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Premier League: Top-four destiny out of Tottenham’s hands

After what proved to be a narrow North London derby defeat at the hands of rivals Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League top-four finish hopes are no longer in their hands.

Ange Postecoglou saw his side fight back from 3-0 down to lose 3-2 against the title-chasing Gunners and now Aston Villa are in the driving seat to secure that coveted final Champions League spot.

Spurs must be perfect from here on out

Postecoglou will look to take the positives from their second-half performance against Arsenal but the fact of the matter is the result was another major blow to the Australian’s hope of seeing his side qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Back-to-back defeats to Newcastle United and Arsenal mean Spurs are now seven points behind fourth-place Aston Villa with two games in hand over the West Midlands outfit.

Tottenham have five games remaining to try and get enough points to leapfrog Villa into fourth spot come the final counting.

The scale of the task ahead is clear, with Spurs at 5.00 for a top-four finish, while Villa are available at 1.16 to achieve the feat under former Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

Tottenham’s next two games will go a long way to deciding the fate of that fourth spot on the ladder, with Spurs travelling to rivals Chelsea next, before a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.

Dropping points in those games could see Villa pull further clear, before Spurs’ remaining games against Burnley, Manchester City and Sheffield United.

Facing Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City over the course of a six-game spell was always going to be a massive ask of Postecoglou’s side.

Undoubtedly the Aussie tactician would have liked a few more points in the bag against so-called weaker teams before a run-in that is as tough as they come.

Villa have destiny in their hands

Aston Villa have been the big success story in the Premier League over the last year. Emery came into a side that were battling to avoid relegation and has turned them into one of the strongest sides in the English top flight.

Villa, who also have Europa Conference League semi-final action to look forward to, did squander a 2-0 lead over Chelsea last time out to draw 2-2 at Villa Park.

That might give Spurs a glimmer of hope but it will take a remarkable collapse from Villa and a near-perfect run from Tottenham to see these sides switch positions on the ladder.

Villa’s next game in the league comes against a Brighton side who, to excuse the pun, are on the beach and appear to be looking ahead to their summer holidays.

Emery’s side then host a Liverpool outfit who appear to be out of the Premier League title race, before travelling to a Crystal Palace side that have confirmed their top-flight status for next season.

The odds are weighing heavily against Tottenham and Postecoglou’s side will need something special to see them return to the Champions League for next season.

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