Belfast Telegraph

4 Tottenham collapses in aim to finish above Arsenal in Premier League

Tottenham's 22-year wait to finish above Arsenal will end this season if they beat their north London rivals at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Spurs sit 14 points clear of the Gunners ahead of the match this weekend, when victory would ensure they come in above them for the first time since 1995.

Their advantage seems insurmountable but opportunities have been missed before.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at when Tottenham have gone closest to finishing above Arsene Wenger's men, only to fall at the last.

Lasagne causes havoc - 2005-06

Tottenham had been ahead of Arsenal in the table for the best part of six months although their lead had been reduced to one point by the final day. They were away to West Ham and needed only to match Arsenal's result at Wigan to seal fourth and a place in the Champions League. Plans, however, went array when several players fell ill after eating a hotel meal of lasagne the night before. Spurs even tried to postpone the fixture but a depleted squad were forced to play and slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Upton Park. Arsenal compounded their misery by beating Wigan 4-2.

Ten points and a 2-0 lead spurned - 2011-12

Tottenham sat 10 points clear of Arsenal with 25 games played and Harry Redknapp's free-flowing side looked set to extend the gap to 13 when they led 2-0 at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners, however, staged a brilliant comeback to win 5-2 and Spurs' season went south from there. They won just one of their next eight league matches while Arsenal managed six victories from the following seven. Tottenham were left hoping their rivals would slip up to West Brom on the last day but a nightmare display from Baggies goalkeeper Marton Fulop helped Wenger's men to a 3-2 win.

Negative spiral turns positive - 2012-13

Arsenal again looked dead and buried after a 2-1 victory at White Lane saw Spurs pull seven points ahead with only 10 games remaining. Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas even claimed his opponents were stuck in a "negative spiral" that would be "extremely difficult" to escape, but escape they did and fortunes were soon reversed. Tottenham lost their next two on the bounce and drew three times more during the run-in while the Gunners won eight out of their last 10. It was enough to see them finish two points above Spurs and clinch Champions League qualification again.

Title disappointment and Newcastle drubbing - 2015-16

Tottenham had been so focused on catching Leicester that when their title challenge ended with a bad-tempered draw at Chelsea they failed to recover. After a disappointing season, Arsenal were still three points behind, however, and a superior goal difference meant Spurs realistically needed only one victory to stay above them from their final two games. They failed even to manage that, though, as a 2-1 defeat at home to Southampton was followed by a humiliating 5-1 loss at already-relegated Newcastle. Arsenal, meanwhile, eased past Aston Villa to pinch second place.

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