COMMENTARY | For Tottenham Hotspur, the waiting is about to become the hardest part.
Spurs are going to have some time off following Thursday's Europa League showdown with Basel. After Chelsea advanced to the semifinal round of the FA Cup, Tottenham's April 14 trip to Stamford Bridge was moved to what is right now an unknown date. That means that, after April 11, Spurs won't be in action until they host Manchester City on April 21.
That's good news for manager Andre Villas-Boas in that he has a very banged up squad at the moment. Gareth Bale (ankle), Aaron Lennon (knee), William Gallas (calf) and Jermain Defoe (muscle injury) are all unavailable for the Basel game. It's not yet known for sure if one or any of those players will be fully fit for the City match.
As usual with Tottenham, no good news comes without at least some misfortune. Spurs are currently fourth in the Premier League table after having played 32 contests, level on points with Chelsea and just two points ahead of rivals Arsenal. Tottenham also trail City by just seven points, but second place should be far from the minds of anybody at White Hart Lane in the middle of April.
Truth is, Spurs will likely be in fifth place when they next play a Premier League match.
Arsenal host Norwich City on April 13. Norwich are currently 14th in the league table, they are only four points clear of the drop zone, and they've only won when away once this season. At the risk of potentially jinxing it for the Gunners, I'm going to assume that Arsenal will pick up all three points this coming weekend. Arsenal will then host Everton, who gave Spurs quite a fight at the Lane this past weekend, on April 16. Arsenal are away to Fulham on April 20.
The best-case scenario for Spurs realistically speaking is that Arsenal will earn somewhere between four and five points between the posting of this piece and April 21. That would put Arsenal on 60-61 points after 34 league games. In Tottenham's nightmare situation, Arsenal will be on 65 points when Spurs vs. City kicks off.
Things don't get much better for Spurs after April 21. They are away to Wigan, a team that will be fighting for Premier League survival, on April 27. That probably won't be an easy match for AVB's squad, as this is that magical time of year when Wigan turn it on and begin playing their best football of the season. One day after that, Arsenal host Manchester United. Depending on what happens between now and April 28, United could have the league title all-but won before the end of the month.
There is, of course, nothing Spurs can do about how well or how poorly any other side plays. All they can do is take care of their own business and hope for the best. With this unexpected lull in their schedule, they'll have to wait a little longer than originally planned before they have a chance to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
It will be a long and nervy wait indeed.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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