Can Spurs regain resilience as they face six away games out of seven?
WHETHER Spurs are deemed to be fighting for the league title or ‘just’ a spot in the top four again, there is no doubt that the next month presents a serious test of their credentials.
Indeed, with six away games to come out of their next seven fixtures, Tottenham are about to embark on a thorny throng of matches which could cripple their campaign.
The Lilywhites have made their home advantage count in recent weeks, beating Newcastle, Fulham and Charlton at the Lane while also drawing with Chelsea and Manchester United.
But now comes the other side of the coin, the trips away from N17 which can prove to be so damaging in the Premier League.
Historically, Spurs have a reputation for struggling on the road, but they put their past behind them last season, making huge strides forward in that area to earn Champions League football.
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Tottenham put together their best away record for 14 years, winning more games and picking up more points than they had mustered since 1995/96 – racking up 26 points away from the Lane.
Now, midway through the current campaign, there is more good news: The Lilywhites have collected 14 points from 10 away days so far, leaving them on course to improve on last season’s impressive total.
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Having won at Stoke and Fulham earlier in the campaign, Spurs ended 2010 by producing further evidence of their progression and resilience, taking seven points from a possible nine by beating Arsenal at the Emirates before drawing 1-1 at Birmingham and overcoming Aston Villa in the Midlands.
However, the new year has begun badly in that respect and the Lilywhites’ only trip away from home in 2011 has been the 2-1 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park.
That followed the customary but excusable loss at Old Trafford in October, but also disappointing defeats at West Ham and Bolton from earlier in the campaign.
All in all, Spurs are the only side in the top five who have shipped more goals than they have scored on the road (14 for, 16 against).
That is largely because Redknapp’s side have failed to keep a clean sheet away from the Lane in any competition. Indeed, factor the Champions League into the equation and Spurs have conceded 28 goals in 14 games – an average of two per match.
That must change soon and, while the home clash with Bolton on February 5 offers some respite, Spurs will have plenty of opportunities as they travel to Newcastle, Fulham, Blackburn, Sunderland, AC Milan and Blackpool during the next month.
None of them are easy and, meanwhile, Arsenal have four of their next five league games at home.
Even if Spurs go unbeaten through their imminent run in the league, the gap between the north London sides is likely to widen over the next month, which has to be a concern.
With five teams chasing four Champions League spots, Tottenham cannot afford to be cut adrift over the next five weeks. It is time for Spurs to regain the resilience of 2010.
Next seven games:
Sat Jan 22 Newcastle Away PL
Sun Jan 30 Fulham Away FAC
Wed Feb 2 Blackburn Away PL
Sat Feb 5 Bolton Home PL
Sat Feb 12 Sunderland Away PL
Tue Feb 15 AC Milan Away CL
Tue Feb 22 Blackpool Away PL