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Tottenham edged out of Champions League berth by North London rivals for second year running
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Spurs pipped to the post by Gunners yet again

By richbrawn1 on May 25th, 2013 in Blow the whistle 21 comments
Spurs pipped to the post by Gunners yet again
Vital winner - Koscielny
Poor old Tottenham. It must feel like Groundhog Day for the boys from White Hart Lane. Yet again, their North London rivals have stolen the last Champions League qualification spot away from them, right at the death. It must be a bitter pill to swallow for the Spurs faithful after another promising season has failed to deliver the ultimate objective.  

Every year now it seems like they are finally going to topple their bitter rivals and push them out of a top four place. But they somehow don’t quite seem able to see it through to the finish. It must be ever so frustrating for the supporters. Especially as, at one point, they had it in their hands, being seven points clear of Arsenal with just ten games remaining. After beating the Gunners in the North London derby on March 3rd, it looked an incredibly tall order for Arséne Wenger’s side to catch them. But Arsenal, to their credit, refused to give up hope. They knew they had to put together a good run if they were going to have any chance of eating up that deficit – and that’s exactly what they did.  

Let’s not forget, Arsenal have been there before. They know what it takes to achieve Champions League qualification and are prepared to go that extra yard to ensure they seal it, year in, year out. Tottenham, on the other hand, must be haunted by their previous failures. Last season of course, they suffered a dramatic collapse toward the back end, having been, at one time, 10 points ahead of Arsenal. The turning point of course was that fateful game in February where they had a 2-0 lead over the Gunners at the Emirates, only to be blown away in the second half as Arsenal came back to win 5-2.  

This was the pivotal game that symbolised how the season was to eventually turn out for Spurs. They crumbled in the end and squandered their 10 point advantage, ending up finishing in fourth place behind their North London rivals. And to make matters worse, Chelsea then went on to claim the final Champions League spot, despite only finishing sixth, by virtue of winning the tournament itself. This meant Tottenham had again been bumped down to the Europa League. It was a most unlucky ending to the season for Spurs since, in any ordinary season, fourth would have been good enough to seal qualification to Europe’s elite competition.  

Then there was of course, the famous lasagne-gate incident of 2006, when Spurs were ahead of Arsenal going into the final game of the season. However, disaster struck, as almost their entire first team was struck down by illness the night before. There was some talk of Tottenham not even being able to field 11 players and it is believed their chairman Daniel Levy tried to get the game postponed, but in the end they took to the field despite their suffering, only to be beaten 2-1 by West Ham. Of course, Arsenal beat Wigan to steal the remaining Champions League spot. It was an unbelievable stroke of bad luck for Martin Jol’s side.  

Sometimes it just seems like fate is conspiring against you and no matter how hard you try, it just isn’t going to happen. It’s only been that one year, in 2010, that Spurs have actually managed to reach the Holy Grail. Arsenal, on the other hand, have now done it an amazing 16 consecutive years, and this season, they did it by the skin of their teeth. After winning seven and drawing two of their remaining games, Wenger’s men had taken pole position in the race for fourth place going into the final match. Spurs had a few slipups in their run in, first losing to Liverpool, at Anfield, after conceding a late penalty. They were then beaten by Fulham at White Hart Lane and drew two of their games in April, against Everton and Wigan.  

Tottenham’s draw against Chelsea on 8th May gave Arsenal the chance to gain the upper hand in the battle for fourth place. And the Gunners snapped up the chance diligently. A win against Wigan in their penultimate game, which subsequently relegated the Latics, moved Arsenal a point ahead of their North London rivals. But with a tough away game against Newcastle on the final day, Wenger’s men knew they could not afford to rest on their laurels. Tottenham were a point behind, with a vastly inferior goal difference to the Gunners, meaning that they needed to beat Sunderland in their final fixture and hope their rivals slipped up.  

After a tense 45 minutes, both games were still level at 0-0. This result would have put Arsenal into the Champions League. But the way the season had gone, they knew the chances are that PFA and FWA Player of the Year, Gareth Bale, would pop up with a late goal for Tottenham. He nearly always does. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the Gunners knew they had to get a goal.

In the 52nd minute, the Arsenal fans breathed a huge sigh of relief as Laurent Koscielny turned in Lukas Podolski’s header. This meant that even if Tottenham did get a goal against Sunderland, they could do nothing to prevent Arsenal finishing above them. Although Bale did, of course, manage to score a sensational last minute goal for Tottenham, sadly it was not enough, as they once again saw their Champions League dreams crushed at the hands of their arch enemies.  

So what is this hoodoo Arsenal seem to have over Tottenham? The odds were certainly stacked against them this season after losing their top player, Robin van Persie, to Manchester United over the summer. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s star man, Bale, has been in scintillating form all season, proving to be every bit as valuable to them as van Persie was to Arsenal last season. Yet somehow, despite this, Arsenal were still able to outdo their rivals.  

It could have a lot to do with mentality. For the Gunners, qualifying for the Champions League is seen as an absolute must. After the success of the early years under Wenger, Arsenal have struggled to maintain their trophy winning aspirations, but achieving Champions League qualification is really a minimum requirement. The fans demand it, as does the club itself.  

For Tottenham, the outlook is very different. A top four place for them is seen as more of a hope than an expectation. It’s something they feel they can accomplish and it’s clearly something they desperately want. However, when it comes to the crunch, there does seem to be something missing. Perhaps it’s the belief that they can do it, after coming so close in previous seasons and faltering in the final furlong.  

Now they have once again retained their status as a Champions League club, Arsenal will look to take advantage of this, along with the extra revenue coming in through kit deals and sponsorship, to really push on to the next level and leave their North London neighbours trailing in their wake. But in order to do this, Wenger will have to be prepared to get the cheque book out this summer and acquire some top quality talent to bolster his squad.  

Tottenham will once again have to settle for Europa League competition, just as they did last season. They’ll also have to turn their attentions to the vital task of keeping Bale at the club, amidst the vast array of offers that will inevitably to come in for him. Should they lose Bale and Arsenal add some more Champions League quality players to their side, it could well be a while before Spurs are able to get this close to their North London rivals again.
By richbrawn1 on May 25th, 2013 in Blow the whistle

Spurs pipped to the post by Gunners yet again
21 responses
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Quincey
11 Sep, 2013
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26 Sep, 2013
Why oh! why did Wenger pick the same side against Roma that felaid to score in 4/5 gamesHe had two scorers on the bench waiting for over an hour, until it was too lateSurly he would have been better to pack the attack , get the goal and then close the defenseps Bentner has not got takes in front of the goal, why not re-train him as a centre-back, he has most of the qualities required
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26 Sep, 2013
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28 Sep, 2013
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Diovana
29 Sep, 2013
Why oh! why did Wenger pick the same side against Roma that faeild to score in 4/5 gamesHe had two scorers on the bench waiting for over an hour, until it was too lateSurly he would have been better to pack the attack , get the goal and then close the defenseps Bentner has not got takes in front of the goal, why not re-train him as a centre-back, he has most of the qualities required http://ojnbhjs.com [url=http://dbysczu.com]dbysczu[/url] [link=http://cpwuch.com]cpwuch[/link]
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