Tottenham’s title talk – inspired ambition or foolish nonsense?

Tottenham manager Harry RedknappWill Tottenham Hotspur win the Premier League this season? No.

There is nothing wrong with having ambition and obviously teams should go into each game believing they can win. But claims such as this made publicly would undermine what could still be a very successful season for Tottenham. I believe most Spurs fans would be more than happy having progressed to the knock out stages of the Champions League already and having a good crack at securing qualification for next year’s tournament – something that is an extremely difficult task and would be a tremendous achievement for the club. All the talk of title contention would detract from how great a success the season could still be for Tottenham, if they achieved a top four position again, or even further progression in the Champions League and a top six finish. Or even winning the FA Cup would mark a successful season and it is not unreasonable, if they have a kind draw as they have shown that they are capable of beating the best in a one off game.

Their problems lie in being consistent and being able to beat the lesser teams of the league. Defeats so far this season to West Ham and Wigan, two relegation candidates is evidence to suggest the League title will not be heading to White Hart Lane for the first time since 1961. Despite this season being much tighter at the top than we have seen in previous seasons, experience of being up at the top coupled with Tottenham now fighting in Europe as well as domestically will see Chelsea, Manchester United and to a lesser extent remain the only genuine title contenders come the end of the season. Indeed Manchester United lead the table despite not yet having reached anywhere near their best form. Meanwhile Chelsea trail by just two points with a number of vital first team players missing, such as Essien and Lampard. They are currently experiencing a torrid run of form that surely cannot last long and when they put it behind them, which they will, they may never turn back.

Bet on Tottenham to beat Birmingham at St Andrew’s at 11/10

Redknapp though is far from asserting Tottenham are favourites for the League just speculating that they could still be in the mix come April and May time. As previously stated there is nothing wrong with being ambitious in fact as the manger of the club it is your duty to push your players on further and aim for the top. If you don’t believe you can win games you never will. The detrimental element comes in when the media start believing this hype and consider Tottenham genuine title contenders. Needless to say, after they have had such a good week, beating Liverpool, Arsenal away and qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League, these voices have grown louder. When a few poor results come in the same media will be waiting to exaggerate these results as they have done with Tottenham’s victories making it more difficult for the team to come back from. This time the voices will be accompanied by fans from the other side of North London keen to rub their rivals face in it.

I also feel that this praise of Tottenham as title candidates is not entirely authentic. With the abundance of World class players on display in Monday night’s ‘El Clasico’ it is fair to argue that the truly best players in the world now ply their trade in La Liga. The Premiership not wanting to be outdone in viewing itself as the best league in the world is keen to talk up the one major advantage it still has over its rival from Spain, that of greater competitiveness. There are not many that would bet on the Spanish title’s destination being anywhere other than the Nou Camp or Bernabou this season. Although ultimately I believe the same is true of the Premiership, only Chelsea or Manchester United will win it this season. The media are keen to sell the product as a great wide open competition unlike the two horse race of La Liga, hence the strength of support in Tottenham’s title ambitions.

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