behind the Gunners and are 5 points ahead of Chelsea.
We put in a good show against Chelsea and could have nicked the win late on but nobody was really too crushed with a draw. Our set piece play was actually good at the Bridge. Maybe it's Gallas being in the team? If he's the key to us not losing cheap goals from set pieces, give him a permanent starting place!!! Adebayor looks good and has reclaimed his drive while Bale's playing confidently - although could stand to be a little less selfish. Modric and Parker's partnership has been rekindled and is looking good.
Robin Van Persie..I mean Arsenal..have shot up to third place on much like we did earlier in the season. 7 consecutive wins (deserved or not) have sent them ahead of us and they are running high on momentum, confidence and luck. RVP is looking more and more a lock in for both the Golden Boot and PFA Player of the Year - both of which he deserves. Tomas Rosicky has suddenly become world class, Oxlade-Chamberlain is showing the kind of form that is going to haunt Spurs fans long into the future. Even Theo Walcott is playing well since the return of Bacary Sagna...
The good news for Spurs fans is that Arsenal still have to be visited by City and Chelsea. Stoke will be rubbing their hands together at the chance to take points off yet another top 6 team at the Britannia. This might knock some sense into Vermaelen and Szceszny who seem 100% sure that Spurs are stuffed.
Since Roberto Di Matteo took over at the Bridge there has been a mini-resurgence. Confidence is high after the Blues eliminated Napoli and went on a winning run for a few games which Spurs recently ended with a 0-0 draw. Chelsea face a hard fixture run in as well with trips to the Emirates and Anfield to come. Newcastle still have to visit the Bridge which could be an important match and which will irrespective of placings be a hard match for Chelsea.
Despite his successful start, RDM hasn't shown much grasp of tactics. He took off Essien and put on Fernando Torres who should have been starting against Spurs but instead of playing him up front with Drogba, he chose to stick Torres out on the wing where he can't really do much. Chelsea also will have fixture congestion with the Champions League which can only be positive for the other Champions League chasing clubs.
It is worth noting that Chelsea could pull out a miracle and hardcore troll Spurs/Arsenal/whoever ends 4th by winning the Champions League…..
Full credit to Alan Pardew's men who haven't been outside the top 7 all season. Everyone has discounted them as a potential threat to the Champions League places but given that they are level on points with Chelsea they are by no means out of the race. Newcastle have been playing well as Hatem Ben Arfa is hitting great form. The main issue standing in the way of the Magpies is both their very thin squad and their fixture list which includes Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City. That being said, it's not impossible for them to be mixing it with Europe's elite next season.
Looking at the table now and the fixtures ahead I believe Spurs will reclaim third, Arsenal will be moved down into 4th, Chelsea will lie 5th, Newcastle 6th. The fat lady hasn't started singing yet but she's warming up.
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