The full-time whistle goes and Tottenham have beaten Sunderland 1-0, but unfortunately the final whistle has also gone at Newcastle and Arsenal have won 1-0 to secure fourth place and UEFA Champions League qualification. Bale is congratulated following his stunning winner but there are no celebrations for Spurs tonight.
Tottenham are content now to just pass the ball around and keep possession, just praying for a favour from Newcastle. They at least look set to fulfil their part of the bargain with a win here.
Tottenham still need a goal from Newcastle to put them into the top four, and the news from St James' Park is that Theo Walcott has just hit the post as Arsenal remain 1-0 up.
The way things were going it was going to take something special to break the deadlock today, and Player of the Year Bale has again produced the goods with a stunning curled strike into the top corner from at least 25 yards. Brilliant goal.
89 GOAL! Bale puts Tottenham 1-0 ahead.
88 Another youngster is blooded for Sunderland as Mitchell replaces Wickham for the final couple of minutes.
Tottenham have had 21 shots on goal today but Mignolet has been equal to the task and he has been well protected by his back four.
Sigurdsson is quickly into the action but is thwarted with an attempted cross from the left wing which is intercepted by Larsson.
83 Villas-Boas' final throw of the dice sees Sigurdsson come on to try and grab a late winner for Tottenham.
Lennon, back out on the left wing, combines well with Adebayor and Assou-Ekotto but Spurs cannot play their way through Sunderland's resolute defence.
Bale's free-kick floats over the heads of his team-mates in the center but he almost redeems himself moments later with a well-controlled volley from the edge of the area which is well held by Mignolet.
79 Mandron's enthusiasm perhaps gets the better of him as he mistimes a challenge and is shown a yellow card, presenting Spurs with a free-kick in a good area.
Time is running out for Tottenham now but it is still one-way traffic as Sunderland sontinue to sit deep inside their own half.
75 RED CARD: Sunderland are reduced to ten men as Vaughan is shown a second yellow card following a rash challenge on Lennon.
74 Di Canio makes a double change as he brings on the untested Mandron and Knot for McClean and Graham.
73 Villas-Boas shuffles his pack yet again as he brings on Defoe for Dempsey for the closing stages.
Bale beats the offside trap and controls a long pass on his chest, before twisting this way and that to make way for a shot, but Mignolet again makes a solid stop.
Huddlestone sends over a low cross from the right which looks threatening but Mignolet is there to clutch the ball.
Tottenham are continuing to apply the pressure, as they have all afternoon, and are throwing everything at Sunderland as they win a series of corners in quick succession.
There is a huge roar from the crowd but Arsenal are still leading Newcastle 1-0. Perhaps it is a psychological ploy to try and drive Tottenham on.
Another near-miss for Tottenham as Dawson rises to win the ball in the air and Dempsey comes in to try and turn the ball home, only to fire straight against his team-mate Vertonghen.
64 Villas-Boas makes his first change of the afternoon as Dembele comes on for Parker.
Tottenham may just be getting the sense that it is never going to happen for them today, as Parker's shot is blocked on the line by Colback following another scramble in the area. The ball rebounds to Lennon but his effort is again partly stopped by Colback before deflecting on to the post and away to safety.
Sunderland deserve a lot of credit for the way they have defended this afternoon and shackled the likes of Bale and Lennon. They have also done well from corners and clear another set-piece here.
Johnson lets fly with a shot from 25 yards but it is a wild effort that sails high and wide into the stands.
The Tottenham fans are still spurring their team on despite news of that goal for Arsenal, and a change could be imminent as Defoe starts to warm up down on the touchline.
Wickham's header from a McClean cross lacks power and is comfortably caught by Lloris.
Huddlestone blazes a good chance over the crossbar with a volleyed effort after a mad scramble in the penalty area.
GOAL FOR ARSENAL: The crowd goes quiet as news filters through that Arsenal have taken the lead against Newcastle. Spurs now need an equaliser at St James' Park, as well as a goal of their own here.
52 Vaughan gives away a free-kick following a foul in midfield and is shown a yellow card.
Another penalty appeal is waved away for Tottenham as Cuellar appears to handle Adebayor's shot in the area as he slips to the floor, but the referee waves play on.
Lazy play from Huddlestone in midfield allows Sunderland to pinch the ball but Lloris prevents Graham from opening the scoring with a fabulous save low down to his left.
Sunderland break quickly and Graham volleys a cross-cum-shot wide from the corner of the area, which trickles out of play before it can be retrieved by Wickham.
Bale's effort is blocked following a cross from Assou-Ekotto and the ricochet just evades two other Tottenhm players who could have followed it up and scored. The ball eventually falls for Lennon on the edge of the box and he skims a shot narrowly wide.
Tottenham pick up where they finished the first half and immediately get on the front foot.
Sunderland get the second half started at White Hart Lane. There have been no changes for either side at the interval.
The half-time whistle goes and it is still goalless, both here and in the match between Newcastle and Arsenal at St James' Park. Tottenham have been much the better team and should have had a penalty, but instead Bale was shown a yellow card for diving. Boos ring out for the referee as he walks off and there will be a nail-biting 45 minutes ahead.
Sunderland win a free-kick in a promising position just before the interval but Johnson's delivery is too heavy and poses little danger to Lloris' goal.
Dempsey tries his luck from 20 yards but cannot quite enough power on his shot and a sprawling Mignolet makes a routine save.
There is a lot of frustration on the Tottenham bench but Spurs are knocking firmly on the door and will feel confident of making the breakthrough at some stage.
Tottenham are almost presented with a glorious chance as O'Shea tries to head the ball back to Mignolet, not realising that Bale is still lurking in behind. The Spurs star is unable to capitalise, though, as his shot from a narrow angle is well blocked by the keeper.
Bale steps up and tests Mignolet with a dipping effort, but the keeper dives across to his left to make a decent save.
38 McClean is issued a yellow card following a clumsy challenge on Adebayor, presenting Spurs with a free-kick around 35 yards from goal.
Lennon has temporarily switched to the left and he swings over a low cross which Bale connects with in the centre. The Welshman's shot crashes into Colback and he appeals for handball, only for the referee to wave play on. Replays show it did strike his arm but it does not look to have been deliberate.
Adebayor does well to beat his man but nobody makes a run for him in the middle and he has little choice but to deliver the cross anyway, which is safely cut out by a diving Mignolet.
Johnson shows good skill to wriggle away from Assou-Ekotto and Bale down Sunderland's right, but just runs the ball out of play when he had an open field in from of him.
Lloris punches the resulting corner clear and Tottenham regain control of the midfield battleground.
Lloris comes to Tottenham's rescue with an excellent, instinctive save at his near post from Wickham's close-range flick after a right-wing cross from Graham.
Sunderland manage to string a few passes together and temporarily pin Spurs back in their own half.
Tottenham win a corner as N'Diaye intercepts a Walker cross, and Bale's delivery is greeted by a firm clearing header from Larsson.
The game is being played primarily in Sunderland territory as Tottenham continue to show the greater urgency.
Huddlestone has a sledgehammer of a shot but on this occasion it is more controlled as his effort from 20 yards is well saved by Mignolet down to his right.
The crowd are still seething as Tottenham try and regroup and get back into their passing stride.
21 A big moment in the game and it goes against Tottenham as Bale is booked for diving. He is furious after being shoved over by Larsson in the area following a thrilling surge forward and it should have been a penalty. The White Hart Lane faithful make their feelings quite clear as referee Andre Marriner shows the Welshman a yellow.
Dempsey gets away from one man on the edge of the area but his momentum is just going the wrong way as he misplaces an attempted pass to Adebayor in a dangerous area.
Adebayor steps away from a couple of defenders and tries to swing over a cross to the unmarked Bale at the back post, but it is just too high and floats out of play.
The possession stats show that Tottenham have had 77 per cent of the ball so far and they will surely start carving out chances if they can keep that up.
Villas-Boas is looking animated on the touchline as he tries to get his message across, and at the moment he may be slightly concerned about the tight nature of the game.
Walker tries an ambitious ball in from the right after more good build-up play, but Dempsey had not made the run into the centre that he had expected and Mignolet collects calmly.
There has been plenty to admire about Tottenham's passing in the first few minutes but Sunderland are not leaving any gaps for them to exploit and they will have to bide their time.
Vertonghen spreads play out to Lennon with a wonderful cross-field pass but the winger's attempted cross is charged down by Colback, who is playing at left-back for Sunderland in the absence of Rose.
It is all Tottenham at the moment and they have started the match at a good tempo, but Sunderland look organised at the back and are working hard.
The corner causes problems for Sunderland as Dempsey gets away from his marker and puts pressure on Mignolet, whose punch is unconvincing, but the visitors survive.
Adebayor shows good pace to get a yard ahead of his defender and lets off a good low strike from a tight angle which is well saved by Mignolet and goes behind for a corner.
Sunderland look content to sit back in the early stages and Tottenham look eager to get Walker and Assou-Ekotto forward as often as possible.
Sunderland finally get some possession and Vaughan tries to pick out Graham with a long pass, but Lloris rushes off his line quickly to gather the ball safely before the striker can reach it.
The onus is on Spurs to take the game to Sunderland and they will be determined to get ahead as quickly as possible to put the pressure on Arsenal, who are kicking off a minute behind this game.
Spurs enjoy a period of patient passing before pressing forward and winning a throw-in, which Mignolet has to come out and punch clear.
Tottenham get us started in a game they have to win to stand any chance of finishing in the top four.
Cian Hughes says: "Heya, Spurs are my second favourite team (after LFC). I think that they'll finish 4th! Easy win today, 4-1."
Alex Bullions tweets: "As an Arsenal fan I want Sunderland to win, but a Tottenham win is most likely."
This just in from our friends at Sky Bet: Tottenham are 1/4 for the win required to maintain the pressure on north London rivals Arsenal in the race for a top-four finish against a Sunderland side that have lost nine of their last 11 trips to White Hart Lane. The Black Cats are 12/1 in the match betting with the draw available at 5/1. Player of the Year Gareth Bale is 5/2 to sign off this season with a brace and 11/4 to score first.
Orin de Silva says: "I have never been so nervous before a match! We suffered heartbreak this time last year when Chelsea beat Bayern. I cannot go through that heartache again! This season has been a busy one and we need to finish it in style and so do Newcastle! So let's pray for the right results today! I'm only a young fan and already I've been through a roller coaster ride with spurs! So let's hope we get the right result today and hope Newcastle do too! COME ON YOU SPURS!!!"
Mousa Dembele has to settle for a place on the bench for Tottenham, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto has overcome a knee injury to start at left-back and Emmanuel Adebayor gets the nod up front. For Sunderland, Phil Bardsley and Matthew Kilgallon have both been dropped from the squad after pictures emerged of the duo partying in a casino in midweek.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Huddlestone, Parker, Dempsey, Adebayor, Bale. Subs: Friedel, Caulker, Naughton, Dembele, Holtby, Sigurdsson, Defoe.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Larsson, Colback, O'Shea, Cuellar, N'Diaye, Vaughan, McClean, Johnson, Graham, Wickham. Subs: Westwood, Marrs, Mandron, Knott, Ferguson, Harrison, Mitchell.
Villas-Boas suggested yesterday that it was not up to him to judge whether Tottenham's season had been a success if they miss out on a Champions League berth, although they could be proud of achieving their record points tally with a win this afternoon. Do you agree or can Spurs' campaign only be considered a good one if they finish in the top four? How would you assess Villas-Boas' first year at the helm? Let us know at Lewis.Rutledge@bskyb.com, or via Twitter @SkySportsLewis.
Tottenham have been in good form over the past few weeks and a seven-match unbeaten run has kept them in the hunt for a Champions League spot, but they will wonder how they got themselves in this position after moving seven points clear of Arsenal, and going third, with a 2-1 victory over their North London rivals on March 3. That result appeared decisive at the time but Andre Villas-Boas' side, perhaps exhausted from their Europa League exploits, suffered defeats against Liverpool ad Fulham in their next two matches and have been battling ever since to stay in touch with in-form Arsenal and Chelsea.
This is not the first time that Tottenham have been involved in a final-day shoot-out for a place in the top four. They were in pole position in 2006 when they lost to West Ham United after losing several players to a stomach bug, while last season they did finish fourth but agonisingly missed out on participating in the Champions League as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich and were given the chance to defend their European trophy. The odds are against Spurs this year but they will be hoping fortune is smiling on them for a change.
Super Spur Stuart Andrew writes: "Although we only have ourselves to blame, there is a belief that Arsenal will falter against Newcastle as their record there in the last few seasons has been very poor. With a 1 million bounty on their heads there is one further incentive for the Toon Army to ruin Arsenal's march to the promised land and I can see this going down to the wire. The only thing is with our leaky defence, can we actually muster the energy and guile to win at home to put the pressure on those boys from the other side of North London? Here's hoping everything pans out for us this season, fingers crossed."
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has offered a £1million incentive, which will be shared out among the club's non-playing staff, if they beat Arsenal, so Tottenham should not worry about a lack of effort from the Magpies following that joke from Alan Pardew last week that he would not care if his side lost after achieving Premier League survival. Sunderland are also safe after Arsenal's win over Wigan and could help out Arsene Wenger's men in return by denying Spurs victory this afternoon. Nobody could claim it has been a good season for the Black Cats but there have been some positive signs under Paolo Di Canio, who has demanded a good performance from his players and even threatened to cut short their holidays if they are not good enough.
Wesley in London is the first to get in touch, saying: "I see Spurs thrashing Sunderland today, and Arsenal dropping to fifth position. Bale will finish the job. Tottenham 4 Sunderland 1."
The situation for Tottenham is quite simple. If they do not win they have no chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season's UEFA Champions League, so Spurs will be concentrating solely on picking up three points. However, it will not matter what the result is at White Hart Lane if Arsenal beat Newcastle United, so Tottenham fans will also be following events at St James' Park with interest as they look for a favour from the Magpies. You can check out our commentary of the clash between Arsenal and Newcastle, and I will also bring you any score updates here.
Let us know your views and predictions by getting in touch at Lewis.Rutledge@bskyb.com, or via Twitter @SkySportsLewis. Will Tottenham prove too strong for Sunderland today and, if they do, will that be enough to secure a top-four spot? What kind of resistance can they expect from Sunderland? The full team news will be in shortly but who do you think are likely to be the key players?
Good afternoon and welcome to our minute-by-minute commentary of the Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane. It promises to be a tense time for Spurs fans as they wait to discover if they can finish in the top four, and Sunderland will be determined to finish the season with a flourish to spoil the occasion.