17 April 2014

Start baking those St. Totteringham's Day cakes...

What's a football season without some good, old-fashioned scorn and spite? I speak of course of the arrival of our favorite holiday, St. Totteringham's Day, which could arrive as early as this Sunday if results go the right way. Last season, we left it about as late as it can get, needing ninja-Koscielny's goal against Newcastle on the final day of the season to make our reservations. This time around, it's starting to feel more and more like an inevitability, almost a formality, as Spurs languish in sixth place—and could yet stumble to as low as 7th if they're not careful. Let's suss out how this looks, shall we?

First, all that's needed is for us to find six points, combined from what we earn and Spurs drop, to celebrate. If we win on Sunday and Spurs lose on Saturday, well, that's that.

Spurs face Fulham on Saturday at White Hart Lane. Now, Tottenham have been far better away than at home, and what might otherwise look to be a winnable match on paper feels less-so once we peel back a layer or two. As far as Fulham are concerned, they'll go into White Hart Lane knowing that they need to find points wherever they can get them. They currently sit 18th on the table, two points below Norwich and three below West Brom and Swansea. Fulham seem to have awoken just a bit from their post-Jol torpor, clawing their way up from last place thanks to winning two in a row for the first time since October. They look to be full of piss and perhaps vinegar as well, and they could make some hay out of Spurs, who are looking more and more dispirited as the weeks roll on, needing a last-gasp equalizer to salvage a point against West Brom, Privately, I'd imagine that a fair few Spuds are sizing up their options in the summer-transfer window, with more traffic going from White Hart Lane rather than towards it. With Bale roaring to life at RM (six goals and an assist in his last seven appearances), others have to be wondering just how much greener the grass might be elsewhere. With Man U now breathing down their necks—three points back with a game in hand and carrying a +18 goal-differential—desperation, if not downright despair—might be the prevailing mood there as Spurs look to miss out on European competition entirely.

Of course, we can't count on the bumbling of the Spurs or the motivation of Fulham to do all of the work. At some point, we have to take care of business at our end. Hull, perhaps seeing inspiration from Crystal Palace's success on Wednesday, will have upset on their minds as well. Further complicating matters, Hull might feel a bit nervous about their own prospects for next season. Currently sitting 13th, Hull have to keep one anxious eye on the drop-zone. A Fulham win would bring them to within three points of Hull (although Hull have a game in hand at the moment), and the newly-promoted side might have a bit more fight in them come Sunday. As we've been reminded—be it by Palace and Sunderland on Wednesday, if not by West Ham on Tuesday—scrappy sides should not be underestimated. Regardless of our relative positions on the table, we can't afford to slip up as Everton and Man City have. Instead of conceding the first goal, why don't we try something novel, such as scoring first? That would be a welcome change of pace and would likely take the fight out of the Tigers.

Heck, even if Spurs manage to eke out a win over Fulham, we can still get halfway to St. Totteringham's Day by beating Hull. From there, we might have to wait until next Saturday to root for [gasp] Stoke. How bad can it be? We're already thanking Pulis.