One win against Norwich City on Sunday is all it will take for Spurs to secure a top four place. Even a draw will likely get it done thanks to superior goal difference over Arsenal but a win puts it beyond doubt. Norwich sit dead last in the leage having conceded an eye-popping 79 goals and have long had their relegation fates sealed. Fourth place should be a cakewalk for this side. Right?
Well, not so fast. Reports are conflicting, but Harry Kane is apparently feeling unwell on Friday afternoon and will be assessed prior to the Norwich match. Though even missing only Kane shouldn't be enough to cause a major concern as Heung-Min Son can slot in at striker in a pinch, but there are other rumors swirling around London.
No suggestions of a food poisoning outbreak at Tottenham Hotspur despite rumours. However, Harry Kane has been feeling unwell - not food poisoning - and will be assessed ahead of Sunday's game.— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) May 20, 2022
Even the mere mention of food poisoning by Alasdair Gold, however, will send Spurs fans spiraling into a tizzy because they've been here before.
Food poisoning is why the the word lasagna is verboten when is comes to Spurs and big matches. They year was 2006, it was the final day of the season and Spurs were facing West Ham. The Hammers sat in 17th place and all Spurs needed to do was match Arsenal's result on the final day of the season to secure a Champions League place. It seemed like a forgone conclusion that Spurs would get the points needed and reach the promised land. It's important to remember that back then, Spurs were decidedly second fiddle in North London, with Arsenal still perennial Champions League participants under Arsene Wenger. It would have been a massive achievement for Spurs to nip their crosstown rivals at the wire. And it seemed likely. Until "lasagne-gate" happened.
The night before that match with West Ham, 10 players caught a stomach bug, including stars Robbie Keane and Michael Carrick. The culprit was alleged to be the lasagna the team ate the night before the match. Spurs wanted a postponement, but it was the the final day of the season so that wasn't possible. The depleted side ended up losing 2-1 to West Ham while Arsenal won 4-2 to pass them in the table. Spurs would not go on to top Arsenal in the table until the 2016/17 season, ending an Arsenal streak which stretched to 21 years by that point.
So, Gary Lineker's report is one that strikes fear in the hearts of Spurs supporters. Against West Ham ill players were forced to play, but they weren't fit enough during the match running out of steam. This year, a stomach bug already hit four players in Antonio Conte's side ahead of their match versus Burnley causing Dejan Kulusevski to settle for a place on the bench leading and it's all leading to a weird case of deja vu.
Conte does expect Kane to be available while confirming that there have been some issues which seems similar to Kulusevski's last week. Hopefully, all fears are dispelled, and Spurs secure Champions League soccer for next season, and if not it's because a mostly full strength squad finds another way to throw it all away. But until the final whistle blows, Spurs fans will always fear lasagnagate 2.0.