With Liverpool’s appalling season almost over 4th place in the Premiership is up for grabs tonight at the City of Manchester stadium. It is not quite winner takes all but not far from it. Tottenham go into the game 1 point ahead of their rivals Manchester City with one game to go after tonight. Clinching 4th spot would mean so much to both teams but to differing degrees.
If City can win tonight they will go into Sunday’s game with West Ham 2 points ahead with a better goal difference. All the clubs around them are concerned that if they can guarantee Champions League football they will finally be in a position to attract the best players in the world with their vast finances. The players they have brought in so far seem swayed more by the money than the opportunity to play for the club. If they are playing in the best tournaments the game has to offer they will suddenly have the chance to bring in truly world class performers. This would really open up the top of the league which is not what any of the existing teams in this exclusive group wants.
Tottenham meanwhile have never had a better chance of qualifying for the competition every fan, player and manager has aspired to be part of since its revamped format commenced in 1992. Whilst Spurs have always had money to spend their ability to attract world class players has not been the same as their city neighbours Arsenal and Chelsea. Qualifying for next seasons Champions League would enable spurs to bring in some real quality to add to their youthful squad.
The game should be full of attacking flair with players such as Modric, Lennon, Tevez and Johnson on display. Spurs are not a side capable of going away to play for a draw so it should be an open attacking game from their perspective. The only concern would be Mancini’s Italian influence; City have become a more solid side since Hughes’ departure but they have lost that attacking edge sometimes. They know they cannot afford to lose the game but surely going into it with an intention to win is more advisable.
For the last few years the top 4 have been getting more and more complacent, whilst also getting richer by feeding on the Champions League trough. The fact that there are 2 sides competing for this position for the first time in their histories is a great endorsement for the Premier League. Tottenham have the history after being the first English team to win a trophy in Europe whilst City could be the emerging power to rival Chelsea and Manchester United in the years to come. It is almost a shame that Arsenal have managed to cling onto 3rd place as two new faces representing the Premiership in Europe would be very refreshing. Win or lose City will spend a fortune this summer so for purely football reasons purists should be hoping for a spurs win tonight.