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Premier League: Spurs in the thick of top-four battle

With Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City competing for the Premier League title, it means Tottenham Hotspur find themselves in the battle for that coveted final top-four spot.

Securing that final Champions League qualifying place would represent a strong first season in the English top flight for Ange Postecoglou but his side must find consistency in the final push to pip their rivals to the post.

Wolves and Fulham defeats highlight issues

Wins over Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa over February and March kept Spurs firmly in the mix for Champions League qualification this season.

However, as the international break continues, defeats to Wolves and Fulham in their last outing will be a reminder to Tottenham fans that the road ahead will be bumpy at times.

The issue for Spurs has been the frailties at the back, which Fulham exposed to great affect in their 3-0 win over the Lillywhites at Craven Cottage.

That result meant that Tottenham have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League games.

It’s puts added stress on a strike-force that has relied heavily on top-goalscorer Son Heung-min and Richarlison for goals this season.

The pair have scored 24 league goals between them this term, while Dejan Kulusevski and James Maddison have chipped with six and four respectively.

Resolving defensive issues would be something Postecoglou would want to work on during the break but with so many international stars away with their respective nations, it makes life difficult.

With Luton Town, West Ham and Nottingham Forest to come in their next three games, Spurs will be determined to earn some more elusive clean sheets over the coming weeks.

Spurs are 1.83 to finish in the top four this season but they will know their defence needs addressing if they are to return to the Champions League for next term.

Pressure on Villa to complete fairytale

Aston Villa were a relegation-threatened side when manager Unai Emery took the reins last season but he helped the club secure Europa Conference League football.

It was going to be a big ask for the Spaniard to push his side on to better things but that’s exactly what they have done, as the Villa find themselves in fourth place in the table.

Three points above Spurs after playing a game more, Villa will almost see the finish line in site.

A 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham was a hammerblow to Villa’s top-four aspirations, while they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at West Ham in their following game.

Villa face a huge game against Wolves in a West Midlands derby on their return before some big games to follow.

Emery’s side still have games against Manchester City and Arsenal away, with Chelsea and Liverpool at home to come before the end of the campaign.

Spurs will be hoping Villa slip up in those big games, while Villa are available at 2.10 to finish in the top four.

Sixth-place Manchester United have threatened to get themselves back in the mix but good performances have often been followed by underwhelming displays.

With nine points between themselves and Villa, who have played a game more, United are 9.00 to land a top-four finish this season.

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