Tottenham Hotspur’s best start to a league campaign in a number of years has sparked excitement for the North London club’s fans as they have something substantial to fight for once again – a Champion’s League spot for next season. The failings of Liverpool so far this season have opened a door to the Champion’s League which was closed with an infamous bout of food poisoning at West Ham several years back and, despite strong competition being handed to them by Liverpool and Manchester City, Spurs will have the believe that they can snatch the Top 4 spot and thus a spot in the Champion’s League which would help the club progress in the right direction. If they are to achieve this though, they’re going to need a number of things to go there way.
As is the case for any club, Tottenham have to hope that injuries do not play a major part in their season as injuries can change a team’s fortunes just like that. Rob any team of their key players to injury and they’re sure to slip up some more – although Liverpool did mount a title challenge last season despite key duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres spending a lot of time out injured. Tottenham have usual injury suspects like the regularly-broken Ledley King on their hands and have already suffered an injury to Luka Modric which has kept the Croatian out of action for a while now. So far Spurs have looked capable of dealing with it; their defensive cover is strong enough to deal with the lack of King whilst Niko Kranjcar has recently impressed on the left wing during Modric’s absence. If players like Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe were to suffer serious injuries then Tottenham could see themselves slip down the Premiership table swiftly.
Another important factor in Tottenham’s bid to reach the Champion’s League is consistency – their start to the league has been their best in a while and they have showed an ability to get results, often by a number of goals as they have done in a third of their games so far this season. Spurs cannot afford to slip up though as the odd poor result could allow their rivals to gain ground on them or overtake them. Results such as the home defeat to Stoke could yet prove crucial in the bid for Champion’s League football and more slip ups to opposition who are considered weaker would definitely harm the club’s attempt to break the Top 4.
But whilst it is vitally important to keep on winning against the smaller teams, Spurs must now achieve what they generally struggle with – they have to start getting results against the big teams. Spurs have beaten Liverpool this season and have a decent record in recent years against both Chelsea and Liverpool but their inability to beat Arsenal or Manchester United results in crucial points lost – Tottenham didn’t even put up a good fight when they lost at home to United earlier this season and Harry Redknapp cannot allow his team to falter in such situations. Equally important are the clashes with the likes of Manchester City and Aston Villa as these are the teams who consider themselves challengers for the Champion’s League spot and they are teams who have often managed to get results against Spurs.
The Spurs squad looks strong, though obviously one or two additions in January couldn’t hurt the club and some of the names mentioned have been extremely positive – a left winger must be a priority whilst another striker seems to be on Redknapp’s wishlist. Players in isn’t the only important squad decision though – Redknapp must be brave enough to stop playing Robbie Keane regularly; it’s apparent that Keane is not the same player that he was prior to his move to Liverpool and, despite the odd good game, he is failing to impress – plus he doesn’t work well with Defoe. Peter Crouch impressed against Wigan at the weekend and he’s already shown he can work with Defoe – surely these two should be Spurs’ first choice strike pairing at least until a new striker could be brought in to partner Defoe? Also, Redknapp should not be changing his formation just to accommodate Keane like he has already this season – no player should be that important to their team.
Consistency and a lack of injuries are the key for Tottenham; obviously it would only be a dream where Spurs could keep winning constantly and suffer no injuries but should injuries remain at a minimum and the majority of the results be positive then there’s no reason Spurs can’t get that Champion’s League position although the competition will be very fierce. It will be a good test of Redknapp and his team to see if they can see it through and secure that spot – if they do it could be the start of a very promising era for the boys from White Hart Lane.
NEW Soccer AM III DVD OUT NOW – Order your copy now
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Helen Chamberlain, Max Rushden and the rest of the Soccer Am crew tackle the task of unearthing the team of their dreams.
Tubes, Health and Safety, Rocket and Baby Elvis are among the familiar faces joining Helen and Max to indulge in a special set of sketches, including Kung Fu Academy, Third Eyes and the return of the £10 Goal Celebration.
Who makes it through the filter of football’s funniest show as the Greatest Team In The World?
Does the Premier League take precedence or does La Liga lead the way??
NEW Soccer AM III DVD OUT NOW – Order your copy now