As they say, all good things come to an end – and that’s exactly what happened to Tottenham’s unbeaten run of nine games on Sunday afternoon at the hands of Crystal Palace.
It was a game short on quality, and to be frank, Spurs didn’t really look like they were at the races for much of a stodgy encounter.
Palace were the better side and now march into the quarter finals, whilst Tottenham are left behind.
But from a Tottenham perspective, it’s difficult to see this loss as anything other than a good thing.
Against all the odds that would have been offered at the beginning of this season, Spurs are now second favourites to win the Premier League. But up until Sunday, they also had irons in other fires – the FA Cup and the Europa League.
And if they’re going to give the Premier League arealcrack, those sorts of distractions just aren’t worth it. Not by a long chalk.
With three less potential games on the cards, Tottenham have reduced their workload and allowed themselves to concentrate on the competition that they seemingly have the best chance of winning – the Premier League.
Being out of the FA Cup will mean Mauricio Pochettino has to do less rotating and endure less disruptions to his squad, giving them a better chance of performing to the best of their abilities in the league games.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 21, 2016
And here’s a controversial point of view – it’d be useful if they lost next Thursday, too.
Spurs face Fiorentina in the second leg of their last 32 Europa League tie next week knowing that a win would result in at least two more games, and potential for a further five after that.
Quite simply, if they want to win the league, it would be counterproductive for them to progress in Europe. The extra workload could have a significant impact on their league form, and as Sunday’s game showed (alongside many others), Spurs struggle to perform to their best the Sunday after a Thursday evening kick off.
So for Tottenham, Sunday’s loss could be seen as a ‘one down, one to go’ situation. Out of the FA Cup, now just the Europa League left. Exit at the hands of Fiorentina and all of a sudden Spurs have just 12 games left to do their utmost with.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be exciting.