Tottenham Hotspur will aim to confirm their place in the 2022-23 Champions League when they travel to basement side Norwich City for the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.
Antonio Conte’s side realistically need just a point to finish in the top four, while the Carrow Road hosts have already been condemned to their fate.
Already preparing for their next attempt to gain an immediate promotion back to the Premier League in the seemingly never-ending yo-yo cycle, Norwich’s hard-fought point against Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out came too little too late for the Canaries to salvage anything meaningful.
Teemu Pukki’s 11th goal of the season propelled Norwich into a half-time lead before Rayan Ait-Nouri levelled proceedings soon after the restart for the hosts, and Norwich’s only attempt at a saving grace now will be a 19th-placed finish.
The rock-bottom Canaries are only one point behind Watford but with a significantly worse goal difference, although the Hornets face a daunting final-day meeting with Chelsea, and Norwich will be desperate to give their fans a small slice of delight before their return to the Championship.
Holding Wolves to a 1-1 draw did at least manage to end a five-game losing run in the Premier League for the Canaries, who had also gone 360 minutes without scoring in the top flight, but a tally of 12 goals at home is by far the worst in the division.
Furthermore, Norwich’s last three final-day games in the Premier League have seen them concede 10 goals while chalking up a grand total of zero themselves – music to the ears of Tottenham fans, some of whom cannot shake the nerves ahead of Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte pictured on May 12, 2022© Reuters
Antonio Conte claimed that he wanted to “suffer” by watching Arsenal take on Newcastle United on Monday, but the only ones suffering were the Gunners, who ceded control of the top-four race to their North London rivals.
Tottenham, though, did ride their luck for periods against Burnley and only got over the line 1-0 thanks to Harry Kane’s penalty following a handball by Ashley Barnes, who was unfortunate to see his long-range effort crash back out against the post in the second period.
Nevertheless, the Lilywhites held on for a crucial win which sees them hold a two-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal, whose goal difference is far inferior ahead of Everton’s trip to the Emirates, so one point against the Premier League’s basement side should be enough to re-enter the promised land of the Champions League. Chelsea have not secured third place just yet either, but it would take a mammoth swing in goal difference for the Lilywhites to finish on the podium.
Not every Tottenham fan is 100% confident about their side’s ability to handle the pressure, but Conte’s side have now taken 11 points from the last 15 on offer in the Premier League and have only conceded one goal – to Liverpool, no less – in their last four Premier League away games.
Spurs eased to a 3-0 triumph over Norwich City when the Canaries travelled to the capital back in December, but the London club have previously lost to an already-relegated side on three occasions on the final day, which will certainly not calm the nerves of those in white.