Tottenham falls behind in the Champions League race

Tottenham Hotspur spectators leaving White Hart Lane. Photos by Tadhg Ormond.

Tottenham Hotspur lost their first game since Christmas in a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on New Years Day. Spurs lost at White Hart Lane in their home ground which left many of their supporters doubtful of whether they will play in the Champions League next season.

Spurs have lost three of their last five home matches and are currently not on form. The last matches were against Newcastle, Liverpool and their recent stand-off against Aston Villa.

Antonio Conte, Tottenham Hotspur’s manager, has suggested that he may leave the club if they do not improve. The club has not reached an agreement to extend his contract, which leaves major uncertainty that the manager will stay at the club if Spurs doesn’t improve from where they stand in the Premier League.

The North London team are currently fifth place in the Premier League table and are still in reach of entering the top four at the end of the season. Manchester United are currently above them with a five point lead, which means Tottenham will have to win at least two games and Manchester United will have to lose their next two games for Spurs to overtake them.

Four out of their last seven matches have resulted in losses. In benefit of the doubt to the performance of the football team, they are still recovering from the World Cup tournament. The mental drive to perform well in the major international tournament has to be refocused on the Premier league matches. This has taken a toll on their main goalscoring striker, Harry Kane and also the French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who successfully made it to the final to play against Argentina but lost on penalties.

After the match, a young woman enjoyed watching Tottenham play and that, “the experience was good in the stadium”. She did express that when Spurs go “1-0 down, the team just gives up, it’s every game now, it’s just really annoying”. Regarding her thoughts on whether Tottenham can qualify for the Champions League this season, she stated that the teams in the top four of the Premier League “at the moment really need a bad spell”.

Two other Spurs fans who were friends and also watched the match together gave their opinions on how Tottenham played against Aston Villa.

Both of them said that they didn’t enjoy watching the game. The first friend stated that “the quality of play was very, very poor” and this was due to a “lack of confidence” and “I can’t enjoy a game like that”. If Spurs was to qualify for a Champions League place, the opportunity is still available within the transfer window to buy new football players. He further commented that, “if they get three or four decent players in January, then there’s enough within the squad with three or four new players to make the difference”.

The second friend stated his opinion that, “to get in the top four, they need to beat their competitors”. He also added that, “at the moment, on a one-to-one against our competitors, we’ve done poorly”. Tottenham has lost every game to all the teams who hold Champions League positions. They have so far lost to Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle. Spurs have yet to play Manchester City and they will play away at the Etihad Stadium on the 19th of January.

For Tottenham to improve the position that they’re in, the second companion further explained, “on a one-to-one against our main competitors, we need to turn up”. Spurs will need to take points off from Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle and Manchester United in order to weaken their opponents stability in the top four.

These matches will be tough for Tottenham to win. For this to happen, a lot of preparation needs to take place in how the team will be structured. The second interviewee said that, “the manager has to do his magic”. Conte will have to raise the spirit of the team, win more important matches if he really wants to stay at the club. Training is important, however in football the second friend in the interview said, “we just need a little bit more luck”.

Words: Tadhg Ormond | Subbing: Andrea Rezman

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