Sunday’s match still has massive implications for Tottenham Hotspur’s 2018-19 season, but it doesn’t really feel that way. The shock draw of Huddersfield Town and Chelsea opened the door for Tottenham Hotspur to secure Champion League football and however beleaguered their performance was, the lilywhites got it done. Its a tip of the cap to the squad and looking at the glass half full, how long do supporters have to go back to find a team that can grind results from poor play? Take into account the magnitude and pressure that coincided with these matches and they are truly gritty performances in a wonderful era in Tottenham Hotspur history.
Spurs opponent on Sunday is Leicester City — pronounced lay-chest-errr for the noobs out there — and the fixture seems a lot less scary than it did one week ago. Heading into the final weekend needing three points to quality for Champions League football versus needing three points to nab third place is a whole different story and while Leicester aren’t world beaters themselves they aren’t pushovers. The two sides have some history over the past three years to boot as well. Its nice that a win isn’t absolutely necessary. Whats also nice is that Spurs could still lose and win third place with a Liverpool loss or draw, however unlikely that scenario actually is.
Leicester still have players in the attack who not only have pedigree, but experience and production too. Jamie Vardy isn’t a fan favorite of anyone save the Foxes, but the guy put in another twenty goal season and is really one of the premier forwards in England. He is flanked by Riyahd Mahrez who is mercurial in his own right and probably the best player not on a top six team at the moment. He can turn the game on its heel in a split second as he has proven to Spurs many times before. Demarai Gray, Okazaki, an Marc Albrighton all bring their own qualities to the attack too and really fit in well with this fluid, cohesive Leicester attack.
In defense the Foxes are considerably less good. They rank thirteenth in shutouts and goals against, which is four sport below their place in the Premier League table. Ben Chilwell is a more than decent left-back and the experience of Wes Morgan and Kasper Schmeichel doesn’t hurt, but if there is a part of the pitch where Leicester is weak, its certainly in their defensive third.
The pressure is off, but the result does matter. August Champions League play-in matches are never fun and are an unnecessary burden. If Spurs can secure third place its not that this season would be validated as a massive success— that has already been decided — its that third place allows the side to truly focus on getting off to a better domestic start. Each of the previous three seasons the team has struggled in August and those results have had significant ramifications later in the year. It may seem like Sunday’s fixture is all about this season, but really its about the next one. COYS.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, May 13h, 2018, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Craig Pawson
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra), BBC Radio (UK), TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Serge Aurier, Moose, and Harry Winks are all likely sidelined for the season’s finale. Mumurs of KWP and Juan Foyth starting are nice, but don't make total sense with third place on the line. I think Poch keeps with his first choice guys to finish the season off right. Only caveat here is Toby. He has played a little more in the past few games and while the chance is still minimal that he stays, maybe there is still some light at the end of the tunnel. If he starts, and I'm not predicted this, but if he does, that could be good sign that meaningful talks are back on the table.
My lineup for Sunday is Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Sissoko, Son, Dele, Eriksen, and Kane.
Dustin Menno wins and nothing else matters. The 2017-18 Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League prize is a trip to White Hart Lane and a chance to meet Micky Hazard and Ledley King aka the best prize ever. Oh wait, Menno has already done this. What a stud! Congrats.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop||20|
Dustin Menno: I want Liverpool to experience as much pain as possible yet this season. Oh, and Tottenham winning would be nice too. 2-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: 2-0. Lets do this. COYS.
GN Punk: It’s been a hell of a ride. Let’s close it out with a win. Spurs 2-1.
Pardeep Cattry: This one will be a victory lap for the hosts. Tottenham 3-0.
Jake Meador: Kane scores a bunch of goals, pips Salah to the Golden Boot by one (WHICH WOULD BE AMAZING), and LFC loses to Brighton, Chelsea wins, and then LFC loses to Madrid in the final and misses out on the UCL next year.
Then Madrid buys Salah in the summer.
Spurs 4-0 Lester. (Writer’s Note: Please)
Salmon Chase: TBD
Earl of Shoop: My phone died today, drowned in infant spit. Lester 2-1
Ed F: I don’t know what Leicester are anymore. 2-1 Spurs.
Alex Greenberg: I think we’re gonna see Kane get back to his goal scoring form from the end of last year. Spurs 4-1.
Nathan Giannini: Finishing third is worth about £9 million more than finishing fourth (across Champions League and Premier League), which is a lot of money, so we should do that. Finishing above Liverpool then seeing them get hammered in the Champions League final is quite honestly priceless. Spurs win 3-0.
Joel Wertheimer: 5-0 Spurs. Harry goes goal seeking and Lester don’t much care about the outcome.
Joe Patrick: We won’t care about this game, but Lester will care less. 3-1 Spurs.
Bryan A: TBD