Friday, November 27, 2020

Are Tottenham Hotspur Title Contenders?

Tottenham Hotspur won 1-0 away to Burnley on Monday night. They are just two points off the joint Premier League leaders from Merseyside.

Tottenham Hotspur last won a league title in the 1960/61 season but with the unpredictable start to this season, can Spurs become a legitimate title contender?

Tottenham Hotspur were a title challenger to Leicester throughout most of the Foxes’ magical title win. A late drop off with two wins in their last seven games meant they ended the season in third place and eleven points off first place.

Spurs finished second place the following season, despite being seven points off Chelsea. However, since then we have seen a decline which ultimately resulted in the sacking of manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Mauricio Pochettino was sacked after five years at the club, despite guiding them to the Champions League final six months earlier.

Jose Mourinho has come in with his reputation at an all time low after being sacked by Chelsea and Manchester United in his two previous jobs.

He came into the job with Tottenham in twelfth place and finished the season in sixth.

Mourinho may have been sacked twice but is a serial trophy winner. He has won trophies wherever he has gone, winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan and winning three Premier League trophies in two separate spells with Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho after winning his third Premier League with Chelsea.

Tottenham fans are desperate to see the side win silverware and this has to have played a part in the reason for Levy’s decision to replace Poch with Mourinho.

The 2020/21 Premier League season has been one of the most open in recent memory.

Reigning champions Liverpool lost 7-2 to Aston Villa and let in three goals to newly promoted Leeds United on the opening day. Manchester City lost 5-2 at home to Leicester City and have dropped points to Leeds and West Ham since.

With no fans in the stadium, home advantage is all but gone. This has been a big reason for how open this season has started.

Even Tottenham themselves have allowed a three goal lead slip at home to West Ham but have also won 6-1 away to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

However, Spurs have one of the most lethal and in form attacking duos in the Premier League Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. Kane is the league’s top assist maker and Son is the league’s top goalscorer.

They have combined for 29 goals in the Premier League, just seven off the all time record set by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

When Tottenham made the run to the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid, Kane was largely injured throughout the latter stages. Lucas Moura scored that famous hat-trick in the semi final second leg away to Ajax. He was the man who filled in up front to replace Harry Kane.

Spurs ultimately lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the final, with a half fit Harry Kane getting the nod over Moura. This caused people to question whether Harry Kane was a good fit for the system and if the team actually plays better without the England striker.

Harry Kane has since elevated his game under Mourinho, particularly this season. We have seen Kane’s work rate radically increased this season, regularly dropping deep to help the team and at times as a false nine. We saw Kane get the ball back for Tottenham when Man United were 2-1, which allowed Son to pick up the ball and set up Kane for his first goal of the game.

Harry Kane’s passing has also seen a massive shift in the right direction, with his passing in the win at Old Trafford for the Son goal earning praise as well as several great passes in the 5-2 win over Southampton

Harry Kane and Son during Tottenham’s win over Southampton.

The midfield appears to be improving week by week. Tottenham’s midfield were outplayed in the midfield by Everton on the opening weekend, but we have seen improvements in Pierre-Emile Højbjerg since his arrival from Southampton in the summer.

Last season’s big money signing Tanguy Ndombele has a disastrous first season at the club but has made a promising start to this season.

The Spurs defence has been the one area of worry this season but new signing Sergio Reguilón has had some bright moments at left back since his move from Real Madrid in the summer.

Reguilòn joined Tottenham Hotspur for £27 million this summer. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham have plenty of reason to be optimistic, with a lethal attack provided with a midfield that is vastly improving. And of course, who can forget Gareth Bale returning on loan. If he can play half as well as he did when he last played for the club, Tottenham can start to get really excited.

With the aforementioned lack of home advantage and struggles of other clubs around them, Spurs fans have the believe this could be their best chance of winning the Premier League for the first time.

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