–Spurs Aim to boost Europa League hopes against faltering city
Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino may not see the Europa League as an attractive prospect but his side could take a big step towards qualification with victory over Manchester City today.
Spurs lie sixth, level with Liverpool and a point ahead of Southampton with the Champions League all but out of their reach, seven points off Manchester United in fourth.
However, a few positive results would almost certainly mean Thursday night football at White Hart Lane next season.
But fans have reason to be cautious about this match, as the fixture often throws up erratic scores, with recent results going in City’s favour by considerable margins.
The Citizens have won each of the past three fixtures between the sides, scoring 15 goals in the process, but their away form has been dreadful of late and they have won just one away match in 2015.
And Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be hampered by the news Yaya Toure looks set to miss Sunday’s match with a hamstring strain, with Vincent Kompany still nursing a muscle injury.
Despite the excellent form of PFA Young Player of the Year Harry Kane this term, many Spurs fans will still be disappointed the club could not mount a more serious challenge.
Pochettino’s side have not been in the top four since August and could even miss out on Europa League football for next season.
But that may in fact please Tottenham’s Argentine manager.
The 43-year-old said recently the tournament was often more trouble than it’s worth: “When you are a team like us, you play in the Europa League and the Premier League, it is difficult to manage.”
Barring a late season collapse, at least two out of Liverpool, Spurs and Saints will qualify for next season’s secondary European competition due to League Cup winners Chelsea already having secured their Champions League place.
And as Arsenal have all but secured a top four finish, an FA Cup final victory for the Gunners would also gift the seventh placed Premiership team a place in next season’s tournament.