Tottenham Hotspur are known to be one of the most unpredictable teams from the Premier League’s top six. If on a roll or on song, the Lily whites can lift you out of your seat by playing some amazing, entertaining football and beat the hell out of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. When not on song, they can end up losing 5-0 to Liverpool or it can get as worse as being dismantled 5-1 by Manchester City at White Hart Lane. And the men from North London, who always end up finishing around the 5th spot, can well be compared to West Indies, the highly volatile yet unpredictable cricketing nation. Within a period of two games, they can reach the heights and hit the nadir.
It’s been 4 seasons since Spurs finished inside the top four, when Harry Redknapp’s side which consisted of the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor fired them into the top four, making them a force to be afraid of.
But, Mauricio Pochettino, by the looks of it, has a realistically executable plan up his sleeve for Spurs. Since the Argentine took over the reins from Andre Villas Boas, Spurs have always displayed a bit more intent and willingness to work hard and win balls back from the opposition. His work ethic, which has sometimes defined his sides in the past, seldom lacked but Spurs looked a more hard working unit as ever. The high pressing football philosophy that his sides’ adhere to much like those of Roger Schmidt’s Bayer Leverkusen or Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille, sometimes gives the impression of it being the best approach to playing the beautiful game. And this season, it seems the Spurs have got used to his style of play, that is energetic, high pressing and requires a very good work ethic. And evidently, his style has started to work.
Spurs are the youngest side in the Premier League, with their average age standing at 24.9. And a young and energetic side is what is needed to adhere to the high pressing game. The average age Bayer Leverkusen, the German giants stood lower than Spurs, that being at 24.3 and Schmidt’s side has an adroitness for being a highly hard working side, who nick the ball in areas closer to the goal. And a pivotal part of the Die Werkself- 23 year old Hueng Min Son, is now a Spurs player has scored 3 goals already for the men in white. Son knows very well about the system that is being preached at the club and has been playing at a club that adhered to a similar system for 2-3 years now, scoring 21 times in 62 appearances.
Pochetinno’s attempts to strengthen the defense that had conceded the third most amount of goals last season, has reaped rewards. Playing Eric Dier in the midfield alongside the attack minded youngster Dele Alli, who gained his first English call up recently, has made sure that Spurs have conceded the lowest amount of goals so far. Dele Alli’s stellar showings since returning from a loan spell at MK Dons, have blown most Spurs fans away as the 19 year old has shown signs of being a free flowing midfielder, who is nearly complete and scores and assists, if doing everything isn’t enough. Algerian youngster Nabil Bentaleb, is yet to recover and with Ryan Mason also chipping in with impressive performances, such as the one against Sunderland, the Spurs midfield looks a one for the future.
The Belgian centre half pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen has been arguably one of the best centre half pairings of the campaign, with both accumulating a Whoscored rating in excess of 7.
Harry Kane may not have scored as many as expected, but has been molded into a more complete player than before. He’s learnt to conduct play and drop deep to string passes together. He’s scored once and that too against Man City during their 4-1 drubbing at White Hart Lane.
Christian Eriksen’s brace enabled them to gain a point at Swansea yesterday and this is indicative of the fact that he’s regained his fitness and touch. Lamela’s recent performances have improved as the Argentine grabbed 3 goals in his previous 3 games before the Swansea one. Son has scored thrice so far, and his performances have shown that he’s found his feet well enough, unlike some of the signings that Spurs made after offloading Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
Spurs look a more balanced side than they looked over the past 3-4 seasons. They’ve got a perfect mix of youth up front and experience at the back. The system has begun to work and the work ethic has suited the players, after not suiting perfectly enough last season.
With the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham and Leicester making waves at the expense of Chelsea and Liverpool, Spurs have to take advantage of this short lived tilt in prominence, before both Liverpool and Chelsea come back up. They have to make the most of this opportunity, and get as close as possible to the top three of City, Arsenal and United, if they want to challenge for the top four. But, it wont’ be easy at all, with the aforementioned three acting as surprise packages, Spurs will be given a run for their money.