Everton hold the key to Tottenham’s slim chance of late fightback

AS the gap between Tottenham and Manchester City stretched from four points to seven over the weekend, it felt like the race for the top four was over.

Harry Redknapp’s side have faced a number of ‘must-win’ games recently – against Arsenal and particularly West Bromwich Albion – and they failed to win either of them.

Last week Tom Huddlestone conceded that the task would be “virtually impossible” if they lost at Chelsea and City then beat West Ham – which is exactly what happened.

And yet, the race is still not over. The door to the Champions League is not quite shut, and the thinnest beam of light is still visible – for a few more days anyway.

Spurs have had a number of ‘last chances’ recently and blown them all, but the picture could still look very different this time next week.

Tottenham had by far the harder fixture at the weekend as they travelled to Stamford Bridge, while City had what looked like a home banker against basement boys West Ham.

Now the situation is reversed. On Saturday, Roberto Mancini’s side visit an in-form Everton who have won four of their last six home games in the league, and are unbeaten at Goodison Park in nine top -flight matches, since November.

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David Moyes’ side also won the reverse fixture against City at Eastlands in December.

The Toffees are now Spurs’ biggest hope of a late comeback – particularly when the Lilywhites will be big favourites to beat Blackpool.

A perfectly plausible home win for Everton, coupled with the anticipated victory for Tottenham, would narrow the gap to four points, and raise the stakes again when Spurs travel to Eastlands on Tuesday night.

This time next week the Lilywhites could be just one point behind. Or they could still be sixth, and looking like missing out on Europe entirely...