Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Crunch Time For London Trio

In one of the most exciting Premier League season's for many a year, three London teams know that there is no more room for slip ups as we approach the business end of the season. North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are preparing for tonights clash at White Hart Lane knowing that neither team can afford to drop too many more points before the season end if they are to see their ambitions fulfilled. Results are all that matter now.

At the same time, Chelsea host tonight's visitors Birmingham City, in the full knowledge that they too require close to maximum points in their remaining games if this season is to produce silverware. To make matters more difficult for Chelsea, their visitors know that an unexpected win would virtually guarantee them top flight survival and another season amongst the elite of English football. The scene is set for an interesting night's action.

In many ways, the team with the most to lose has to be Arsenal. Another season without any trophies would surely put even Arsene Wenger under increased pressure from frustrated fans. No team has a right to success, but at The Emirates previous successes have resulted in very high expectations. Six years without a trophy is not seen as good enough.

Arsenal are surely on their last lifeline for this season. Their inability to hold onto an injury time lead against Liverpool on Sunday looked to have ended their slim chances of catching Manchester United. However, an impressive display by Newcastle United last night saw Manchester United dropping two more points, and more importantly leaving the door very slightly ajar for Arsenal and Chelsea.

At least the Arsenal fans are managing to maintain their humour during this run in. A half time text from an Arsenal fan during the Newcastle and Man Utd game, posted on the BBC live update service, said "Call themselves champions? We were 4-0 up by this stage!" Unfortunately for the Arsenal fans, Man Utd's second half performance did not match the Gunners second half display at St James's either! It is doubtful that the Gooners will be in such good humour if they collect anything other than three points tonight!

It is hard to say whether the fact that tonight's game is a local derby will help or hinder Arsenal. What is for certain is that their oppenents, Tottenham Hotspur, will be playing for far more than local pride. Sitting three points behind Man City with a game in hand, Spurs know that they have a battle on their hands to secure another Champion's League spot. Having tasted the excitement of life at the top table this season, Spurs will be keen for a repeat next year. They also know that Man City have arguably an easier run-in and will be buoyed by their F.A. Cup success. The pressure is already starting to show at White Hart Lane with calls for the Man City v Stoke league game to be re-arranged. They know they are in a close battle and they will certainly be up for the fight tonight.

Chelsea have the advantage of three home games in a row, beginning with tonights game against Birmingham. Having experienced such a poor mid-season, Chelsea must make the most of this unexpected involvement in the title run-in. They are not without their problems, especially surrounding Fernando Torres' inability to score. However, all of that must be put to one side as they seek to take maximum points from their remaining games. That means that it is vital they win tonight. Its a cliche, but every game is a cup final now for Chelsea.

The biggest advantage that both Arsenal and Chelsea have, and probably the one thing keeping each of them in the title race, is that both teams are still to face Man Utd. Should both teams manage a win against Sir Alex's team then it is definately a case of game on. However, no matter how valiantly they perform against the Red Devils, it will all be for nothing if they fail to take maximum points from their other games. Man Utd have the title in their own hands. Anything other than full points tonight from Chelsea and Arsenal and they may have been gifted the title. Bring on the action!

1 comment:

  1. Well Chelsea did what they needed to with a 3-1 win, but with Arsenal down to 3rd and still 6 points behind the leaders I think Tottenham will have the happier fans in North London tonight after the 3-3 draw.


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