AHEAD OF SEA­SON’S END

An­swers await­ing head­ing into the penul­ti­mate week­end

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON guys have their par­ties.”

TOT­TEN­HAM had hoped their fi­nal home game at White Hart Lane would take place with the team still in the thick of the ti­tle race.

In­stead, fol­low­ing last week­end’s 1-0 de­feat at West Ham United, the like­li­hood is that by the time Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s men kick off against Manch­ester United, Chelsea will have al­ready cap­tured the crown.

Nev­er­the­less, Sun­day’s game is an op­por­tu­nity to bid good­bye to White Hart Lane, the club’s home since 1899, with a 14th con­sec­u­tive home vic­tory in the league.

It would equal the club record and set a new mark for suc­ces­sive home league wins within the same cam­paign.

Spurs will play at Wem­b­ley next sea­son be­fore mov­ing into their new sta­dium, which is be­ing built on the site of their cur­rent home, in Au­gust 2018.

THIRD and fourth in the ta­ble ahead of the week­end’s matches, Liver­pool and Manch­ester City know they can guar­an­tee a top-four fin­ish — and with it a Cham­pi­ons League qualifying berth — if they win their re­main­ing games.

Liver­pool visit West Ham, a team they have not beaten in five en­coun­ters, on Sun­day, while City host out­go­ing cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City to­mor­row.

Asked how Liver­pool would feel if they missed out on a place in the top four, where they have spent the vast bulk of the sea­son, vice-cap­tain James Mil­ner said: “Sick.”

“This is a team and a club that need to be in the Cham­pi­ons League,” he added.

“We have got to win the last two and see where that takes us.”

Arse­nal, three points be­low City in fifth place af­ter Wed­nes­day’s 2-0 win at Southamp­ton, and Manch­ester United, a point fur­ther back in sixth, are both reliant on their ri­vals drop­ping points.

HULL City’s un­ex­pected 2-0 de­feat at home to rel­e­gated Sun­der­land last week­end, cou­pled with Swansea City’s

1-0 vic­tory over Ever­ton, left Marco Silva’s side the prime can­di­dates to fill the sole re­main­ing rel­e­ga­tion spot.

A point be­low

Swansea in 18th place, Hull will be rel­e­gated along with Sun­der­land and Mid­dles­brough if they lose at Crys­tal Palace on Sun­day and Swansea beat Sun­der­land to­mor­row.

“This squad of boys, the core is spe­cial and we need to dig deep now,” for­mer Dundee United left­back Andy Robert­son told Tigers TV, Hull’s in-house tele­vi­sion chan­nel.

“If we can do that, I am sure we can hope­fully get pos­i­tive

Reuters re­sults in the next two games. And at the end of the sea­son be above that line.”

IF Palace can avoid de­feat at home to Hull, they will guar­an­tee safety for both them­selves and Wat­ford and Burn­ley, both of whom would be be­yond Hull’s reach.

But Wat­ford and Burn­ley are in con­trol of their own des­tinies and can se­cure sur­vival by avoid­ing de­feat at Ever­ton and Bournemouth re­spec­tively. AFP

REUTERS PIC

Liver­pool’s Philippe Coutinho in ac­tion against Southamp­ton dur­ing their Premier League match last Sun­day.

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