This could end up being a pivotal weekend for Tottenham in their quest to secure Champions League football next season. After returning to winning ways with an impressive victory at Swansea last week took Spurs up to third in the Premier League table and in pole position for a seat at Europe’s top table. Much of their success this term can pinned down to the influence of Gareth Bale, but they’ll have to possibly do without him for the next fortnight after he suffered an ankle injury in Thursdays 2-2 with Basel in the Europa League. The question now is can they cope without Bale at such a crucial stage of the season? The answer should, of course, be an unequivocal yes. What it offers is an opportunity for the rest of the Andre Villas-Boas’ squad to step up and shed that pestilent ‘one man team’ sobriquet.
Simiarly for Everton the stakes couldn’t be higher as they a spot in Europe that could ultimately decide the future of their manager. Despite picking up the Manager of the Month award for March the news line this week has revolved around David Moyes’ future at Goodison Park. The Toffees have enjoyed an excellent campaign and are still very much in with a shout of apprehending a surprise Champions League berth after three straight league wins. They’re currently six points and two places behind Spurs in the table and could potentially halve those arrears on Sunday and subsequently nudge Moyes closer to remaining on Merseyside.
Gareth Bale will be absent for Tottenham after sustaining a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the Europa League quarter-final clash with Basel on Thursday. Aaron Lennon (knee) and William Gallas (calf) will have scans to determine the extent of their injuries. Sandro, Jermaine Defoe and Younes Kaboul are out.
Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar once again miss out for Everton as they complete their respective two-match suspensions. Kevin Mirallas is a doubt as he struggles to overcome an injury picked up last week against Stoke.
What the managers said…
“There is lots of swelling and the pain is obviously very, very big but we hope to assess him tomorrow. There is a big possibility he is going to be able to make it for the Man City game and he will only miss the next two games, but assurances we can only give you tomorrow when we have seen the scan. I do not want to mislead you. Tomorrow we will know better but I’m pretty confident that Gareth will definitely play again this season. From the medical department’s first analysis, everything is positive.” Andre Villas-Boas is keeping his fingers cross that Gareth Bale will play again this season (Guardian)
“We have a tough run-in and with the league table still being tight I am hoping that we can do what we have done in the past and finish strongly. With eight games to go last season we had 40 points, this time around we have 51 and if we want to have any chance of getting close to Europe I feel we will certainly have to get above the 60 points mark.” David Moyes believes 60 points will be enough for Everton to nab a European spot (Daily Post North Wales)
Pre-Match Statistic: Everton haven’t won in their last three away matches while Spurs have opened the scoring in 19 of their matches this season – the most in the Premier League.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Everton