Wednesday 22 January 2020

AVB expects twists and turns

Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham are one point behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea
Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham are one point behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea

Andre Villas-Boas expects twists and turns in the final two matches of the Barclays Premier League season as his Tottenham side hope to sneak into the Champions League at the expense of Chelsea or Arsenal.

Fifth-placed Spurs twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, but their fate is no longer in their own hands ahead of matches with Stoke and Sunderland. Villas-Boas' side are one point behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea and have a far inferior goal difference to their London rivals.

"The destiny's not in our hands any more," the Portuguese said. "What we have to do is what we had to do also, to win the next fixtures and hopefully see if somebody can slip up and change our position."

Villas-Boas expects the next round of fixtures - Chelsea's match at Aston Villa on Saturday, Spurs' Sunday contest with Stoke and Arsenal's Tuesday clash with FA Cup finalists Wigan - will determine the top-four battle.

"This next fixture is decisive for everybody," he said. "Arsenal has had this whole time to rest (since playing at QPR last Saturday). It won't be an advantage for Wigan to play after an FA Cup final so early, but that's the reality. Chelsea have a difficult game at Villa, we have an extremely difficult game against Stoke. I think anything can happen."

Villas-Boas praised the contribution of Emmanuel Adebayor in a match he described as one of the games of the season.

"Adebayor's performance was absolutely outstanding," the Spurs boss said. "He's been struggling with knee pain and he put himself forward for the team with a great game and a great performance."

Chelsea must wait to secure their Champions League return after being pegged back twice by Spurs. Interim boss Rafael Benitez was frustrated by his side's failure to net a third and end the match as a contest and lamented the defensive failings which contributed to Spurs' equalisers.

"We had the chances on counter attacks to score the third goal and finish the game," Benitez said. "It was an open game. We were in control and we didn't win.

"Adebayor was offside, but still we have to defend a little bit better. The tempo of the game was too high. It was massive for both teams. We didn't have legs. We had players that were tired, especially in the wide areas. We had a problem with the (Spurs) full-backs going forward."

PA Media

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