Dele Alli walks off the pitch dejected after Tottenham's 1-0 loss to West Ham. Adam Davy

Did Tottenham 'bottle' it and more Premier League talking points

Plus, will Jose Mourinho regret his bold move following Man United’s loss to Arsenal?

1. Did Tottenham ‘bottle’ it?

TOTTENHAM’S SURPRISE LOSS to West Ham on Friday has attracted inevitable scorn in certain circles.

There was plenty of ‘banter’ on social media, while Sky Sports presenter Rachel Riley suggested they lacked ‘bottle’ following the tense defeat by the Hammers.

Yet the statistics suggest that this criticism is unfair. The club have gone on an incredible winning run with the pressure on of late, prevailing in nine games in a row — a feat seldom achieved in the Premier League over the years even by past champions.

If anything, the North London outfit have overachieved — Spurs have only the sixth biggest wage bill in the Premier League, and most pundits doubted whether they would make the top four at the start of the campaign. Moreover, they need just four more points from their final three games to mirror reigning champions Leicester’s winning tally of 81 points from last season.

Of course, looking at the West Ham game in isolation, Tottenham deserve criticism. After Manuel Lanzini’s goal in the 65th minute, they lost all composure, increasingly abandoning their footballing principles and instead launching long balls up to substitute Vincent Janssen, when their midfield had two of the best ball players in the country in Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen at its base as the game drew to a close.

But to say Spurs ‘bottled it,’ given what they have achieved this season, is far too harsh and simplistic.

2. Liverpool team selection strange

Liverpool ended up extending their lead over fifth-place Man United today to five points, but Anfield was anything but celebratory after witnessing a dour 0-0 draw against a well-organised Southampton side.

The game, for long periods, had a subdued, end-of-season feel, despite three points being crucial to the Reds’ Champions League hopes.

In the second half, James Milner had a golden opportunity to give Liverpool a lead they scarcely deserved, but after 10 consecutive successful spot kicks, the left-back’s penalty was saved expertly by Fraser Forster.

The result emulated the score in the reverse fixture this season, and it was strange that Liverpool seemed unprepared and uninspired against an opponent who were always going to stick 11 men behind the ball.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t help matters with his team selection. Two defensive midfielders, (Lucas Leiva and Georginio Wijnaldum) were deployed from the outset when one was barely needed.

Consequently, Liverpool toiled away and looked seriously laboured against a Saints defence that were comfortable for the majority of the contest.

It was only when attackers Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge were introduced on 69 minutes that the hosts showed signs of life, but it was too little too late ultimately.

3. Chelsea will be worthy champions

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League - Goodison Park Chelsea are expected to be confirmed as Premier League champions in the coming days. Nigel French Nigel French

If there was any doubt before, Chelsea winning the Premier League title now seems a mere formality.

The Blues need just two wins from their remaining four matches to guarantee first place.

They could wrap up the title against West Brom on Friday if they beat a Middlesbrough side on the brink of relegation on Monday.

It’s hard to argue with that outcome, as Chelsea have undoubtedly been the best team over the course of the season.

Tottenham may have been the more consistent side since the turn of the year, accruing more points post-January than anyone else, but whenever the pressure has been on — in the league as well as the FA Cup semi-final between the two sides — it’s been Chelsea that have responded best.

4. Could Mourinho regret bold move?

Jose Mourinho’s decision to play a weakened Man United team against Arsenal today was a brave and, many would argue, unwise move.

The 2-0 loss means the Red Devils’ top-four hopes are in jeopardy. Arsenal are now two points behind them with a game in hand, while United currently trail Liverpool and Man City by five and four points respectively.

The Portuguese coach has clearly put all his eggs in the Europa League basket, but hoping a one-off game goes United’s way (and that’s assuming they do progress from their semi at the expense of Celta Vigo) is a decidedly risky policy.

Granted, there was no guarantee United would have triumphed with their best XI, but it’s hard to imagine a first-choice Red Devils side surrendering their long unbeaten run so meekly against an Arsenal team with plenty of problems of their own lately.

5. Hull in serious trouble

Hull’s shock 2-0 loss to Sunderland on Saturday has left them in a seriously perilous position.

That outcome, coupled with Swansea’s defeat of Everton, meant the Tigers dropped back into the relegation zone, having recently looked like they were about to pull off a great escape.

Marco Silva has done a decent job overall rejuvenating a team that looked doomed for large periods of the season, but he admitted yesterday that his side “lost focus” at home to a relegated team with nothing but pride to play for.

Their final two games are against Crystal Palace and Tottenham, and even six points from those fixtures — an unlikely outcome — will not necessarily ensure their survival

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