Tottering Tottenham in big danger of losing out
It looks like the ‘Big Six’ in the race for the Premiership has become the ‘Big Five’ with Tottenham, so promising in the opening weeks of the campaign, now stuttering and dropping off the hot pace set by north London rivals Arsenal.
True, Spurs are still well in touch, actually a point ahead of 5/2 favourites, Manchester City (who they meet at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday), but they have become less and less impressive with each game, especially up front, where a return of just nine goals from eleven games is deeply disappointing.
City remain at the head of the market, despite suffering their fourth defeat of the season away at Sunderland a fortnight ago, that shock result less damaging in the light of similar setbacks for Arsenal (at Man United), Chelsea (lucky to grab a draw at home to West Brom) and Spurs, who lost at home to Newcastle.
Chelsea and Arsenal share second favouritism at 7/2 ahead of United (9/2) and Liverpool (13/2), but now there’s a big gap to Andre Villas-Boas’s side on 33/1.
Spurs need to start scoring more goals soon if they are to seriously stay in the title race or even remain candidates for a Champions League spot (they are now out to 2/1). Indeed, if they don’t buck their ideas up, they are in danger of ending the season out of the top six with both Southampton and Everton continuing to impress and likely to stick around..
Everybody seems to be expecting the Saints and the Toffees to fall away, but there is growing substance behind both challenges; Coral now have Everton on 9/1 to finish in the top four, while Southampton have shortened to 14/1.
At the bottom, Crystal Palace are showing plenty of spirit, but still looked doomed (1/16 to be relegated with Coral).
But Sunderland’s great win over City, while still leaving them second bottom, will have done wonders for morale at the Stadium of Light and Gus Poyet will be looking for another gutsy display at Stoke on Saturday.
The Black Cats remain evens to go down, but Fulham, Norwich (both 2/1), Cardiff (9/4), Hull (100/30), Stoke (4/1) and even West Ham (7/1) are all very much in the danger zone, too.
It wouldn’t take much of a bad run to drag the likes of Newcastle (16/1) and Aston Villa (20/1), both seemingly comfortable in mid-table, into the relegation scrap either. With almost three quarters of the season still to run, no team outside the top eight can be sure of safety.