On a day that hosts a hugely immense fixture between London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham, news have filtered in on the retirement of perhaps the greatest manager ever in football Sir Alex Ferguson when the season draws to a close. Tributes have been flowing from all corners of the football world. As expected, Footynyx will have an extensive tribute on the great man as well as indepth analysis on his successor as soon as he is announced.
Usually at this time of the season, we have huge games at the top that determines the destination of the Premier league title. The importance of tonight’s fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford bridge is of similar importance. Qualification for next season’s Uefa Champions league is at stake. With that comes lots of money and the allure to attract big time players who want to play in the biggest club competition in the world. For Chelsea, the task is simple. Win tonight and barring any other significant erosion into their goal difference column, they are guaranteed a place in next season’s champions league. For Tottenham, the consequences of losing tonight would be severely dire. Last season, they were unable to compete in the champions league despite finishing in fourth place after Chelsea won the competition. Chelsea finished outside the top four but were given a wild card back into the competition as defending champions after their historic victory in Munich at Tottenham’s expense. The heartbreak was overwhelming considering the fact Tottenham occupied third place for so much of last season and had their destiny firmly in their hands till they threw it away. That failure saw the exits of notable names such as Rafael Van Der Vaart and talismanic midfield maestro Luka Modric. No big name signing to add an extra bit of star dust came in. Signs are if they lose tonight and fail to qualify for next season’s competition, man of the moment and PFA player of the year Gareth Bale would certainly be on his way out.
- Tottenham’s manager Andre Villas Boas would be revved up for this match. Discarded after nine months at Chelsea, he returns for the first time after he was axed in March 2012. He still feels aggrieved at the manner of his dismissal stating that he was not allowed to complete the ‘project’ he started at Chelsea. What better way to prove his Stamford Bridge detractors wrong by beating them tonight and stopping them from making it to the Champions league. The task facing Spurs is daunting though. They haven’t won at the bridge in the league in 23 years and in 67 previous meetings with the Blues, Spurs have only won 19 times with Chelsea besting them on 32 occasions and on current form, Chelsea have won their last six consecutive games at home.
One to watch: Spurs need their Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale to step up again. He’s their diamond in the dirt and if they are to do anything special tonight, they must feed the ball constantly to him to test the Chelsea backline. He’s a scorer of important goals and his goal in the dying embers of saturday’s game against Southampton proves that as was his late goals against West Ham at Upton park and West Brom at the Hawthorns. Indeed with his 13 goals away from White Hart Lane, the stats show that no player has scored more goals away from home this season in the Premier league. The Spurs fans will be hoping that away goal scoring run continues.
- Prediction: An extremely tough one to call. I expect a very feisty London derby. Fast paced and end to end as the game becomes stretched. On current form, many expect Chelsea to nick it but I might lean slightly to Spurs for this one. AVB will be highly motivated for this fixture and it would rub off on the players. If they can handle the pressure I sense Spurs might just scrape this match narrowly by recording 2-1 victory. Footynyx.