The two best teams on display this weekend sit on 5th and 9th place, respectively, in the latest table. The first—our lot—hasn’t lost since the August opener at Old Trafford. The second—Merseyside Reds—have a dynamic new manager and shredded the hirsute title favorites on their home ground. The current league leaders—deservedly top since they have lost exactly twice in their last 22 PL fixtures dating back to last spring—are a side many thought might be destined to relegation as most in their income range must contemplate.
Our manager might deny this next statement but it is undeniably true. Spurs are now legitimate contenders to win the Premiership, not just finish in the top four. They played a top half club with perhaps the most impressive string of away victories this season and dismissed them easily. After the first Kane goal, the outcome was never in doubt. Spurs marauded like Man City in their prime and on the few occasions that the Hammers produced a counter thrust were—can I say it?—positively Chelsea-like in the back. Of such mixes are champions made.
We have a genuinely world class goal scorer.. we have a group of dynamic and aggressive attackers to compliment him. We have gritty and resourceful midfielders—more than two, thankfully, since it will be Mason, not Alli, to challenge the likes of Fabregas, Willian and Hazard next weekend due to the latter’s fifth yellow. We have a spine, anchored by our Belgian Waffles. And it all begins with the captain—whose leadership qualities were never more apparent than in this last week of trial and tragedy in his homeland—a world-class keeper and a perfect leader.
Today we pressed, pressed and pressed some more. And when West Ham’s defence opened up, we pounced. It could easily have been six or seven. That’s all one can ask for from a club. Even Kane’s one embarrassing gaffe was soon overcome by the second in his brace. Son slipped comfortably into Lamela’s role of nuisance and pest to the opposition; Eriksen was his normal pristine self; Dembele continues to conjure visions of 2012-13, except he seems better and more mature now. Even the chippiness of the second half cannot be criticized much—this Spurs side does not back down.
Who else? A City side who has been eviscerated twice in the last month—that seems to shrink if any of Kompany, Silva and Aguero go missing? An Arsenal XI who Spurs easily outplayed at the Emirates, and who have now failed twice to go top when the opportunity beckoned? A perhaps deceptively strong Man United club that never looks all that impressive but seems to churn out result after result? Or maybe Cinderella Leicester—riding Vardy and Mahrez and good fortune for all its worth—defying economics and Premier League gravity week after week?
Liverpool might be better than all of them, but we’ve got a four point head start on the Reds. Chelsea after the eastward trek to Azerbaijan offers a chance to drive the stake in Jose and Co’s heart—and to make yet another statement about Spurs’ true intentions. The holiday glut looms but with a young and deep squad Pochettino should be less worried than many.
Ambition can be both a tonic and a drug. This team can strive as high as they wish. They can drink from any and all cups now—we’re the lucky ones that get to watch.
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