The season, so far
It’s hard to not be optimistic about the first few months of Spurs’ campaign. Tottenham have gone 11 unbeaten in the Premier League and have only lost three times all season in 17 games. Young players are finding their way and becoming stars while the established stars are elevating their play to another level. And with Chelsea floundering and Liverpool undergoing a change in philosophy, the time is right for Spurs to finally break through and make the top four. It seems like they have the mentality, manager and personnel to make it happen.
So many players have raised their level this season, and it has made Spurs such a difficult side to break down and beat. Eric Dier has been a revelation as a defensive midfielder, Mousa Dembele has undergone a renaissance of his own, Erik Lamela’s transformation into one of the stalwarts of Pochettino’s press has been nothing short of astounding, and Harry Kane is no one-season wonder. Combine that with an effective and consistent center back pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, and a world class keeper behind them, Spurs pressing verve has been matched by their impressive and un-Spurs like defensive solidity.
The road ahead
Post-international break, Spurs face two London derbies: at home against West Ham, who will be without their talisman Dmitri Payet; and Chelsea, who have had a rough start to their season (and that is being kind). Before January, their toughest match figures to be Southampton away on the Dec. 19. They also complete their Europa League group stage campaign away to Qarabag and home to Monaco.
As they are now getting relatively healthy with the returns of Son Heung-min, Ryan Mason and eventually Nabil Bentaleb, they’ll be as fit as they have been all season. Staying healthy and out of yellow card trouble (both Eric Dier and Erik Lamela have served one-game accumulation suspensions already) is obviously paramount, but there is no reason to think this team won’t continue its form through January.
Spurs likely won’t see much change in their league position come January, which means they’ll have every opportunity to either be in the top four or within touching distance of it when the month opens.
Since the squad is already relatively complete, there aren’t many holes, but the biggest one that could be filled would be a backup to Harry Kane. They have been linked with Gent striker Laurent Depoitre and Fulham striker Moussa Dembele (I’m not kidding) already, and it would no surprise to see them buy one striker as a backup for Kane in case he goes down or to help with fixture congestion.
A backup in defensive midfield might also be in the cards, but that seems far more unlikely at this stage. A few players could see loans away or be sold, the most notable of whom would be Andros Townsend, whose spat with the Spurs trainer has seen him ostracized and exiled from the first team squad. Selling him would provide funds to buy a striker, which would be beneficial.
Overall, the forecast for Spurs for the next two months and beyond is quite sunny. Supporters are feeling optimistic, and based on recent performances, why shouldn’t they be? The press is working as well as anyone could have imagined, players have raised their game to new levels, morale is high, and sans any debilitating injuries, Mauricio Pochettino appears to be building something quite special at White Hart Lane. There’s no reason to think the top four, or even the Title, is beyond their grasp.
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