By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor
Harry Kane has called on Tottenham Hotspur to take advantage of the scheduling of Premier League fixtures and increase the pressure on leaders Chelsea by beating West Ham United on their first trip to the London Stadium on Friday night.
With Antonio Conte’s side not in action until Monday evening against Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge, Spurs can move to within one point of Chelsea if they can overcome West Ham and record a 10th successive Premier League victory.
“It is good to go first – we have got to try to drop the gap to one point and see what happens,” said Kane, whose penalty in Sunday’s north-London derby helped to ensure Tottenham will finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.
“We knew what it was like last year with Leicester playing before us. It is difficult. It is good to try to play first and try to put that pressure on, so it will be good to play on Friday night. It is another tough game away from home but hopefully we can get that win, put that pressure on and wait and see.”
At this stage last season, Tottenham trailed Leicester City by five points but failed to win any of their last four games as they faded badly to end up in third spot. With a home match against Manchester United and trips to Leicester and relegation-threatened Hull City to follow West Ham, Spurs must contend with a potentially more difficult run-in compared with Chelsea. Kane is confident they can maintain their winning run until the end of the season – an achievement that would leave them one victory behind Arsenal’s Premier League record of 14 between February and August of 2002.
“We could end up on 89 [points] and still not win the league,” Kane said. “That would be disappointing. We have got four games in front of us and we feel like we can win all four. We feel we can beat anyone. We have just got to learn from what happened last year and we feel like we are doing that.”
After Monday’s meeting with Middlesbrough, Chelsea still have home games against Watford and relegated Sunderland after they travel to West Bromwich Albion on 12 May and know three wins would guarantee the title. Nemanja Matic, who was part of the side who held off Manchester City’s challenge in 2015 under José Mourinho, admitted they are wary of the threat posed by Spurs. “This year is more difficult,” he said. “We finished 2015 eight points more than City. I’m not sure that will be the case with Tottenham. I’m sure they won’t give up until the end. It’s hard.