The razzle and dazzle of Sky’s baby has reached fever pitch this season but not for the right reasons. If it’s not Balotelli lighting fireworks, Terry saying naughty things or Arsene blowing his top, then it’s probably a squabble in Manchester or Mike Ashley upsetting something or someone. But let’s try and bring it back to the football, let’s talk about the unsung heroes of this season’s Premier League, Tottenham.
Spurs have handled their business in a very quiet, almost lethal manner and now sit third just behind Manchester United. Winning their game in hand over the top two will see them overtake the Champions and move just four points behind City. With a decent chunk of the season gone it’s one of Tottenham’s best starts in years.
But how did Tottenham manage to get so high up the table without any of us noticing? After their opening two defeats to City and United the rest of the country forgot about the men from White Hart Lane. At the end of August Harry’s men sat bottom of the table with only Steve Kean and Roberto Martinez for company.
After the league defeat to City in August, Spurs have won nine of their last ten games. An away draw at Newcastle being the only blip on a fantastic recent record. Since the arrival of Redknapp, Spurs have threatened to be a mainstay in the top four but have always lacked consistency against the lesser sides.
So far this season, Spurs have not dropped a single point to a team outside the top four. You could flip that statistic and say they’ve only taken one point out of nine against the other three top sides, but three points against Wigan is the same as three points against Manchester United. Especially if the latter are struggling to win games they would normally dominate.
One of the most encouraging aspects of this recent run won’t be found on the league table but in the dressing room. Results like this can only encourage top class players such as Bale and Modric to stay put. At this moment would you consider leaving Spurs for say, Chelsea? There is a vibrant free flowing mood ebbing out of White Hart Lane right now and it can’t be matched anywhere else in the capital.
Even if Spurs were to lose one of their big name stars, I would expect a host of names queueing up for a chance to replace them just like you would see at Old Trafford or the Etihad. Selling a club challenging for the league is a lot easier than trotting out the “we’re hoping for Champions League football” line that was a fixture at White Hart Lane a few seasons ago.
If Tottenham can keep up this current winning mentality then the run-in to Christmas looks very appealing. They face home games with Bolton, Sunderland and Chelsea with an away trip to Stoke the only journey.
Tottenham should pick up maximum points against Bolton and Sunderland at home. And while away trip to the Britannia looks slippery on paper did you know Stoke have lost three of their last four matches at home? The idea that Stoke have a great home record is slowly being chipped away and I see no reason why Spurs shouldn’t take all three points from there.
The Chelsea game will be more difficult, but yet again you can see Tottenham winning, can’t you? This Chelsea team are in transition much like Tottenham themselves a few years ago and it’s something a lot of sides who have faced Chelsea took advantage of. I don’t expect Tottenham to lose and a win will certainly make the non-believers sit up and take note. Twelve points out of twelve in the next month could be vital if Tottenham have eyes on Premier League glory.
Manchester City on the other hand face Chelsea and Arsenal in the same set of fixtures. A crucial period for them if they have any hope of winning the Premier League for the first time. United do have the easier run-in of the three with Villa, Wolves, QPR and Fulham all facing the reds but as we’ve seen before United are susceptible to the odd shock. Just look at their struggle to qualify for the Champions League knockouts.
The Premier League is turning into a three horse race and its about time we took Tottenham seriously as title contenders. Chelsea and Arsenal have worried about buying players for the present in order to hide their initial shortcomings and its backfired spectacularly, they now find themselves part of the chasing pack instead of ahead of it. Tottenham have put together not only a very good first eleven, but a squad that has the potential to push the power of Manchester all the way.
By Craig Shields. Craig can be found on Twitter @Craig_J_Shields.