Tottenham need response in vital north London derby
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 February 2019
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After dropping out of the title race, Spurs' hold on a top-four place suddenly doesn't look so strong with Arsenal in town on Saturday
Tottenham Hotspur are facing up to the prospect of another huge few days with big games against Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund to come over the next week.
Spurs’ faint hopes of winning the Premier League are over after Saturday’s defeat at Burnley was following by Wednesday’s frustrating 2-0 reverse at Chelsea.
As captain Hugo Lloris has said consistency this season, the first target for the N17 club now has to be finishing in the top four.
Once that is achieved, then the north Londoners can look for new aims and this is what makes Saturday important for several reasons.
Not only do Tottenham want to claim bragging rights over the Gunners, they also want to increase the gap between the two arch-rivals.
There is still a long way to go in the battle for Champions League qualification and Spurs know a win this weekend would see them take a massive step towards it.
Arsenal’s form has been mixed since the end of 2018, but they seem close to hitting top gear again.
The Gunners thrashed Bournemouth 5-1 on Wednesday, after beating Southampton and BATE Borisov at home last week, yet in this type of encounter form really goes out of the window, which may be a positive for Spurs at the moment!
While Tottenham triumphed at the Emirates in the quarter-finals of the League Cup on December 19, Unai Emery’s men did claim the league points weeks earlier.
If there is a winner this time, it will go a long way to confirming which club is better this season given it is the third meeting.
Heung-min Son and Dele Alli scored for Spurs in the 2-0 League Cup victory, but the latter is still struggling with a hamstring issue.
Leading man Harry Kane was back at Burnley, though, and will want to continue his fine scoring record against Arsenal in a game which feels must-win for the Lilywhites.
After the 12.30pm kick-off this Saturday at Wembley Stadium, Tottenham turn their focus to Europe’s elite competition.
On Tuesday, Pochettino’s team will be in Germany for the round of 16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund and only qualification to the last-eight will be a success.
The tie seemed too close to call ahead of the original meeting on February 13, but Spurs’ stunning 3-0 win puts them in command.
If they fail to reach the quarter-finals from this position, it will be a disaster and even though the Westfalenstadion is intimidating, Tottenham will back themselves to progress on aggregate now and hope this time next week they have achieved two key results.
However, should they not do so, Spurs will once again be the ‘crisis club’ in the Premier League top-six.