Evolving Lloris and new-found resolve propels Spurs’ title bid

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Of the four teams scrapping to claim title honours in the most fickle Premier League season in history, the hardest upcoming assignments in a bumper week of action unquestionably lie with Tottenham.

With West Ham and Arsenal making up the north Londoners’ next two fixtures, it was vital Spurs moved into an important stretch of the season with momentum. They achieved their quest with a come-from-behind win over Swansea, a result that acted as yet more proof that the Lilywhites are ready to claim the title.

In overturning Alberto Paloschi’s opener to take a 2-1 victory, Mauricio Pochettino’s men made it 17 points salvaged from losing positions in the league this term. No other side in the top flight has rescued more.

For a club so famous for wilting under pressure, that stat is perhaps the best example of the new-found steel Spurs have under their Argentine manager.

Two points behind Leicester and three ahead of the Gunners, Spurs sit at 21/10 in Ladbrokes’ outright Premier League market, a smidgen behind the Foxes, who claim 2/1 favouritism.

Should results swing their way over the next two matches then a spot at the top of both the league table and Ladbrokes’ betting awaits. But there are far more reasons to expect that leap than the mere ability to come from behind.

In Hugo Lloris they have arguably the best top flight goalkeeper not named David De Gea. The Frenchman was pivotal in keeping Swansea at bay at White Hart Lane, making a number of high-class stops. One close-quarters reaction save from Gylfi Sigurdsson was the obvious highlight

In keeping with Spurs’ improvement under Pochettino, it’s interesting to note how Lloris’ role has changed.

There was a time when the former Lyon man was a fleet-footed sweeper-keeper, haring from his line to tackle opponents that had sprung beyond the back line.

Now, with the league’s most miserly rearguard in front of him, Lloris takes up a much deeper starting position, acting as shot-stopping last line of defence. In both roles he has proved his excellence.

Beyond their resolve and inspiring goalkeeper, Spurs are putting a streak of wins together at the right time.

Victories in their last six league games have picked off their rivals one by one. Manchester United are now 10 points behind in fifth place, Manchester City are seven adrift and Arsenal are next in the crosshairs, sat three points back from their White Hart Lane rivals.

A continuation of Spurs’ relentless streak will soon do for the Gunners, leaving the title race a two horse race between them and Leicester. It’s time to believe that the former have the strength to prevail.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.