Inside Lane: Why shouldn’t Spurs fans dream about the Premier League title?
Tottenham blogger David Lee believes Mauricio Pochettino’s men have what it takes to challenge at the top of the table until May.
It’s frightening to think that it’s almost four years to the day since Gareth Bale sent a left-footed cross whizzing across the Etihad Stadium turf, seemingly destined for the out-stretched boot of Jermain Defoe.
A width of a post proved to be the difference that cruel Sunday afternoon as we saw the prospect of a season-defining win at Manchester City turned into a 3-2 defeat in a matter of seconds. That was the last sniff we had of a title challenge.
After 22 games of that ill-fated 2011-2012 campaign we had amassed 46 points under the guidance of Harry Redknapp.
Fast forward four years and Mauricio Pochettino’s men are seven points worse off at the same stage. So why does it feel that this team might just have the staying power to maintain a title challenge?
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This squad of players, while perhaps not containing the wizardry of Bale or the metronomic mastery of Luka Modric, has a balance not seen in many a year at White Hart Lane.
Last Wednesday’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester left fans and players visibly shell-shocked. But there was no booing, no pushing of the panic button because we all believe in the system that Pochettino has put in place.
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As so often this season, defeat was swiftly followed by redemption on Saturday as we put Sunderland to the sword, highlighting that this is a team that can cling to the coattails of the league’s frontrunners.
Talk of titles always divides fan-bases but why shouldn’t we believe we can do it? As the crunch stage of the season approaches, everything seems to be pointing in the right direction.
Defensively, few teams can boast the wealth of options Pochettino has at his disposal. The emergence of Kieran Trippier and the notable development of Ben Davies has given us a vital freshness in the full-back positions heading into a key period. And with Toby Alderweireld continuing to demonstrate all the attributes of a world-class centre half, there’s no reason to think we don’t have the defensive foundations to challenge for honours.
Christian Eriksen needs to rediscover that touch of Danish magic, Erik Lamela needs to maintain his tireless work-rate and Mousa Dembele has to keep turning in the performances that just leaves us fans watching on in awe.
I’d also like to see Pochettino adopt a more aggressive approach at home and give Heung-Min Son more chances to prove his worth.
But if we can continue this upward momentum, and recruit striking cover before the end of the transfer window, then why shouldn’t fans get carried away with talk of a title challenge?
We’ve waited a long time to get in this kind of position, and if the fans start believing it could happen then who knows, maybe the players might just start believing it too.
Follow me on Twitter @David_Lee91