Pochettino’s Spurs: Title challengers or top-four outsiders?


It is now 12 games since Tottenham lost in the league. They added a West Ham side that usually spring surprises on the road to their list of impressive scalps this season and their play has many wondering just how far Mauricio Pochettino can take them this term.

A 4-1 mauling of the Hammers, who had beaten Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool in previous away games during the campaign, was the latest impressive turn from the Lilywhites. The win left them in fifth place in the Premier League, two points off the top four and just four off leaders Leicester.

Add the West Ham win to the thumping Man City received at White Hart Lane, the all-action performance in drawing with Arsenal and a defensive solidity that gives them the second-best goals conceded record in the division, and it’s easy to see why some are refusing to rule the Lilywhites out of the title race.

Ladbrokes’ odds of 20/1 that Pochettino ends the season on top of the pile pours a few litres of water over such excitement, but the bookmaker’s 21/20 price that the north Londoners crash the top four is far more intriguing.

The positions of Leicester and Chelsea in the league help Spurs’ cause greatly in the pursuit of Champions League football. The Foxes, while playing superbly thus far to top the league, aren’t likely to sustain their level to crash the party. Conversely, Chelsea have left themselves a mountain to climb with their start to the campaign.

Spurs meet Jose Mourinho’s side next and can really kick the Blues when their down should they manage to carve out a win. Ladbrokes make it 7/5 that victory is achieved at the Lane, with Chelsea at 19/10.

Should Pochettino’s side manage to claim all three points then talk of them challenging for the title will only ramp up.

While defensive organisation and strength against the top sides are two alien characteristics to associate with Spurs, the one concern remains the lack of depth behind Harry Kane.

Although the England man is enjoying a purple patch of scoring form, scoring two against West Ham to take him to eight for the season, an injury to the home-grown talent would leave Spurs desperately short in attack.

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.