The battle for Champions League spots


by Steve Fahey


In between watching the Test cricket, I this morning witnessed the latest round in the Wigan miracle, as they followed up knocking off Man U by beating Arsenal at Emirates (Arsenal’s home).  One has to admire Wigan – as the calendar year started they were anchored at the bottom of the EPL table, with the least number of goals scored at that stage by any team in EPL history.  Most experts were talking about which other two clubs will join them in relegation.


They started gathering a few points and found some hope, and are now regularly knocking off the top teams who enjoy substantially deeper lists and deeper pockets.  They are now five points clear of the drop zone.  A banner in the crowd at every one of Wigan’s games reads simply but powerfully “Keep the faith.”  Indeed.

As well as making Wigan appear highly likely to avoid the drop, the game opens up the battle for the Champions League spots which offer prestige, elite competition and are estimated to be worth 50 million quid to those that qualify.  Man U and Man City have their spots stitched up.  Remarkably my team, Spurs,  are still some chance of finsihing third and getting the final automatic spot in the Champions League, and certainly should be able to hang on to fourth, and a play-off round for a Champions League spot, despite an incredible run of recent poor form.

The important part of the table now reads Arsenal 64 Spurs 59 Newcastle 59 Chelsea 57

The remaining games are :

Arsenal : Chelsea H, Stoke A, Norwich H, WBA A

Tottenham: QPR A, Blackburn H, Bolton A, Aston Villa A, Fulham H (the first three currently sit 17, 19, 18)

Newcastle : Stoke H, Wigan A, Chelsea A, Man City H, Everton A

Chelsea : Arsenal A, QPR H, Newcastle H, Liverpool A, Blackburn H

Fingers crossed, and it may be a blessing to be out of the FA Cup !!  COME ON YOU SPURS !!

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    Steve,

    Why Spurs?

    I’m Chelsea. Why? Because of Bill Oddie.

    Cheers,

    PJF

  2. Peter

    You may be able to answer a question that’s nagged me for years. Why did Chelsea figure so much in Goodies epidodes and why were they such a figure of fun in the show?

    Was it just Bill O ,was it all the Goodies, and were Chelsea a poorly peforming side at the time.

    Good luck Steve, run home looks very promising

    Sean

  3. I am peeved Steve.

    Arsenal decided to punish QPR for beating them last week and lay down against the Lactics this morning.

    We now look like being Yo Yo’s.

    We have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea, lost to the Mans by little amounts but have struggled against the weeker teams.

    Thankfully I have Celtic.

  4. Drawn with Newcastle.

  5. Steve Fahey says:

    Flynny

    Growing up watching Match of the Day with Brian Moore in the mid 70s, was attracted by Spurs’ attacking flair and the impressive comb-overs of Alan Gilzean and Ralph Coates, and that was it.

    Thanks for the wishes Sean, on recent form everything will be needed – we still have the attacking falir which has characterised Spurs since the 70s but also still leak goals at an alarming rate, which has always been the other side of the story. I reckon we are the best team to watch if you don’t have a team as there are usually plenty of goals and chances.

    Phantom – I would like QPR to stay up – an ex-colleague of mine has the QPR1 number plates and like many promoted teams they looked the goods in the early part of the season. The last few games always spring some surprises at the bottom of the table, so who knows.

  6. Steve I still have not forgiven “Tottingham” for beating us 1 – nil in the replay of the FA Cup in the early eighties. (Remember when they used to have replays) Bloody Ozzie Ardiles and his bloody song.

    Also around that time we lost the League to Liverpool by goal difference.

    Such is the life of a QPR supporter.

  7. Steve Fahey says:

    I did mean to add earlier, once I learnt that Flynny is a Chelsea man, that I received a text message from my brother yesterday that read :

    I see the boundary umpire from the 79 Grand Final refereed the FA Cup semi final !!!!!

    I did point out that it ended up 5-1 !

  8. Dave Nadel says:

    Difficult position for a Pica, Steve. If it goes down to the wire the final Champions League position could well be between Spurs and Newcastle. As a Magpie supporter my English Team is Newcastle Magpies (although I also have a soft spot for Norwich because my wife was born there) How will you cope if the Spurs eliminate the (English) Pies?

  9. Skip of Skipton says:

    I note that Chelsea are 1-0 up on Barca after the first leg. If Chelsea(big if) go on to win the Champions League, and thus instantly qualify for next seasons tournament, would the third placed EPL team still be an automatic inclusion for next year? Considering the FA Cup semi, it could be another Chelsea spanner in the Tottenham works.

  10. BBC London: Barclays Premier League.

    Queens Park Rangers 1, Tottingham 0.

  11. Steve Fahey says:

    Yes, another huge self-inflicted blow for Spurs. Congrats to QPR and Phantom. I suspect you will need to beat Stoke at home to stay up as the away fixtures at Chelsea and Man City look difficult.

    Hopefully we can assist QPR by beating Blackburn and Bolton, but we would struggle to beat the local Blackburn side in Melbourne at present.

  12. That would be a fine gesture Steve.

    My ‘Goooonars’ brother just rang me all excited as he thought they had blown their chance by drawing with the ‘Chavs’ but was delighted to wake up to the QPR result.

    I will certainly be on the Spurs in the games you mentioned.

    Stoke are looking a bit sus and we seem to do well at home these days. Fortress Loftus.

    Footnote: CHAVS = Council Housing And Violent.

  13. Dave Nadel says:

    And this week Newcastle Magpies are fourth in the Premiers League.

    Floreat Pica

  14. They call them “The Bar Codes” Dave.

    Could suit Eddie’s Brand of Pies as well.

  15. Peter Flynn says:

    Sean,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuNuAwDMrqw

    It doesn’t answer your question but what a morning of football.

  16. Steve Fahey says:

    A couple of more great twists in the tail over the weekend, and finally my Spurs land a win. Wonderful Wigan help us out by routing Newcastle, but Chelsea’s annihilation of QPR gives them a superior goal difference to Spurs and they are only one point in arrears of both Spurs and Newcastle. Gripping stuff.

    Chelsea v Newcastle on Wed night could considerably clarify the situation. I think I would prefer a draw, meaning that if we can beat Bolton the same night we can gain a couple of points on both of them, as well as make Phantom breathe a little easier as QPR lick their wounds.

    The rellegation battle appears to be resolving as Blackburn appear highly likely to join Wolves. Interestingly they played incredibly defensively last night, even once they were behind, leading to the assumption that they were trying to protect their goal difference, which makes no sense when you look at the table. They now have to rely on winning both their remaining games against Wigan at home possible) and Chelsea away (highly unlikely). This leaves Bolton and QPR scrapping for the magic 17th position and avoiding the drop. Good luck Phantom.

    Oh, and of course there is a game involving the two Manchester clubs early tomorrow morning our time which also carries some importance .

  17. I’m on your side all the way Steve. Very pleased you did the job on Blackburn and kept a couple of goals up your sleeve for Bolton.

    I am just hoping that QPR were resting their good players for Stoke and Man City.

  18. Dave Nadel says:

    In the end Steve, you probably weren’t a conflicted Magpie. Spurs didn’t eliminate Newcastle from a chance at Europe. Newcastle eliminated Newcastle. I should put my faith in Magpies that kick oval balls.

  19. Steve Fahey says:

    Thanks Dave, we now have to barrack hard for Bayern on Sat night to ensure our spot. SIlly system, but that’s aniother matter.

    The final rounf of EPL was truly extraordinary viewing While Man City vs QPR rightly got the headlines, I nearly cried when I saw Arsenal’s goals. If Fulop (WBA’s goalie) was a Pakistani cricketer there’d be headlines re an investigation already. Three massive bloopers. bloody hell !

  20. Steve Fahey says:

    bloody hell

  21. Peter Flynn says:

    Drogba=Bartel

  22. Dave Nadel says:

    Chelsea wear blue.
    Chelsea outspend other clubs buying players
    There are questions raised about the legitimacy of Chelsea’s financial backers.

    CONCLUSION. Chelsea are Carlton.

  23. Fulop’s performance had to be seen to be believed. What made it a disgrace was the resdidual importance of the result to North London. Bloody Arsenal. Had a chuckle this morning imagining Spurs barracking for a German club!! Great to see Chelsea finally raise the trophy. Di Matteo must stay.

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