Everyone’s at it, and it is something that the press dearly love- raising up a team, selling the fans the hype and then watching when it all goes wrong. Everton fans have already witnessed it this season. After winning their first 3 games of the season and then holding the champions Liverpool to a 2-2 draw, there was talk that Carlo Ancelotti was about to deliver Everton their first league title since 1987. After four games….
Aston Villa were next on the agenda because, at one point, a team that escaped the clutches of relegation on the last weekend of the season were now the only side left in the Premier League with a 100% record. Because Everton and of course Liverpool were in the mix we were reminded that there was a 1980s vibe to the league campaign- that’s all very well but were the media jumping the gun? just a bit it seems.
Now attentions have turned to Tottenham, because even though the club have dropped a few points, they are starting to find the goals and form and have crept up to 2nd place, swishing past Liverpool who dropped 2 points with a draw at Manchester City this past weekend.
From their first 8 games Tottenham have won 5, drawn 2 and lost 1 and that defeat came in the opening weekend of the season against Everton, so they haven’t tasted defeat in the league for 2 months. That is impressive, the club have scored 19 goals and only Chelsea with 20 have more. Spurs also have the joint best defensive record in the league conceding 9 so far.
The talk is beginning that the club could be title challengers and for a brief moment the club did go top of the table after their 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend. That victory came courtesy of a Harry Kane goal- his 150th league goal for the club.
Jose Mourinho has been asked the inevitable question that Tottenham are league contenders and quite rightly he has had to bat the question away. Even if in his mind this is how he feels, he will know so well how quickly football changes, that one week you can be 2nd and just a point behind the leaders and within two be down to fifth place and looking over your shoulder at who is sixth and seventh.
Also talking of the title is no good for the players- forget about Liverpool having to wait 30 years, for Tottenham this season it will be 60. That is an incredible weight to carry and it is something that Mourinho will be all too aware about. However even if Tottenham had won league titles in the past decade and had enjoyed much trophy success there has to be some perspective, only 8 games have been played and the gap from 2nd where they currently reside to 6th is just 2 points. There are no big gaps and nothing to suggest that this league title can be wrapped up by any one team.
Let’s look at last season it was Jose Mourinho who was then out of a job who called Liverpool to win the league title and it was November, just like now. Of course the biggest difference was that Liverpool had pulled out an 11 point gap, challengers Manchester City were looking fatigued, and they were the only challengers that season and the campaign of course had started in August and was 3 months old.
Of course there have been moments that have made anyone who loves football sit up and take notice. The first quarter of an hour against West Ham was an exercise in supreme attacking which saw Tottenham score 3 goals. And no one will forget the 6-1 mauling they have Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Tottenham also have the deadliest strike partnership in the league in Harry Kane and Heung- Min Son who have scored between them 15 goals of the 19 the club have netted so far. And Kane has been involved either scoring or assisting in 15 of the 19 goals.
Matt Doherty in defence is current ranked as the clubs best defender with 10 points and he has shown over the past weeks of being a brilliant buy in the summer, it’s as if he has been with the club for a few seasons. Special mention should also go to another defender in Sergio Reguilon who has assisted in 2 goals this season. And of course the return of Gareth Bale with his experience will be very welcomed. The Welshman has already secured 3 points for the club with his winning goal against Brighton earlier this month.
But talk of the title does seem very premature, the club are in the mix but then again so is Leicester and Southampton and the Foxes have actually won the league in 2016 and yet no one is quite talking them up just yet. The ever looming threat of Liverpool remains and the champions are in 3rd place only denied taking over Tottenham by goal difference. And everyone expects that Manchester City will recover to go on a run and we haven’t even mentioned Chelsea who are in 5th and undefeated in 9 games in all competitions.
Perhaps we will have a clearer picture in the next month when Tottenham will have what looks like a nightmare fixture list- Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Leicester. Get through those mostly unhampered and there could be cause to start talking of league run ins. But as anyone who has followed football for years will tell you, in most seasons title talk should be reserved until just after the Christmas period, that is the vantage point where we can see which teams have it and which teams look likely to fall off.
Admittingly Tottenham are heading in the right direction, this is something that Mourinho is fully aware of, he just doesn’t at this point of the season need reminding from the media. He needs himself to remain grounded as do his players as the games are going to come thick and fast, as they say it is one game at a time.
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