Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Night Football: Spurs close Leicester's gap to five

Stoke City 0-4 Tottenham
Tottenham smelled blood in the water right away, With Leicester's dropped points yesterday, Spurs could gain ground on the leaders with a victory in a difficult Stoke fixture on the road. Harry Kane got the visitors on the board within ten minutes of play through a determined effort that simply out hustled the Stoke defense. After the goal, Tottenham began to play a more passive counter attacking style that let Stoke control the ball. Even with the ball however, Stoke couldn't match the threat posed on the counter by their opponents. Time and time again it looked like Spurs would uncork another goal at any second. Christen Eriksen had the best of the chances in the first half when he rung a shot off the cross bar in the 42nd minute.

The second half looked an awful lot like the first, only Stoke collapsed. Stoke controlled the ball and didn't threaten to score. Tottenham had quick attacks that did threaten. Dele Alli added Spurs' second of the night on a break in the 68th minute that he casually slipped past Shea Given. He should have added another after collecting another through ball and patiently getting by Given to put him alone agaisnt an empty net. He drilled his shot into the side of the post and out for a goal kick, though. Harry Kane did get the third, though. On an eerily similar play, Spurs ended up with a two on the keeper break with Erik Lamela and Kane. Lamela's pass hit Kane in stride for the easy, easy, easy tap in. Alli would get his second on a wonderful half volley in the 82nd minute. Not that his side needed it.

Tottenham has now closed the gap on Leicester City with four matches remaining. Things are still in the Foxes' favor, but they will have to play at least their next match without Jamie Vardy. Here are Leicester's remaining games;

Swansea (H)
Manchester United (A)
Everton (H)
Chelsea (A)

And Tottenham:

West Brom (H)
Chelsea (A)
Southampton (H)
Newcastle (A)

Leicester have a slightly tougher go of things, mostly because of that trip to Old Trafford, probably without their leading scorer. They will need eight points from those four to win it all if Tottenham wins out. I see them winning the two home matches regardless of Vardy's status and probably pulling a draw against Chelsea for a total of seven points.

Tottenham would then need to win out to collect the title on goal difference, which Leicester will not catch them on. The most likely place Spurs could drop points would be that road game agaisnt Chelsea, although they don't look like losing anything at the moment. The rest you can pencil in as victories. The Newcastle match could be tricky though, as Rafa Benitez's men could very well be playing for their top flight lives.

We could end up with a final day of the season not much unlike the ending in 2012, where Manchester City won in the dying seconds of the season. So buckle in and don't miss a second of this final month.

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