Troubled Spurs beaten by Brentford, Arsenal try to delay City title party
Tottenham’s season to forget hit a new low with a 3-1 home defeat against Brentford on Saturday, while Arsenal look to delay the Premier League title party for champions-elect Manchester City.
An Arsenal defeat at Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s late match would hand City their fifth title in six seasons.
Even if the second placed Gunners win in Nottingham, City will still clinch a third successive title if they beat Chelsea on Sunday or defeat Brighton or Brentford in their final two games next week.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the race to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish heats up with Manchester United and Liverpool in action.
Fourth placed United are one point ahead of fifth placed Liverpool, whose home game against Aston Villa kicks off at the same time as their rivals’ trip to Bournemouth.
While United have two games left after this weekend, Liverpool will have only one to play.
At the other end of the table, fourth bottom Everton, just one point above the relegation zone, face a crucial trip to Wolves.
For Tottenham, the end of the season can’t come soon enough after a third defeat in their last four games.
Ryan Mason’s side took the lead through Harry Kane’s 28th league goal this season, but a Bryan Mbeumo brace and Yoane Wissa’s late strike left them floundering in seventh place.
Frustration has mounted throughout the final weeks of a troubled season for Tottenham and fans hung banners outside the stadium pointing the finger of blame at owners ENIC.
One banner changed the “E” in the ‘ENIC OUT’ slogan to a £ sign, while another had pictures of several of the club’s departed managers, including this season’s victims Antonio Conte and Cristian Stellini, labelling them as “innocent” while ENIC were described as “guilty”.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has taken the brunt of supporters’ criticism and he reflected on an “immensely difficult season” in his programme notes for the final home match of the campaign.
“We made footballing decisions over recent seasons based on ambition and a desire to bring success to our club and they have not delivered what we had hoped,” Levy said.
“Your frustration has been understandable and all of us at the club have shared it.”
Even when Kane opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a superb 25-yard free-kick that arrowed into the top corner, it was a bittersweet moment for Tottenham fans.
Kane surpassed Jimmy Greaves to become Tottenham’s all-time record goalscorer this term, but that milestone moment could turn out to be his final contribution to the club.
The England captain failed in his attempt to engineer a move to Manchester United two years ago, but has recently been linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain.
There was a melancholy tinge to the chant “Harry Kane, he’s one of our own” as fans hailed their hero despite his uncertain future.
In another sign of the angst at Tottenham’s owners, fans sent black balloons floating down onto the pitch throughout the match while Levy sat stone-faced in the directors’ box.
Despite the discontent in the stands, Tottenham were playing with a freedom lacking for much of the season and Emerson Royal’s header from Son Heung-min’s cross was nodded off the line by Rico Henry.
Brentford were without 21-goal top scorer Ivan Toney after the England striker was given an eight-month ban this week after accepting breaking Football Association betting rules.
But Mbeumo showed Brentford can still flourish without their talisman.
With Tottenham slow to press, Mbeumo had time to guide a fine low equaliser into the far corner from just inside the area in the 50th minute.
Mbeumo netted again 12 minutes later, sprinting onto Aaron Hickey’s superb pass behind Ben Davies to guide a composed finish past Fraser Forster.
Wissa finished off Mbeumo’s pass in the 88th minute as chants of “We want Levy out” echoed around the stadium in response to Tottenham’s latest collapse.