5 Reasons Why Tottenham Can Win The Premier League
Prior to their stunning 3-0 loss to West Ham, Spurs were odds of 10.00 to win the Premier League. Today Graham Ruthven tells us why they can rebound and become a serious title challenger.
Spurs should be sitting joint top of the Premier League with Arsenal and Liverpool. From their opening six games Andre Villas-Boas side had only lost once and could’ve gone into the international break top of the league with a home win over West Ham, who had failed to record an away victory all season.
What happened next was unforeseen; a 3-0 blowout defeat. But Spurs can still win the title. Here are five reasons why.
#1 - Roberto Soldado has yet to hit top form
By splashing out a then record transfer fee of £26 million Spurs committed themselves to finding the man capable of leading their otherwise exceptional frontline. They came up with Roberto Soldado.
Tottenham have lacked the presence of a goal-getting frontman since the departure of Dimitar Berbatov five years ago, with Roman Pavlyuchenko, Emmanuel Adebayor and Peter Crouch all failing to fill the void. But Soldado stands the best chance of the lot.
The Spaniard started the season in impressive form, netting four times in his first three outings for his new club. Since then Soldado has suffered something of a goal-drought as he continues to integrate himself into Villas-Boas’ fluid and interchangeable system.
Soldado has proved himself in every team he has ever played for since leaving Real Madrid five years ago, scored more than a goal every two games for Valencia. Having failed to find the net from open play in the league thus far his Spurs career has started unremarkably but he will be a man to be feared as he acclimatises to his new surroundings.
#2 - Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen give Spurs attacking variety
Even after the loss of Gareth Bale Spurs boast the widest variety of attacking options in the Premier League. The imagination and creativity of Christian Eriksen and Lewis Hotlby has added stardust to Tottenham’s game, with the addition of Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli, plus the return of Andros Townsend giving Tottenham genuine quality in the wide areas. True to the cliché ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ the arrival of such illustrious attacking talent has forced those already at the club to up their game, none more so than Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander has been used as an inverted winger this season and has excelled in the role, scoring three times in six appearances. His style embodies the fluid attacking line envisaged by Villas-Boas.
Soldado is assured a place in the preferred lineup but Tottenham have options up front too. His opportunities will be restricted this season but Jermain Defoe remains one of the most instinctive finishers in English football. And there’s always the possibility that Emmanuel Adebayor might find his groove again, as unlikely as that seems. Villas-Boas is spoilt for choice.
#3 - Spurs can take advantage of a flawed field
Most people have Chelsea and Manchester City as favourites for the title this season, but their failings across the opening seven league fixtures have demonstrated just how open the field is this year. The retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson has left Manchester United in a vulnerable position, while Liverpool are equipped for a top-four challenge, rather than a title challenge.
Arsenal’s resurgence has surprised most but can Arsene Wenger’s skeleton squad cope with the pressures and rigors of a title race? Never before has a Premier League season been underwritten by so many questions.
Of last season’s top six Arsenal and Tottenham are the only teams to have kept their manager over the summer and that continuity could prove decisive towards the end of the season.
In fact, it could be said that Spurs have the most complete squad in the Premier League right now. Villas-Boas has assembled a team of impressive depth, finding solutions in previously problematic positions.
If Spurs are ever to make the jump from pretender to contender this is the season to do it.
#4 - Andre Villas-Boas has a second season to work with
Coming off the best Premier League season in the club’s history, amassing an impressive tally of 72 points, Spurs have plenty to be positive about, not least Villas-Boas’ decision to stay for a second season.
The Portuguese coach displayed admirable commitment to Spurs this summer by rejecting approaches from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. Both jobs would’ve seen Villas-Boas given a blank chequebook to achieve domestic and European success at the very top level, but the 35 year old clearly believes in the project being undertaken at White Hart Lane.
Somewhat surprisingly for a manager of his repute, Villas-Boas has never been granted the privilege of a second season at the same club. Of course, much of that is down to his own personal ambition, but this season is breaking new ground for him.
Everything at Spurs is geared towards long-term stability and sustainability, from chairman Daniel Levy’s transfer policy to the dynamic style of play being instilled in the players. Now Villas-Boas has the chance to translate that philosophy into tangible success.
#5 - Moussa Dembele and Paulinho form the most formidable midfield duo in the Premier League
The sale of Luka Modric last year signified a shift in the nature of Spurs’ central midfield. The Croatian was a stylish and accomplished pass-master under Harry Redknapp but Villas-Boas has imposed a different identity on his midfield engine-room.
Paulinho and Moussa Dembele provide Spurs’ with the sturdy, yet dynamic platform for their attacking talent to fall back on. Both possess outstanding physical attributes, making them the most formidable midfield duo in the Premier League.
The signing of Paulinho for a fee widely reported as £17 million was a particularly shrewd piece of business by Levy, especially considering how Manchester City parted with £30 million for his Brazilian national team understudy Fernandinho. His relationship with Dembele has developed instantly and the duo are a formidable proposition for any opposition side.
Current Tottenham Odds - Odds as at 18th October 2013.
|Win Premier League||41.00||15.00||15.00||15.00||13.00||15.00|
|Top 4 Finish||3.20||2.38||2.40||2.50||2.25||2.50|
Follow Graham on Twitter: @grahamruthven
Read more of Graham's work at The New York Times Soccer Blog