Still all to play for as the season enters the final stages
We have to wait until halfway through the month before we come across a Saturday fixture list of any substance. Until then, it’s all very ‘bitty’ with close rivals all playing on different days and nights.
One of the biggest events of the month has little to do with winning titles or dropping out of the league – I refer, of course, to the opening of the new Spurs ground, currently called the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
That’s not too imaginative a name, but let’s wait to see who buys the naming rights. If you’re bored and reading this in a bar, try thinking of some big companies that might seek to attach their names to the stadium.
How about the Hauwei Hart Lane? Bit strained!
We say that the opening has nothing to do with winning titles but, to be mathematically correct, Spurs are still in with a chance of winning the league though following defeat at Liverpool it is looking increasingly unlikely.
Last night April 3rd, Spurs ground staged its first game against Crystal Palace and I don’t know if you watched it in Thailand but in the UK it’s caused a bit of a stir – especially among Spurs fans – because Sky only be showed one match live … and Spurs wasn’t it!
Sky showed Manchester City V Cardiff, a match with implications for both top and bottom of the table.
Let’s face it, apart from the novelty value of a totally new ground, there is not as much riding on the Spurs game.
So what other fixtures of note will be staged in April?
The stand-out game for the neutrals will be the Manchester derby on April 24 (again, a Wednesday) which sees United host City. Last season United went to City knowing that defeat would see their near neighbours lift the crown. It could be a very similar situation this time. On form, City look favourites but the same could have been said last year when United produced a shock win.
By the time the match is staged, the United faithful might find themselves in the uncomfortable position of half-hoping for a City win. This is on the assumption that they don’t want Liverpool to win the Premiership at any price.
Liverpool fans, similarly, might be cheering United on the day, which would be anathema for them also.
I’m reminded of the situation when United won their treble – something City are aiming for (or better) this time around. On the last day of the season Arsenal needed Spurs to get a result at Old Trafford to give the Gunners a chance of taking the league title. We can remember the “Spurs fans for a day” banners at the Arsenal ground. When Spurs lost they were quickly binned.
Down at the bottom Cardiff face a really tough month. Apart from the City game mentioned earlier they travel away to Brighton and Fulham with only one home match – and that’s against Liverpool. All this is on the back of a defeat at home to Chelsea which did look unlucky.
Difficult to see them staying up. But if they do after a run of fixtures like that they will have deserved it.
With six games left Huddersfield are already gone as are Fulham.
Who will join them?
Cardiff look the most likely to complete the unhappy trio.