Tottenham entering a defining period, on and off the field


Perhaps it was losing the opening match of the season to Manchester United, or maybe it has been the controversy freely flowing at Stamford Bridge, but for a team that is unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League matches, Spurs have been getting precious little attention so far.

Granted five of the 10 matches have been drawn, but there has been ample evidence – a 4-1 shellacking of Manchester City a prime example – that an on form Spurs are capable of beating any team in the Premier League, and with Chelsea’s recent struggles, a top-four finish looks to be up for grabs.

But there again, predictions of a top-four finish for Spurs have been as common as the flu over the last six seasons, and all too often the team has floundered down the stretch.

MORE SPURS: Harry Kane excited about Tottenham’s growing belief.

There was a fourth place finish at the expense of Manchester City in 2010. and it resulted in top flight European competition returning to White Hart Lane for the first time since 1962. Two years later, fourth was again secured, but Chelsea backdoored the Champions League after qualifying as unlikely winners.

But more times than not Champions League dreams have turned into Europa League reality. But maybe, just maybe this season might be the one when Spurs deliver over a full season rather than just part of it.

The goal scoring fortunes of Harry Kane generate the greatest discourse, but a credible case can be made that Spurs’ relative success so far has been down to how well they have done at the other end of the pitch. The last two Premier League seasons, Spurs have conceded over 50 goals – 51 in 2013-14 and 53 last season. So far, in 11 games this season, Spurs have allowed just nine goals – a number only bettered by Manchester United and Arsenal.

Then there is the faith manager Mauricio Pochettino is placing in younger players. According to a recent post from CIES Football Observatory, Spurs are fielding the league’s youngest lineup, with an average age of 24.7 years of age, and it is by design rather than a desperate throw of the dice.

Pochettino has his side playing high-energy soccer and fitness and mobility is a necessity. But over the next five weeks, the depth of Pochettino’s squad will be given a rigorous test. There are three Europa League matches, starting with Anderlecht at White Hart Lane on Thursday. On Saturday, Spurs need to travel just a short distance to play Arsenal in the North London derby followed by home games against two other London rivals, West Ham and Chelsea.

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