Spurs cannot afford to lose as many as delusional Sherwood thinks
“Maths isn’t my strong point,” Tottenham Hotspur head coach Tim Sherwood admitted, “but I would say you can afford to lose another four or five out of what we have got left.”
That is a bold claim indeed as Spurs’ goal this term is to get back into the Champions League. In the last five seasons, a total point’s tally of 73 has invariably been enough to guarantee a top-four finish. Tottenham are now 2/1, in from 5/2, to end the current campaign there.
Crunching the numbers on Sherwood’s behalf, he is leaving Hotspur with no room for further mistakes if he is prepared to let 12-15 points slip away from the remaining 39 on offer. In short, should they lose four or five, Spurs will have to win every other Premier League outing to realise their ambitions.
Tottenham are still battling on two fronts and Coral make them 8/1 second favourites behind Juventus to win the Europa League – a competition in recent seasons they have had to settle for playing in. Should they enjoy an extended run in Europe, it may be realistic of Sherwood to expect that to take a toll on their top-flight form.
March, in particular, looks demanding for Spurs. If they come through their round of 32 clash with Ukrainian outfit Dnipro as anticipated, it is likely they will face Benfica in the last 16. That lines up a run of six successive unforgiving fixtures that will make or break their season.
Starting with a trip to Chelsea on March 8th, Tottenham then tackle a third north London derby of the campaign with Arsenal, sandwiched between the two legs of their prospective Benfica battle. Current top-eight team Southampton also visit White Hart Lane, before this mad month ends at Anfield where Liverpool have been so impressive recently.
Hotspur are losing Jermain Defoe, their top-scorer in Europe, at the end of February too when he completes his move to Major League Soccer franchise Toronto FC. So much depends on a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor now.
If Newcastle United also take points off Tottenham as they did in the reverse fixture thanks to an outstanding they-shall-not-pass performance from keeper Tim Krul, then Sherwood’s side can be sure of nothing.
Alan Pardew’s Toon are a tempting 11/5 to do the double over Hotspur and 12/5 to hold them to a draw at St James’ Park. The visitors are a 13/10 chance for a win on Tyneside.
Losing five Premier League encounters and winning all their others would put Spurs on a final total of 71 points. That has only been enough for a top-four finish in three of the last five seasons.
Managerial novice Sherwood must learn to give himself a little more leeway in his plans then. It’s back to the drawing board for Hotspur’s head coach.