Will Tottenham Hotspur’s New Stadium Provide A Boost For Their Top Four Hopes?
Tottenham Hotspur are finally on their way home.
It’s been two years since White Hart Lane fell silent and seven months since the new ground was scheduled to open.
For all its delays, Spurs have created something truly awe-inspiring in north London. There is undoubtedly a reason it is being heralded as one of the world’s best stadia.
Crystal Palace will be the first visitors to sample it when they arrive for their midweek Premier League fixture.
With a capacity of 62,062, Tottenham now boast the largest stadium in the capital, having poured an eye-watering £850million into the four-year project.
Yet there is another statistic that will be on the minds of everyone associated with the club shortly before kick-off on Wednesday night.
The Lilywhites have taken just one point from a possible 15. The calamity of Sunday’s last-minute defeat to Liverpool continued a run which has included away losses at Burnley, Chelsea, and Southampton.
Arsenal’s victory over Newcastle on Monday means the third-placed Gunners now sit two points clear of their rivals, with Manchester United hot on Spurs’ heels in fifth, separated only by goal difference.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side can at least take some comfort from the knowledge that their new home will be put to good use between now and May. They have five home games remaining in the Premier League, whereas Arsenal have five on the road – and Unai Emery’s men have won just five out of 14 away from the Emirates.
The race for Champions League football hangs in the balance, and it might well be argued that Spurs’ need is greater than most. As they move on from Wembley, they enter yet another period in their history. Dropping back into the Europa League would almost certainly hit them harder than it would Arsenal or United.
However, one of the things Daniel Levy has done so well during his stewardship of the stadium project is encouraging staff, players, and supporters to see the bigger picture.
It goes without saying that the Palace game comes at a difficult time and Spurs would never have envisaged opening the ground on the back of such a difficult run of form – only Huddersfield and Fulham are on a worse run, in fact.
That could all be a distant memory very soon. In a week’s time, Spurs have a chance to put on the first of their famous ‘Glory, Glory’ nights when they welcome Manchester City in the Champions League.
This bedding-in period is going to be vital to how they end the campaign.
The test events have at least shown that, whatever happens on the pitch between now and the final day of the season, Tottenham have built for the future, at the same time embracing much of the Lane’s old history.
The golden cockerel that casts a watchful eye over the pitch from the top of the South Stand will be seen for the first time in its full glory, emboldened by the floodlights, a promising guardian for a testing couple of months.