Tottenham: Are we sure… they can’t win the title?
Despite making no signings, Pochettino’s side have made an impressive start to the season. But is the title beyond them?
Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
There is much to complain about in the white half of North London.
The lack of summer arrivals. The delayed completion of the stadium. The rumoured departure of Toby Alderweireld.
On the surface, Tottenham are a club in crisis. Yet Saturday’s 3-1 smashing of Fulham made it two wins from two.
After an accomplished victory at St. James’ Park last week, Mauricio Pochettino’s side rolled over the cosmopolitan Cottagers with ease.
Even Harry Kane – a notoriously slow starter who had never scored in the month of August – got in on the act, notching after Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier had made the result safe at Wembley.
It may be too early to ask but are we sure they can’t win the title?
“I was still disappointed,” said Pochettino on a comfortable afternoon, “because, like against Newcastle, we conceded chances today.”
Even with a perfect start, the Argentine demands more. Even with two wins, he implores for renewed focus.
Despite his protestations, however, there is much to be positive about. After a dismal campaign last year, Dele Alli looks renewed on the left, given time and space to cut in with devastating effect.
On the right, Lucas Moura seems finally to have settled, scoring a well-taken goal that capped a decent performance on Saturday.
Even Toby Alderweireld, returning on the right of a three-man backline, was cool and impressive, distributing with aplomb as Fulham chased shadows.
Spurs look cohesive, tight-knit. After all, this is a squad that knows each other inside out, supported by a spine of Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
Combined, they boast a whopping fifteen seasons in the first team. All three remain committed and focused, and all three will have critical roles in Spurs’ fly-by-night title ambitions.
Kane, however, remains the undisputed star.
Nobody has scored more goals than the Englishman in the Premier League since his breakthrough four years ago. Nobody else in this Spurs team can bury chances with such relentless efficiency. Blessed with the best striker in the league, the Lilywhites are near-guaranteed goals.
The wings are equally strong. As well as the aforementioned Alli and Moura, Erik Lamela has started the season in fine form.
Son Heung-min, currently starring for South Korea at the Asian Games, barely gets a mention despite having arguably his finest season in a Spurs shirt last year.
If Pochettino can keep his players fit – nine of whom were involved in the World Cup right up until the final fixture – then Spurs will be blessed with several quality options, irrespective of the lack of arrivals in the summer.
That the futures of Pochettino, Kane and Eriksen were all secured means they conducted some of the best business in the window. All three guarantee Spurs’ continuing presence near the top of the table.
Playing with the big boys
Manchester City and Liverpool remain the favourites. The latter, however, will baulk at having the honour of being the first team to visit Spurs’ newly completed stadium in September.
That game provides Pochettino with a chance to lay down a marker, coming so soon after his side visit Old Trafford next week. Win both, and nobody will be doubting Spurs credentials for a title push.
Nobody might be talking about them, but nobody should forget just how threatening this team are.
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