Allardyce AVB needs top-three finish Football Preview

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has claimed ahead of Monday night’s London derby against local rivals Tottenham that Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas needs to secure a top-three finish in the Premier League to be judged a success this season.

Allardyce has cited the scenario that faced Harry Redknapp, who lost his job at Tottenham after finishing fourth last season, to back up his suggestion that Villas-Boas is a man under pressure as he attempts to guide Tottenham back into the Champions League.

Tottenham can move above Chelsea into third place with a win at Upton Park, and allardyce believes that is the minimum requirement for the young Portuguese coach this term.

“They’ve got to finish higher than fourth, haven’t they, and that’s the pressure for him (Villas-Boas),” Allardyce said, according to The Sun.

“Villas-Boas has done great taking over from Harry, but fourth is the same as Harry and you know what happens in football. They’ll say ‘oh, well Harry done that’.

“I think Tottenham are good enough to finish third or fourth as long as they continue to keep the top players fit and don’t pick up too many injuries. If they can do that, they’ve got a really good chance of getting that third place.

“He has probably learned an awful lot from his short time at Chelsea. It was the first time that things didn’t go so well for him and you can probably learn more in that period of time than you can when things went as well as they did at Porto, where he won the [Europa League].”

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has claimed his side have been presented with a “unique opportunity” to assume control of third place in the Premier League ahead of the West Ham clash.

Chelsea’s defeat at Manchester City on Sunday has opened the door for Spurs to leap ahead of their London rivals and snare a spot that will guarantee entry into the group stages of the Champions League for next season.

With so much at stake, Villas-Boas could be forgiven for dampening down the expectations on his players before the game in east London, but he is doing the opposite, suggesting wins at Upton Park and in next week’s north London derby against Arsenal are pivotal to Tottenham’s expectations for this season.

“This is a unique opportunity to be third in the Premier League,” he said. “I think the boys will be up for it and I don’t worry that there will be an affect from playing in Europe. We have done well after most of our Europa League games so far.

“The boys are really committed to their Champions League objective. West Ham will be a difficult game at a difficult stadium. It is a game that is always full of passion and emotion. It’s not going to be easy but we are on a good run. Hopefully we can get three points and be third at the end of the week.”

West Ham player to watch: On-loan striker Andy Carroll grabbed the Hammers’ winner against Swansea and will hope to wreak havoc in a Tottenham defence that has conceded six goals in their last seven matches

Tottenham player to watch: Unfortunately for Allardyce, there’s no avoiding Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has tapped a rich vein of form in recent weeks, scoring six goals in his last five matches for Spurs

Betting: It will be an emotional night at Upton Park a day on from the 20th anniversary of former England captain Bobby Moore’s death, it may be hoping against hope for a home win. West Ham have produced just two victories in their last 11 Premier League matches, while Spurs are in buccaneering form. Back Bale to bag a seventh in eight matches in a Spurs win at 7/1 with bet365

Prediction: 0-2

La Fiorentina et Marseille trbuchent

La Fiorentina et Marseille trébuchent

La Fiorentina et Marseille ont hypothéqué leurs chances de qualification jeudi perdant chacune 0-1 à domicile contre des formations néerlandaises, respectivement l'Ajax Amsterdam et le FC Twente, en 16e de finale aller de la Coupe de l'UEFA de football.

Au stade Artemio Franchi, la Fiorentina a été bridée par le pressing de l'Ajax, avant que les lacunes de sa défense ne permettent aux Néerlandais de prendre l'avantage en début de 2e mi-temps.

Malgré ses efforts, l'équipe florentine, qui avait pourtant réussi à arracher le nul dimanche après avoir été menée 0-3 sur le terrain du Genoa, n'est pas parvenue à revenir au score, Adrian Mutu, auteur des trois buts à Gênes, manquant plusieurs occasions.

L'OM, dans une configuration inédite, a logiquement trébuché devant des adversaires audacieux. Sans inspiration, les Marseillais ont eu du mal à se créer des occasions, et surtout à les transformer. Alors que Twente a étiré son jeu pour ouvrir la marque par Arnautovic à la 22e minute, puis joué en contre pour maintenir le score.

Dans les autres rencontres de la soirée, les Ukrainiens du Shakhtar Donetsk ont pris une option en battant Tottenham 2 à 0. L'Udinese à l'extérieur s'est fait rattraper au score par Lech Poznan (2-2), tandis que le FC Copenhague à domicile parvenait à arracher le nul dans le temps additionnel contre Manchester City sur le même score.