English Premiership

Lilywhites honour White Hart Lane

2017-05-14 06:26
FOOT UP: Ashley Young of Manchester United and Érik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur compete for the ball. (Michael Regan, Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Tottenham Hotspur will wear a commemorative kit to mark their final match at White Hart Lane against Manchester United on Sunday.

In the grander scheme of the title race, it is seemingly another case of so close yet so far for the Lilywhites.

United still have an outside shot of reaching the top four, although exertions in the Europa League and an injury list as crippling as a Roy Keane tackle have taken a toll.

With that said, there is still plenty to play for as United got the better of Mauricio Pochettino’s side earlier this season at Old Trafford, and have the potential to dampen the mood on Sunday afternoon.

Final appearance

With the standings unlikely to change significantly in the final stretch of a marathon that began nearly nine months ago, saying goodbye to a venue that opened in 1899 is perhaps the story that takes centre stage.

Indeed, Premier League clubs have generally signed off with victory in their last home matches before changing stadiums.

Last year, West Ham enjoyed a thrilling 3-2 win over Manchester United as they said goodbye to the Boleyn Ground, while sides such as Southampton, Leicester, Arsenal and Sunderland have all been on the winning side during their final appearances at their old venues.

Fairytale endings are not always guaranteed – Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard made his final appearance at Anfield in 2015, but lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace.

Sir Alex Ferguson also missed out on a final victory in his last game in charge at Old Trafford – his side led 5-2 before a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick saw it end 5-5 with West Bromwich Albion.

It denied the great Scotsman a 1 500th victory.

On the international stage, England went down 1-0 to Germany at the old Wembley Stadium – a result that famously saw the emotional Kevin Keegan resign with the words: “I’m off. I’m not for this".

Walking wounded

The fairytales turning into nightmares continue in a similar vein – in the 1958 World Cup final in Stockholm, Pelé’s Brazil defeated hosts Sweden, while, more recently, Selecao were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the 2014 edition of the tournament.

With that said, history shows that Spurs aren’t guaranteed a fitting finale in the White Hart Lane era.

But, aside from the emotion of saying farewell to a stadium that is rich with memories, the reality is that Pochettino’s men are unbeaten in 18 matches at home with an incredible 17 wins in that time.

So, when José Mourinho brings his walking wounded of a side to the Lane, it seems more than likely the grand old venue will be signed off in style before the bulldozers roll in.

In Sunday's other games, a potential relegation six-pointer is on the cards when Crystal Palace entertain Hull City.

The Eagles appear safe, although the Tigers must win as they are in 18th spot.

Meanwhile, a contest with top-four implications sees Liverpool face mid-table West Ham United at London Stadium.

The Reds appear to be limping over the line and face a Hammers outfit unbeaten in their last five. TEAMtalk Media


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Friday, 28 February 2020
Norwich City v Leicester City, Carrow Road 22:00
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Aston Villa v Sheffield United, Villa Park 02:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
West Ham United v Southampton, London Stadium 17:00
Newcastle United v Burnley, St. James' Park 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Watford v Liverpool, Vicarage Road 19:30
Sunday, 01 March 2020
Manchester City v Arsenal, Etihad Stadium 02:00
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 16:00
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