On strength of performance, Tottenham should have walked away from the Emirates with only a second win at Arsenal’s shiny abode in the Premier League era, but in spite of being held, the signs are highly promising for the white side of north London this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men sit fifth in the table heading into November’s international break, just five points off the pace set by Manchester City and their bitter rivals from just across the capital.
Since the halcyon days of Harry Redknapp, fifth has remained Spurs’ Premier League glass ceiling, but there are genuine reasons for optimism that the current squad are set to shatter it.
Here are five of those, with Spurs still set at a very appealing price of 8/5 to make the top four in 2015/16:
An identity under Pochettino
It’s no secret that the Argentine is an advocate of the double training session and a pretty punishing fitness regime in general. While this is not to every footballer’s personal taste, the fruits of this hard labour are seen on the pitch come matchday. Unbeaten in the league since their opener at Manchester United, this Spurs outfit will run all day long and is now very much in the manager’s mould after the previous season was spent instilling the work ethic and weeding out deadwood.
A rock solid defence
A teak tough defence has seldom epitomised Spurs in the Premier League era, but with the addition of Toby Alderweireld this summer, things have rarely looked sturdier at White Hart Lane. Reunited with countryman Jan Vertonghen, after title-winning campaigns at Ajax previously, the Belgian duo have been ever present in the league this season. Only three teams can boast meaner defences so far this term, while a goalkeeper of Hugo Lloris’ calibre sweeping up behind them also helps no end in keeping the opposition at bay. Potential injuries to any of this holy trinity are a concern though.
A proven 20+ goals striker
There is a need to strengthen in the striker department in January, with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor vacating the squad from last season’s roster. Nevertheless, leading into the internationals Harry Kane has begun to show signs of hitting the heights he reached during a headline-grabbing breakthrough campaign for Spurs. After a slow start to proceedings, the Walthamstow wonder is making up for lost time, notching six in his last four matches in all competitions.
The failings of their closest rivals
Chelsea are virtually written out of the race and while Leicester are defying expectations, a dip in form for the flying Foxes must be surely be somewhere around the corner, in much the same way West Ham faded last season. The Hammers looks stronger again perhaps, but it’s usual suspects Manchester United and Liverpool who are most likely to be the benchmark in terms of top-four rivals once again. Although United are three points ahead, there is still something very unconvincing about Louis van Gaal’s side, especially in attack. But if the Red Devils are nothing to be scared of, then the Reds are even less fear inducing. Liverpool may have Jurgen Klopp at the helm, but a string of injuries and the defensive failings leftover from the previous regime could seriously hamper their chances.
Results against top sides
Aside from the aforementioned 1-0 opening-day blip at Old Trafford, where Spurs were arguably the better side, results against the bigger fish have been encouraging. Most impressively, Manchester City were thumped 4-1 at the Lane, while spoils have been shares against Arsenal and Leicester on the road and Liverpool at home. Such encouraging results in the high-profile games harvest the required self belief.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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