Tottenham stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to 11 games with a 1-1 draw against North London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Usually, a draw on enemy territory would be deemed as an acceptable outcome for the Lilywhites, but a new-found ambition in Mauricio Pochettino’s side and dominance over the bulk of the game will have had the travelling support frustrated with the eventual result.
Despite the fact that Kieran Gibbs came off the Gunners bench to salvage a point for the title-chasing hosts, there are real reasons for optimism for a Tottenham team growing in stature – here’s why.
Had Harry Kane continued this season in the fashion that he concluded the last, there is a case in point where Tottenham might well be top of the league right now.
Despite strong team performances in 2015-16, Spurs have been guilty of not finishing their chances in the final third and as a result have dropped points in some games that they should have won.
Although Pochettino’s side should have scored more than the one goal they did against Arsenal, the coolness and surety with which Kane dispatched the side’s opener will be another reason for optimism.
The strike continues a goal-laden recent run for the England international, who appears to have put his early season woes behind him and re-found his shooting boots.
If Kane can stay fit and continue to find the back of the net with regularity, Spurs’ top-four chances will surely take a real boost.
A new central midfield pairing of reformed defender Eric Dier and young starlet Dele Alli has arguably been the standout facet of the new campaign for the North London side.
Against Arsenal and despite Santi Cazorla’s reported illness, Tottenham dominated the midfield encounters.
Dier’s poise on the ball, positional discipline and combativeness largely nullified the Gunners’ attacking weapons, while Alli’s bravery and technical nous was again on show for Pochettino’s side.
With Mousa Dembele in an advanced role but also happy to have an impact in both attack and defence, Spurs have an enviable midfield set-up before the likes of Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll and Nabil Bentaleb are even considered.
In recent seasons, Tottenham’s defence has been susceptible to the concession of soft goals, but the summer signing of Toby Alderweireld has been a real plus point for the White Hart Lane side.
Even with the new central defensive stubbornness, the performances of the team’s full-backs were also impressive in the draw with Arsenal.
Danny Rose used to be berated by the Spurs fans for a lack of defensive composure but has now seemingly taken to the transition from midfield to left-back and is a real asset for the side.
On the other flank, Kyle Walker managed to nullify the electric Alexis Sanchez like no other opponent this season. Although the England international needs to show more consistency, he must be commended for an improved performance here.