Tottenham Hotspur shouldn't have needed much, if any, motivation heading into Sunday's showdown with Aston Villa. Everything changed for Spurs on Saturday, though, when Arsenal failed to take care of business at the Emirates against Norwich City. Tottenham now face a two-game season, one that will land them in Champions League next fall if they manage to earn six points over the next eight days. Spurs no longer have to prove that they can "hang with" the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. Beating Villa and Fulham to end the campaign will do just fine.
3 thoughts heading into Aston Villa vs. Spurs: The ignored
Tottenham's pursuit of third place and Champions League football was the significant story leading into this contest even before the Arsenal vs. Norwich result. Don't forget about Sunday's hosts, who also have plenty for which to play. Villa haven't won since March 10, and they are currently just three points safe of the relegation zone. Sunday will also be the final time they play at Villa Park this season (they are away to Norwich on Survival Sunday). This game isn't going to be merely a training session for a Spurs side that is "destined" for Champions League. Tottenham are going to have to work to earn six points during the next two weekends.
3 thoughts heading into Aston Villa vs. Spurs: Welcome back
I was very impressed with how well Sandro played in Tottenham's previous two matches. I also believe Scott Parker, who has been sidelined due to a bum ankle, needed a bit of a rest. With all of that said, Spurs will be involved in what is essentially one of (hopefully) two playoff games this weekend, and I want Parker on the pitch in those "win and we're in" contests. Parker's ability to both halt attacks and then start things for Spurs on the counter have been missed. It also won't hurt having an in-form Sandro as an available option during the second half of the match. All of this is assuming that Parker will be fully fit and ready to go come kickoff.
3 thoughts heading into Aston Villa vs. Spurs: Prediction
Spurs haven't lost in their previous six encounters with Villa. I don't see any reason why that trend should change this weekend. A draw won't do for Tottenham this time around, though. Watching Arsenal fail to hold onto the lead against Norwich was fun and all, but Spurs must remember that fourth place guarantees them nothing at this point but Thursday night Europa League football. Thanks, but no thanks.
We've seen a different Tottenham side since April 29. Nothing breeds confidence like winning, and Spurs have downed two consecutive opponents. They've also looked like the team from last fall in the process. No team, not Arsenal, Newcastle or Chelsea, can now take Champions League away from Tottenham. A true top-three side closes out the season with statement victories against Villa and Fulham. I expect Spurs to complete part one of the mission on Sunday with a solid 2-0 win.
It's time to Harry Redknapp to prove the FA wrong.
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