Fresh off glorious victory at the San Siro, Spurs return to London this weekend. It's one of those games that good teams need to win. Spurs are sitting in the 3rd/4th positions right now not so much because they've taken tons of points off the best clubs, but because they continue piling up necessary results. Results like points against Fulham at home. Flat-track bullying is what produces top four finishes.
At the same time, it's not like Fulham are bad. They have Dimitar Berbatov, and they've been pretty consistently cromulent all season. They're about as perfectly mid-table as a club can be. My numbers make them significant underdogs, but underdogs with a perfectly reasonable shot at taking some points.
The upshot of those big "W%" numbers is that this is a game that could legitimately harm Spurs' chances of a top four finish if they don't show up. The data:
|Spurs %Top 4||87%||72%||66%|
The worst-case scenario isn't horrifying. Most of us wouldn't have been unhappy to hear Tottenham would be two-to-one to make the Champions League at the end of March. But it would be a real drop from where they stood after the Arsenal win.
For the folks in the prediction league, I have 2-0 and 2-1 Spurs as the most likely outcomes (both ~10%), and 1-1 and 1-0 are about 9%, 3-0 at 8%. Predicting scorelines, as one might have guessed, is sort of a crapshoot.