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Graham: Tottenham will miss out on top four

Former Tottenham manager George Graham believes Andre Villas-Boas’ men will miss out on a top-four English Premier League finish this season.

The 68-year-old, who managed Tottenham between 1998 and 2001, feels Chelsea and Arsenal are in the driving seat because they have easier remaining fixtures and a game in hand.

“Tottenham will be the ones to lose out,” Graham told the Daily Mirror.

“They have a difficult run-in and they have played a game more than the others. (Arsenal) have recovered of late and it would appear they have the easiest programme to come.

“But I want to stress that it would be anything but a disaster for Tottenham or make it a poor season. In fact, I would say the opposite.”

Villas-Boas’ men had looked assured of a Champions League qualification spot following their win over Arsenal on March 3 but two consecutive defeats have changed the complexion of the run-in.

Even so, the Scot said Villas-Boas had a lot of which to be proud and hopes the club can keep hold of star man Gareth Bale.

“He has been assembling a squad and he has done well to be in such a high position in the league and still be involved in the Europa League,” Graham said of the Portuguese.

“He can build on that and I hope he can keep Gareth Bale — for the club’s sake and the player’s sake.

“It is unfair on Bale to compare him to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He would really benefit from another season in England.”

Graham said Manchester City should be much closer to runaway league leaders Manchester United, who are 15 points clear, hinting that ‘drama’ has been the champions’ undoing this season.

“Manchester City and Chelsea are parallel clubs,” he said. “There always seems to be drama on a weekly basis there.

“Chelsea, of course, are competing on three fronts with the FA Cup and the Europa League but they have the quality and numbers in their squad to compete.

“It is the same with City. They are also involved in the FA Cup but they have so many good players that they should be able to handle it and still finish behind Manchester United.”

Sun 24 March, 2013
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