Spurs eye crumbling Arsenal, but can Sherwood survive?
After beating Sunderland, Tottenham have their sights on Europe and their local rivals
Tottenham 5 Sunderland 1. Spurs thrashed Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Monday night to move above Manchester United into sixth spot and keep themselves in contention for a place in Europe next season. Though finishing fourth seems beyond Spurs given Everton's red-hot form of late, Tottenham are within sight of crumbling Arsenal and could yet overhaul their bitter rivals in the next month. Five points separate the two north London clubs in the Premier League but both could end up qualifying for the Europa League regardless of who finishes fifth.
Manchester City's victory over Sunderland in the League Cup Final last month has freed up an extra place in the Europa League, meaning the club who finishes sixth in the Premier League will also qualify for Europe's second string tournament next season.
Tottenham have a gentle run-in between now and the end of the season with West Brom, Stoke, Fulham, West Ham and Aston Villa on their fixture list. Arsenal, too, no longer have to play any of the Premier League's big boys, but with the Gunners' morale at an all-time low they could yet be caught by their neighbours.
Tottenham started slowly against Sunderland, going behind to a goal from Lee Cattermole on 17 minutes. But Emmanuel Adebayor levelled for the hosts on 28 minutes and thereafter Tottenham took control of the match. Second-half goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Adebayor, again, and Gylfi Sigurdsson had the Tottenham faithful singing their hearts out by the end of the night.
"It was a good end to a day where we needed to win the game," said manager Tim Sherwood. "We came here and we knew we had to respond to the [4-0 defeat] against Liverpool, and we did that today."
As to his future and the speculation he will be replaced at the end of the season, Sherwood replied: "Any questions regarding my employment you'll have to ask my employers." He added that the gossip "doesn't affect me" and that his one focus right now is "on getting the best out of the players in the final games".
Since replacing Andre Villas-Boas as manager in December, Sherwood has taken his win percentage to 56.3 per cent, higher than any other Spurs manager in the Premier League era. But it still might not be enough to save him. According to the Daily Mirror, Holland coach Louis van Gaal and Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino remain the favourites to replace Sherwood in the summer.
One man hoping that won't be the case is Adebayor, enjoying a purple patch under Sherwood after falling out of favour with Villas-Boas. "He has been a big part of my life, when everyone forgot me he brought me back in and gave me my life back," said Tottenham's two-goal hero. "I hope he stays but I am not the chairman."