Can Spurs Finish Second?

Gabriele Maltinti

Good stuff, fronted. -Kevin

So, AVB has ditched his dossiers and thrown out analysis and is well on his way to becoming borderline illiterate and implementing a 4-2-FRAAB formation. So, while he does that, let's take a look at some of those number things ourselves to see what the rest of the season will bring us.

You see, the top of the Premier League is tight. OK, maybe not the top spot, where Man U have run so far ahead if this were a F1 race they would be three laps ahead of the pack. But, the rest of the Premier League is tight, and by rest I mean the fight for 3rd and 4th. Yes, there's only half a point between the next 15 teams, and it is not beyond the realm of reasonalityness that Spurs finish as high as 2nd (hooray!) and as low as 6th (boo!). Wenger believes his team can finish second this year, despite the fact that his team sucks, so why can't we as well?

What will decide the rest of the season? Well, we are Spurs, so historically we would be expected to drop lots of points against the bottom 5 teams in strange, inexplicable fashion. But, let's for one minute imagine that we finished 4th, 5th and 4th in the last 3 seasons and are on some kind of run and that we are genuine contenders for the European competition that Barcelona and a couple of other teams play in. If that's the case, then the finish will be decided by key matchups between the top teams. So let's look at that.

Below is a table that shows results from the top 7 teams in the EPL and how they have fared against each other this season. (I know, the purists will state that WBA is currently 7th and Liverpool is 8th, but WBA is on a slide and Liverpool is on a tear, so just wait a week and this shouldn't concern you anymore.) Note especially the gaps, which indicate games that still need to be played:


The second thing you will notice (other than all the red on the Spurs column: more on that in a minute) is that Tottenham have the highest number of remaining fixtures against the top seven: 5 (3H 2A), while both Manchester teams and Arsenal only have 3 games left, and Chelski have 4. In fact, we still have to play everyone except United—which is a real shame because we have gotten our best results from the Red Devils this season. Our remaining games are:

So, we have 3 home games, but I'm not completely convinced that home games have been an advantage for us this season. In fact, a stat that I'm about to make up shows that we have 321 points total from away games this season and only 6 points from home games. So this is not necessarily a good thing.

Arsenal only have to play United and Everton at home after they play us. And with them breathing down our necks that can't be a good thing either. They annoyingly finish strongly to most seasons, and when they don't they have people willing to poison Italian food. Chelsea have to play slightly more than the others, with Spurs and Everton at home and United and Liverpool in the north. With their most recent loss to City, Chelsea are actually now in the pack with the two London teams—just 2 points above Arsenal. It could well be that Arsenal and Tottenham take the CL places and Chelsea miss out. (Although any scenario where we make it and so does Woolwich just isn't that sweet.)

Both the Manchester teams only have 3 games left from this group, although City have no more home games and could find the gap between 2nd and 3rd close if they continue on their current form (the last game aside). Liverpool, are finishing very strongly, with only home games left from this group, and could find themselves a lot closer to 4th than nervy Spurs fans would like—especially as we still have to play them at Anfield in their resurgent state. Everton have a loooong way still to go, with 5 key games left to play—including 3 on the road to the London teams and an away derby with Liverpool. A very long road that should see them cement 6th spot at best.

So, I promised we'd take a look at the red smear. Let's see how we all fare against each other:

Team Points Games Left Points Per Game
Man United
19 3 2.11
Chelsea 14 4 1.75
Everton 9 5 1.29
Man City 11 3 1.22
Tottenham 7 5 1.00
Arsenal 9 3 1.00
Liverpool 5 3 0.56

Look how dominant United have been in the big games. They have only lost points to Everton on the first day of the season, and to Tottenham twice (1L, 1D).

But aside from Spurs' heroics against the top team in the land, the only other time we have taken any points from our fellow big dogs was against Liverpool early in the season. Arsenal have done just as badly, but the good news for them is they are almost done.

If we are to keep the pressure on and finish in the golden zone we HAVE to beat the other top teams in the league. Even one dropped point against any of these could lead to disaster.

In light of that, I don't believe that after our game with the team with cannons on them that we will have any greater visibility of where we will end our season. For such few games remaining, there is still a VERY long way to go in this season.

And now the good news...

In previous seasons, Spurs might be expected to fall foul of lack of focus (*cough* I'm looking at you Harry), or meal-related apocalypse (yes, that still hurts). But this team has a grit and determination I don't remember ever seeing in Tottenham shirts. Case in point, we have scored 5 come-from-behind goals after the 79th minute in the first 7 weeks of 2013 season to salvage 3 draws and 2 wins. We even out-united United with our late-game antics:

  • Man U (90’) Draw 1-1
  • Norwich (80’) Draw 1-1
  • Lyon 1st leg (90’) Win 2-1
  • Newcastle (78’) Win 2-1
  • Lyon 2nd leg (90’) Draw 1-1 (Win on Aggregate 3-2)

If we can do this (points to table) to our season as a whole, instead of this, then we will bring this season to a nail-biting but triumphant conclusion. Either that, or the powers that be will extend the season to give us the time we deserve to win it. COYS!

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