In short, Survival Sunday means absolutely everything for Tottenham Hotspur. A win against Fulham at White Hart Lane will, at the very least, make Spurs favorites to once again earn Champions League. A draw or a loss, however, could mean more than just those "Spursdays Thursdays" I've often joked about during the current campaign. Failing to earn Champions League football could mean the beginning of the end of this particular Tottenham squad, one that, back on January 1, was actually thought by some to be real title contenders. The 2011-12 Tottenham roller coaster docks for good on Sunday.
Let's hope for a safe stop.
What Survival Sunday means for Tottenham Hotspur: The table
Manchester City and Manchester United clinched spots one and two in the Premier League table awhile back. Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle United will be playing for third and fourth place. The Gunners enter Sunday as the team with total control of their destiny. They are on 67 points. Spurs are on 66 points, and Newcastle are on 65.
What Survival Sunday means for Tottenham Hotspur: Possible results
A Tottenham win at home coupled with either Arsenal losing to or tying West Brom (Arsenal and Newcastle are both away on Survival Sunday) would guarantee third place for Spurs. Things get interesting, however, when you consider the possibility of Arsenal and Tottenham finishing the season level on 67 points. Arsenal currently have a goal difference of +24, while Spurs have a goal difference of +23. If Arsenal lose 1-0 to West Brom AND Spurs tie Fulham, the teams would finish level on points and goal difference. Arsenal would then earn third place based on total goals scored (maybe, but more on that in a bit). Assume for a moment, however, that Arsenal lose by two goals on Sunday AND Spurs tie Fulham. Both teams would be level on points, but Spurs would have the goal difference advantage.
To summarize, a Tottenham draw on Sunday isn't a guaranteed disastrous result for Spurs; unless Newcastle win.
What Survival Sunday means for Tottenham Hotspur: If Spurs don't win
A Tottenham-Fulham draw would put Spurs on 67 points. This means Tottenham would need Arsenal to lose by two goals or more to jump up to third place. That wouldn't happen, however, if Newcastle went on to defeat Everton, as Newcastle would then be on 68 points. A Newcastle draw coupled with a Spurs loss would earn Tottenham fourth place based on goal difference (barring an historic collapse from Spurs, one that resulted in them getting shelled at home).
What Survival Sunday means for Tottenham Hotspur: Summary
A Spurs win guarantees them a fourth place finish, and could result in them finishing in third if Arsenal draw or lose. A Spurs tie could land them in either third, fourth or fifth place depending on the Newcastle and Arsenal results. A Spurs loss guarantees them a fourth place at best finish, and they'd go down to fifth only if Newcastle defeat Everton.
My head is starting to hurt.
One final significant note. A fourth place finish will only earn Tottenham, Arsenal or Newcastle Champions League if Bayern Munich defeat Chelsea on May 19. A Chelsea win on that day will relegate the fourth place finishers to Thursday night Europa League matches.
What Survival Sunday means for Tottenham Hotspur: Overall
Fans of City, United, Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle all have reason to scoreboard watch on Sunday. Only if Tottenham fail to beat Fulham does the day change from exciting to "I may be minutes away from an emotional collapse" for Spurs supporters. Those in the United States have access to all "meaningful" Premier League games taking place on May 13. A full TV schedule for Survival Sunday can be found here.