In an action packed late kick off Barclays Premier League football match, Tottenham Hotspur have thrown open the Premier League, and taken a two point margin fourth spot in the process, by defeating league leaders Chelsea 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea remain top of the league, just one point clear of Manchester United, who scored a late winner away at Man City this lunchtime.
Spurs started this match a point behind City, in fifth place, but leapfrog their Northern rivals with this victory, and take a two point advantage into the final four games of the season which, if they retain it, will see them qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Tonight’s match was a helter skelter affair, which Spurs effectively wrapped up with two first half goals: a Jermain Defoe penalty following a John Terry handball on 15 minutes; and a good Gareth Bale finish.
The 2-0 half time lead for Spurs looked to be the confirmed result when John Terry picked up two yellow cards in quick succession for two badly timed challenges with 15 minutes remaining, the Chelsea captain was seen in tears following his dismissal.
As the England manager watched his former captain exit under a cloud, other potential England stars – notably Spurs’ tall ball playing centre half, 26 year old Michael Dawson – were making a name for themselves in white shirts. Jermain Defoe also put in a solid performance for a Tottenham side who fully deserved their win with superior possession and more than twice as many shots – both on and off target – for the home team.
As if to stamp himself on the England manager’s mind, Frank Lampard did what he does best from midfield deep into injury time: he scored, giving Chelsea a glimmer of hope that a point might come from this otherwise painful evening’s work. It wasn’t to be, however, as Spurs closed out the match with relative ease.
Chelsea, with the easier run-in are still clear title favourites. However, as today’s football proved, Manchester United seem well able to get a result when it matters, so they are still well and truly in this race.
For Spurs, they have one massive match against Manchester City coming up which they will effectively be playing for a Champions League place – the good thing for them is, providing they can maintain their good recent form and win their other games, a point will be enough. City must make sure they win all of their games, otherwise it looks like it could become another “might have been” season for them.
Whatever happens come the end of the season, Tottenham Hotspur have defeated two London based top three teams this week: they are looking more and more like a side worthy of a Champions League spot. In addition, one or two of their players could be rewarded with a place on the World Cup aeroplane to South Africa too, especially if Fabbio Capello was taking notes today.
For the neutral, and those in red or white, this was the perfect result, which throws open the doors for more than one Premier League 09/10 battle.
For those in Blue shirts, today was a day to forget.