Tottenham Hotspur Is The Premier League Team Of The Year So Far Even Ahead Of Chelsea

Tottenham Have Been The Better Team Than Chelsea And It Is Quite Clear

The League table doesn’t lie. But does it tell the entire story? – Probably not. At the moment, the table says that Chelsea are the best team in England and while that wouldn’t have been entirely wrong a few months earlier in the season, things have changed now.

When Tottenham Hotspur went on to a get a thumping 4-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, they collected their 7th consecutive win in a row in the Premier League – the first time that has happened since 1967. Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued their stunning run to apply pressure on the leaders Chelsea as the win reduced the gap at the top to just 4 points. But the manner of the victory, the thorough dismantling of the Cherries that took place at White Hart Lane made a huge statement of intent.

When the Blues came crashing down at the Old Trafford a day later, with Manchester United defeating them 2-0, the title race was blown wide open. It was Chelsea’s second defeat in 4 league games, after they had been surprisingly beaten 2-1 at the Stamford Bridge by Crystal Palace.

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea may have gathered the most points from the start of the season till now, but arguably, it’s been Tottenham who have been the better team in the Premier League this season. The North Londoners have the second best goal-scoring record in the league with 68 goals so far – just a goal behind Liverpool (69) who have played a match more. Spurs have the best defensive record in the league as well, having just conceded on 22 occasions so far.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have scored 3 goals lesser than the Lilywhites and have conceded 5 higher. In the last 10 league games, the Blues have failed to registered a single clean sheet, while Tottenham have done so on 6 occasions. While the difference might not seem too much, it is these smaller margins that can decide the title winner come the end of the season in May.

Tottenham have just lost 3 games so far this term while the Blues have been handed a defeat on 5 occasions. In recent weeks, it has been Tottenham who have shown the grit and the steely nature that defines a champion. Surely, just looking like champions is not enough to make it a reality – but it is something that the league table fails to convey.

Spurs have long been regarded as one of the brighter teams in England, but in the years gone by, they have lacked the resilience at key moments to go on and achieve bigger and better things. Last season, when they were close to clinching the title, a meltdown in the last few games saw them finish in the third place.

But, this time around there is something different about them. Each time they take the pitch, there’s a purpose about them, there is an added sense of menace, an added thrust in their game.

Having started the season brightly – their best start in the league in 50 years, the first big statement of intent came when they comprehensively defeated Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 2-0 in October, who were on a juggernaut in the league till then, having won 10 games in a row.

A month later, they were faced with leaders Chelsea, where they came up short, losing 2-1. But they came the closest to threatening Conte’s side who were looking unbeatable. In fact, Tottenham broke Chelsea’s run of having not conceded in 6 league games running, with Christian Eriksen’s strike in that game. When the two teams met again in January, Tottenham condemned Chelsea to a 2-0 defeat at the White Hart Lane, establishing their title credentials once again.

The fact that Chelsea did not have to play European football this season has aided them greatly in keeping the squad fresh week in week out and has allowed them to get used to Conte’s methods in their first season together. On the other hand, Tottenham have had to contend with involvement in the Champions League and later in the Europa League – neither of them were successful, but they still had to play those extra games in the midweek.

Chelsea have played with almost the same team since Conte found the winning formula in his 3-4-3 system each week. They have been extremely lucky in the injuries department and have never had to lose their best players for a sustained period of time.

Tottenham have had to make do without some of their best players for elongated periods over the course of the season. They were without star striker Harry Kane for a good chunk of games earlier in the season and had lost him to another injury weeks ago. They have had to deal with the absence of star defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a run of games, while another of their best performers, Danny Rose hasn’t featured for months together now.

Despite of all these challenges and hurdles, Pochettino’s team have stuck together and have continued to deliver in an emphatic manner. The Argentine has managed to build almost a perfect squad which has a great blend of youth and experience, full of brilliant individuals yet none bigger than the team itself. There is no individual dragging the team over the line, but it is the collective enterprise that makes the Spurs squad so exciting.

Their production line of youth talent is one of the best in the league, they have an impressive stadium coming up next to the White Hart Lane, there is an exciting young squad and there’s one of the brightest young managers in the game. Only thing that is missing from the mix is a trophy and they have a shot at two of them – they will go to the Wembley next week for the FA Cup semifinals; ironically against Chelsea. With the Blues losing over the weekend, the Premier League title is also for the taking.

At this point of time, there is no question that it is Tottenham who are the best team in the country even if they don’t have a trophy to show for yet. Jose Mourinho said it in December. Pep Guardiola admitted it in January. And now Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has himself conceded that Tottenham are the best in the Premier League. They may win the title at the end of the season or they may not. But this band of exceptional footballers under Pochettino is a team on the rise and make no mistake, they are here to stay for the long run.

Written by Raghavendra Goudar

Mechanical Engineer, avid reader and a football fanatic.

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