So, the final day of the season rears its head, and Spurs find themselves balanced on the precipice – on one side Champions League football, on the other the ignominy of the Europa League. Except, today finds the precipice with another, equally perilous face – that which sees Spurs finish in fourth place, but then missing out to Chelsea if they triumph in the Champions League final. The somewhat confusing possibilities for today’s results are examined below, but in short, Spurs must win to maximise their chances of playing at Europe’s highest table next season. Even then, our fate may wind up out of our hands, but we will need even more luck should we only manage a win or a draw.
Fulham don’t represent the easiest of opponents, as they have enjoyed something of a renaissance under Martin Jol in the second half of this season. Flying high in the form tables, their charge has been spearheaded by the outstanding form of Clint Dempsey, so it came as a great relief to hear earlier in the week that he will miss today’s game with injury. Fulham’s away form is renowned for being poor in general, so a win is certainly achievable; then we have to merely sit back and hope that Arsenal contrive to throw away third place by failing to win themselves. Here, anyway, are the final pre-match stats for this season.
- Firstly, below is a summary of today’s myriad possible outcomes from a Spurs perspective:
- Spurs win: guarantees a minimum of fourth place.
- Spurs win, Arsenal win: fourth place.
- Spurs win, Arsenal draw or loss: third place.
- Spurs draw, Arsenal loss by two goals or more, Newcastle fail to win: third place.
- Spurs draw, Arsenal loss by two goals or more, Newcastle win: fourth place.
- Spurs draw, Arsenal loss by less than two goals, Newcastle fail to win: fourth place.
- Spurs draw, Arsenal avoid defeat or lose by less than two goals, Newcastle win: fifth place.
- Spurs lose, Newcastle draw or lose: fourth place.
- Spurs lose, Newcastle win: fifth place.
- Obviously, if all three teams lose, the table remains as is: fourth place.
- Spurs are undefeated in 32 of their last 35 home games in the Premier League. They have also kept a clean sheet against Fulham in six of their last eight home fixtures against them in all competitions.
- Fulham have lost on their last three visits to White Hart Lane. In addition to this, they have only scored twice at White Hart Lane in their last six visits.
- If Fulham do manage to pull off a win, they could climb as high as 7th, with 55 points, beating their previous record total of 53. Spurs haven’t beaten a side in the top half of the table since the 5-0 win over Newcastle in February.
- A Spurs win, on the other hand, will mean the club will have earned more points from London derbies (14) than any other club in the league this season. Spurs haven’t lost a Premier League derby at White Hart Lane since 2007, a run of 18 games.
- Spurs have lost just once against Fulham at White Hart Lane in the Premier League era, and kept seven clean sheets in the total of ten games at WHL.
- Scott Parker has made more tackles this season (107) than any player from any other team in the top four. Sadly, he looks likely to miss the last game of the season with an achilles injury, which could even keep him out of Euro 2012.
- Gareth Bale’s shot count is ever-rising. The welshman has now had a whopping 54 shots in his last 13 Premier League games without scoring a goal.
- The absent Clint Dempsey has scored a colossal 39.5% of Fulham’s goals this season.
- The form table suggests that we may not get an easy ride against Fulham, who sit in second place over the last 6 games (WDWLWW). Spurs, comparatively, sit in 11th (DLLWWD).
- Turning to the chances of an Arsenal slip-up later today, they have yet to win a game this season without the absent Mikael Arteta. They will also be without the services of Theo Walcott and Barcary Sagna. The last time Spurs achieved a third place finish in the League, Arsenal drew 2-2 on the final day and Spurs won 2-1, pipping them to 3rd by one point. A repeat of that today would be lovely.
On Twitter: @AEFSpurs.