By Tony Ngare
Newcastle United has surprised everyone including themselves. In January they were handed a 5-2 spanking by Fulham. Three weeks later they made another visit to London and Tottenham annihilated them 5-0. Had one talked of Champions League prospects at that stage for Newcastle, I would have personally advocated for a special kitty for that person to go to rehab.
With the English Premiership race looking more like a concluded race, the focus now shifts to the scramble for the fourth and the final Champions League slot.
Weeks back Tottenham were actually touting themselves as the âthirdâ force. If you are conversant with our local politics you must have come to realize that the so called âthirdâ forces or options are variants of groups that consider them less immoral than the incumbent and the biggest opposition.
With Man United as the incumbents and Man City cruising on petrodollars, many neutral fans sickened by watching Arsenal and Chelseaâs inability to mount a strong bid against Man United would have loved to see Tottenham succeed. But itâs no longer the case.
Actually, Tottenhamâs main pre-occupation now has got to do with winning the FA Cup and retaining fourth position. But itâs not a walk in the park.
To get to the finals, Tottenham have to get past Chelsea this Sunday. You can rest assured that it will be as nervy as it can possibly get seeing that thatâs one of the main trophies that either team can reasonably target without fear of ill conceived fantasy.
Tottenham fans have now lost out on the dream of watching their team lift the English Premier League for the first time since eons ago. Even that consolation prize of finishing above bitter and North London neighbours Arsenal is looking a like a mirage. One win in eight games does not lie and it is a damning indictment of the diminishing quality of a team that somehow still finds itself in fourth position.
Last season, a run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League epitomised Tottenham manager Harry Redknappâs insistence on having a âreal good goâ at anyone they encountered.
Europe became the priority but after exiting at the hands of Real Madrid, league form dipped to the point where even a Europa League finish was under threat. Spurs won just seven of their last 18 league games.
It is the same story in 2012. Since the draw with Wolves in January, Tottenham have won just three Premier League games. That was around the exact same time the media began touting Spurs for the title. They fell away and swiftly dropped off the pace for third. Now the unthinkable is looming.
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