A shaky start to a critical week for Spurs, adds pressure to Pochettino’s side.
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 4, 2016
After Leicester City being held to a point at home on Tuesday night, Tottenham had a chance to go top for the first time this season with a win away to London rivals West Ham United. Pochettino’s men were on a high, looking to make it seven straight wins in a row in the league. As well as this, Spurs had not lost an away game since the opening day of the season to Manchester United. Unfortunately for all the Spurs fans out there, the Lilywhites failed to take any points from the Boleyn Ground, in which could be seen as the team’s worst performance of the season. Spurs got off to a slow start, which would go on to cost them the game, as Nacer Chadli’s sloppy back pass went out for a corner, where Michail Antonio was able to net home, with the Englishmen in fine form in recent weeks.
Knowing what lied ahead, Spurs came into this week very nervous. After scraping a 2-1 victory over Swansea City, Spurs’ next three fixtures would see them face West Ham United, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. A pivotal week, in which could make or break the season of Mauricio Pochettino. But it didn’t start at all well for Spurs, with a worrying 1-0 defeat, in which we struggled to create a variety of chances, or really test the West Ham goal. Talisman Harry Kane, also failing to score in another game, goes into an upcoming derby in which saw him net twice last season at the Lane. Kane will want to see the back of this mini ‘goal drought’ and look to get back into scoring ways to help Spurs as much as possible towards the end of the title race.
Not all things were bad in the Spurs camp after full time, as title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City took huge blows as well. Arsenal, losing to relegation contenders Swansea City, at home, will not leave Arsenal fans happy and confident coming it not his upcoming North London derby. Especially with start keeper, Petr Čech picking up a hysterical injury in the dying stages of the game. It means that Spurs, with a win, can open the gap between close rivals Arsenal to six points with a win on the weekend. Fellow contenders Manchester City also blew the chance to close the gap on Leicester with a demoralising 3-0 defeat top Liverpool, where they now sit level on points at fourth place, with Manchester United. Fortunate for City, they currently have one game I hand.
This now means that this week’s North London derby, between Spurs and Arsenal, becomes an even more important and decisive role in the race for the title. If Spurs can come away with all three points, it seems highly likely that they will have narrowed down the race to them and Leicester, who are having an unbelievable fairy-tale season. Going into the game, both teams have several key injuries. Tottenham’s Mousa Dembélé side-lined, but Pochettino had stated that he could stand a chance in featuring. Youngster Dele Alli was rumoured to have picked up a knock in training midweek but featured for a solid amount of time in the defeat to West Ham. Whilst one-half of the Belgian duo, Jan Vertonghen, is still ruled out with an injury suffered months back at Crystal Palace. Tottenham will be looking to take all three points this week at Arsenal, as they come into the game with a higher confidence level.
Topping off a what will be a hectic week, Spurs face an away trip to Dortmund in Germany. The German giants are riding high in the Bundesliga currently, with one of the hottest strikers around, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was scored 22 goals in 23 games this season in the Bundesliga. It will be interesting to see who Pochettino decides to start or rest for that Europa League knockout tie, as the majority of the first team will possibly be tired with the amount of adrenaline and effort they will have put into the two league games. Whoever is chosen will be expected to give 100% and, at least, allow us to come back and take Dortmund to the Lane with a chance of progressing.