Firstly an apology. I’ve been very busy of late and haven’t had the chance to update the blog recently. I’ll try to post more regularly in future.
It’s been a fantastic new year for Spurs, four straight wins lifting us above Manchester City and Arsenal into second spot. Only Leicester sit above us. Whisper it, this is a real title challenge.
The transfer window closed two weeks ago and Tottenham made no major moves. The only real story was Andros Townsend’s departure. It’s a shame after he made such a big impact two years ago but the team had out-grown him. I hope he fits in better at Newcastle.
I really expected Pochettino to add a striker to his squad, as did many. More than enough has been written about this already. It obviously wasn’t to be. Let’s just hope there’s no injury to Kane.
The only reverse so far in 2016 annoyingly came against Leicester, the league leaders. Obviously it’s no great embarrassment to lose against a team everyone now agrees are one of the tougher sides to play in the division. It was the manner of the loss that rankles – an 83rd minute goal from an unmarked Robert Huth at a corner, in a game Spurs out-shot our opponents 21-10.
Dembele only made a late substitute appearance in that game and he was missed. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Tottenham player of the season has to be between him and Toby Alderweireld.
Another negative has been the unfortunate breaking up of our fine centre back partnership, with Vertonghen facing two months on the sidelines with a knee injury. So far Kevin Wimmer has looked an able deputy but his first big test comes this weekend against Sergio Aguero and company. The Europa league gave Pochettino a chance to give the Austrian some experience earlier in the season and that could be invaluable now.
Which brings me onto a tricky topic. How should we approach the Europa League games coming up? One factor many pundits have spoken of in Leicester’s favour in the run-in is their lack of European distractions. With the title still on and a fifth round FA Cup tie coming up, I’m beginning to wish we weren’t still in the interminable Europa League. We have to rest players in the games against Fiorentina – especially Kane – and I see it as very much our least important competition.
In our last game – the hard fought 1-0 victory over Watford – our fullbacks were the stand out performers. And they probably weren’t even our first choices for that position! Finally Pochettino has got them providing the width we need to break down an obdurate defence.
I must also mention Ali here. His recent run of form has been incredibly impressive. It feels like last year all over again – the young English player on the nation’s lips is one of our own. The trick for him will be to add a bit of discipline to his game without losing the bursts forward or the touch of the unexpected that have marked him out.
Tomorrow could play a big part in where the Premier League trophy ends up. In the days when the same teams would finish in the Champions League places every season, Sky used to call these occasions Grand Slam Sunday . How brilliant to see Spurs, and Leicester breaking up the cosy monopoly.
As far as our game against City goes, we have a great chance. Their defence has been poor this term – although unfortunately for us, Vincent Kompany is just back from injury.
As was shown in our 4-1 victory over the same opponents at White Hart Lane, the City midfield generally doesn’t react well to the high energy pressing Pochettino’s men will have ready for them, so I’m confident Spurs will get something from the game.
Who do you think will win tomorrow? Can Spurs win the title? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.