Every so often, a match just plays out perfectly, and for Tottenham Hotspur it could not have come at a better time. Thursday’s North London Dunking on Arsenal keeps the dream of fourth place alive, and the two rivals are in completely separate headspaces going into the final two weeks. Spurs still need some help, but this race is truly open.
Tottenham almost certainly needs all six remaining points in order to reach the Champions League, and that is quite doable with Burnley and Norwich both near the bottom of the table. The Clarets are fighting to stay up and have everything to play for as well, but given Spurs recent form against both Liverpool and Arsenal, odds are with the home side.
The memes would never end should Arsenal falter and Spurs still fail to capitalize, but something feels different about this squad right now. While Tottenham is definitely the underdog to take fourth place, all arrows at pointing up right now. Control what can be controlled and trust that everything else will be sorted.
Tottenham Hotspur (5th, 65pts) vs. Burnley (t-17th, 34pts)
Date: Sunday, May 15
time: 7:00am ET, 12:00pm UK
location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: USA Network (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK)
Burnley is level on points with 17th-place Leeds, but does enter the weekend with a match in hand, so while the visitors will of course savor any sort of result, they will still have to keep a crucial week ahead in mind. Still, most Spurs supporters will think back to the uninspired 1-0 loss at Turf Moor from February and wonder if this is another trap.
That match was in the same mold as the recent Brighton and Brentford struggles, failing to generate any sort of attack and succumbing to a set piece goal. The defense has been extremely sharp in open play as of late, but it will again require some fluidity in the middle of the park and ruthlessness in the final third in order to find success.
No need to reinvent the wheel here: Spurs need Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son to continue boosting this team forward. The latter has a legitimate shot at the Golden Boot, and though Burnley offers a decent defense, the Tottenham attacker is in outstanding form and left the pitch Thursday desperate for more goals. Hard to believe he won’t get some quality chances on Sunday.
- It looked like a disaster waiting to happen when it was revealed that Cristian Romero was out injured, but the early lead and red card made the backline somewhat moot. Still, the marauding centerback has surprisingly been a big part of the attack, and Spurs need all the threats they can get this weekend. Davinson Sanchez did alright in his stead — and even played a role in the third goal — but he will have to display a more consistent attacking mindset against a side like Burnley.
- The February loss was a makeup from the postponed game a few months prior, and it was actually the second time the sides had met this season. Lucas Moura finished off a quality team goal in the Fourth Round of the League Cup, and though a win by any means would be great at this point, Spurs are hoping for something more comfortable than a one-goal margin.
- Arsenal travels to a Newcastle side with little to play for, coming off of back-to-back losses to the top two teams in the table. Four straight wins preceded that, however, and in the aftermath of Thursday’s derby, this could be the break Tottenham needs. Spurs will jump back into fourth if Arsenal fails to match the Burnley result on Monday.