Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Far can Tottenham Hotspur Go?

Tottenham's Luca Modric celebrates a goal against Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 win over Sunderland over the weekend saw them leapfrog Chelsea into third place in the Barclays Premier League. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the all important goal in the 61st minute to give Harry Redknapp’s side the three points which took them to third place with 34 points, only seven behind Manchester City but with a game in hand.

The Lilywhites have been in red-hot form since suffering a 3-0 loss to Manchester United in the opening day of the season before being humiliated 5-1 by Manchester City immediately after. But since then, they have won all but two matches, a 2-1 loss to Tony Pulis’ Stoke City and a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United.

The men of White Hart Lane have swept aside Liverpool 4-0, beat Arsenal 2-1 and come from behind to register a 3-1 win over West Brom among a string of fine performances.

The results have confirmed that Tottenham will be among the strongest contenders for not only a Champions League berth, but should their fine rich of form continue, they will give a valiant fight for the premier league title.

An exit from the demanding Europa League left them with only the Premier League and FA Cup to contest for. However, this could work in their favour as it gives the players enough time to rest and prepare for matches than traverse Europe every Thursday then travel back to England to honour weekend matches.

A trip to Chelsea is imminent. Avoiding a home defeat against the London rivals coupled with away wins over promoted sides Swansea and Norwich will see them finish the year placed third at worst, depending on how Manchester United fair in their end year fixtures.

Two things will determine whether Spurs have the grit to last the race and probably win the premier league come May. First, they have to get hold of their stars.

The club’s player of the year, Luca Modric, was subject of a transfer saga in the summer. The deep-lying midfielder was on the brink of moving to Chelsea but manager Harry Redknapp put a spirited fight which eventually saw the switch to their cross-town rivals collapse.

Not many big deals happen in the short January transfer window but Andre Villas Boas needs to sign and may be tempted to make another move for the Croat international.

Gareth Bale is another star player Spurs would have to grip on. The 22-year-old was once the talk of the footballing world especially after his startling performance against Inter Milan in the Champions League. Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid were all linked with the flying Welshman. A big-money transfer to any club or an injury to the swift winger will hurt Harry’s side, like it did last season.

Spurs should thus keep their promise and not sell any of their pinup players in January. Emmanuel Adebayor has proved that he is one of the top goal poachers in the Premier League. The renaissance of Jermain Defoe, the reliable nature of Rafael Van Der Vaart, and the Duracell-like work ethic of summer signing Scott Parker means that Tottenham are as good as they get in the premier league. A few more signing to add depth to the squad, which already looks strong enough, won’t do any disfavor to the club.

Secondly, Spurs will have to survive a run of tough games towards in the second half of the season, especially towards end of January, into February and March. A January 22nd match-up with Man City will be followed with a home game against Wigan. They will then travel to both Liverpool and Arsenal with a home fixture against Newcastle sandwiched in between. Manchester United (Home), Everton (Away), Stoke (Home) and Chelsea (Away), will bring an end to a series of uncompromising fixtures that will either make or break their season.

It will be interesting to see how Totteham will fair in these crunch matches. Whether they will experience the collapse Newcastle United are undergoing or push to the decisive end is a case of wait and see. But as of now, it can safely be concluded that they look as formidable an opposition as they come.

The club's Latin motto is Audere est Facere (To Dare Is to Do). They are daring to win the premier league now. But can they do it?

And That's thesteifmastertake!!