With little to play for outside of respectability, West Ham United will face top-seeded Tottenham Hotspur Monday with a chance to impact the Premier League table. West Ham is currently in 13th place with only 30 points and the Hotspurs are currently in fourth place with 48 points, just one point ahead of Arsenal and one point behind third-place Chelsea.
West Ham has a chance to play the spoiler role here. With Arsenal and Tottenham scheduled to meet Sunday, March 3rd, today’s match has a lot to do with what’s at stake this weekend. If West Ham can pull off an upset by winning or even drawing in today’s tilt, there would be an opportunity for Arsenal to clear ahead of Tottenham this weekend and possibly move all the way up to third if Chelsea were to lose against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Arsenal will need all the help they can get in order to climb their way back into next season’s Champions League play.
Coming off an unimpressive 2-1 win against a bad Aston Villa side on Saturday, the Gunners have been playing uninspired football lately and their coach, Arsène Wenger, has been under scrutiny. Wenger dodged a bullet when his club was able to sneak away with victory backed by two goals from Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla. After the match Saturday, Wenger released a statement saying, “[r]ight now, confidence is our best friend and a lack of confidence is our worst enemy and both of them are very fragile.”
Today’s match between Tottenham and West Ham will provide an intriguing finish to the season that has just 11 matches left (12 for Tottenham). A Spurs win would leave them in third place alone and Chelsea in fourth just two points ahead of Arsenal. A Spurs-West Ham draw today would tie Chelsea and Tottenham in the points category — with Chelsea having the edge in goal differential.
The first and second seeds seem to be all but decided on — with Manchester United far ahead and Manchester City comfortably in second. After them, it’s anyone’s guess on how it ends. Third- and fourth-place finishes qualify for next seasons Champions League. With Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal all possibly fighting for these spots till season’s close, it should be an exciting finish: one of them will be on the outside looking in.