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It's make or break for Spurs as top-four spot threatens to slip away

Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge may not be a championship decider but the weekend's results have turned it into one of the games of the season.

Chelsea are now in pole position for a Champions League place after the win at Old Trafford and it has given Tottenham Hotspur and Andre Villas-Boas an awful lot to do if they are going to join them.

This was always going to be massive game but it is mega now and there is no doubt the pressure is on Spurs. They are outsiders and in real trouble now.

I backed Spurs to finish fourth earlier in the season but now it is looking a genuine struggle for them and they have got to go to Chelsea and win on Wednesday.

Chelsea will be red-hot favourites to finish in the top four, when you consider the games they have got left, while I also believe Arsenal will be home and hosed after their remarkable run over the last few months.

Arsenal are experts when it comes to qualifying for the Champions League and they have almost got the job done again.

When they lost to Bayern Munich at home earlier this year they were so bad it was embarrassing and there have been times this season when people have been calling for Arsene Wenger's head.

At one stage they looked like they were falling off the face of the planet but they have dug in and have kept on winning. You would have to back them for a top four place now.

It leaves Spurs in a win-or-bust situation going into midweek and it is arguably the biggest test for Villas-Boas since he was appointed last summer.

Chelsea are a far better team than Spurs and have got the players to capitalise so Villas-Boas has got to get his tactics spot on .

They have got to come out and take a chance and go for broke, making sure they are defensively right but offensively have a chance. It is such a difficult balance to strike, do they get men behind the ball and then hit them on the break?

You would normally settle for a point at Stamford Bridge but after the results this weekend they have got to go and win.

They played poorly against Southampton and could quite easily have been beaten. Gareth Bale has saved them so many times this season and is going to be vital for them on Wednesday.

After the way his season has gone you would not bet against him going there and producing another piece of magic to turn the game on its head. Against Manchester City and Southampton he was quiet for 75 minutes but then popped out of nowhere to do something explosive.

It is going to be more about Villas-Boas though. If he finishes fifth, he will have done really well – if he finishes fourth it will be magnificent but the odds are stacked up against Spurs now.

In the summer when AVB got the job there were a lot of Spurs fans who were sceptical because he was sacked at Chelsea, but he has won them over. This game could be another massive opportunity for him to enhance his reputation in the English game.

He will not have seen Chelsea winning at United, that is for sure.

Villas-Boas and the Spurs players will have been looking at that thinking United would take something out of the game, but I know from my own experience it is so hard to get motivated when you have won the league. The manager can tell you it is the biggest game of your lives but you have just got that feeling that it is all over.


Yesterday was more difficult for United than Chelsea and Rafael Benitez got a result that has virtually booked them a top-four place. If you look at them now, you have got to believe they are the only team outside of Manchester who can win the title next season. Whoever comes in over the summer has got a great job waiting for them.

Chelsea have got a multi-talented squad and they are probably better than United when they are playing well. The difference is that United win games when they are not playing at their best. That's the big thing Chelsea have got to get better at.

If Chelsea can add a few more personnel next season, which I fully expect them to do with their finances, I am convinced they will give the Manchester clubs a good run for the title next season.

I also expect them to be playing in the Champions League again – but for Spurs they have got it all to do, which makes Wednesday night one of the most eagerly awaited games of the year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent