The real deal!- A look at how Tottenham Hotspur could win or lose the Premier League title

A look at the factors that can influence the Tottenham Hotspur title challenge as the Lily Whites look to cling onto their spot at the top of the table.

The Jose Mourinho era at Tottenham Hotspur was kick-started by Son Heung-Min just over a year ago at the London Stadium. Spurs went on to win the game 3-2 in what would be just their fourth Premier League win of the season.

While the 2019/20 season was far from successful, the Portuguese tactician managed to turn around the club’s fortunes and ensure European football remained on the agenda. While some may view it as an opportunity missed to break into the top four, there was a slow yet steady revolution occurring in North London.

One of the best moments last season came when Spurs downed then defending champions Manchester City at home. While that result showcased what Tottenham could potentially do, the weekend’s result against Pep Guardiola’s side showcased just how Spurs have grown as a team.

Son opened the scoring against Manchester City last week. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY CNN INTERNATIONAL.

Son was again the man of the moment as he put Spurs ahead with just five minutes on the clock. Harry Kane was unsurprisingly the provider in what has now become something of a train schedule.

City to their credit did not stop attacking. However, apart from a couple of moments, Hugo Lloris was largely untroubled in goal. Spurs did run their luck at times, especially when Gabriel Jesus blocked a goal-bound effort and a City goal was chalked off for handball.

However, that must not take anything away from what was a Mourinhoesque performance from Tottenham. Not only were the Portuguese manager’s players undaunted by the opposition but were also clinical when needed.

Let us be clear about it. This was no smash and grab. It was a typical Mourinho performance where his side was patient and made the opponents pay for their mistakes.

Spurs have been in fine form ever since being beaten by Everton on the first day of the season. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY NBC SPORTS.

Let nobody take away the credit richly deserved by both the manager and his players. Tottenham have at times shown they have the potential to challenge for the title this season. If this performance is anything to go by, only a fool would write them off.

The victory took Spurs to the top of the Premier League table, a position they held on to following Liverpool’s victory over Leicester City.

We now take a look at three reasons why Tottenham could be on the verge of ending their 59-year wait for a title. While we are it, we also consider three reasons why they could fall short.

Three reasons why Tottenham Hotspur Hotspur are champions-elect

The Special One

In Mourinho, Tottenham have one of the best managers in recent history. The 57-year-old has led four different clubs to a combined eight league titles in his career as a manager.

Mourinho’s biggest nemesis had previously proven to be Guardiola. The Spaniard has beaten the Spurs boss ten times, more than any other opponent.

The fact that it was Pep’s side that was swatted aside en route our way to the top could indicate at the Spurs boss enjoying a renaissance in his managerial fortunes.

Mourinho has also fostered a feeling of togetherness amongst the squad. The players appear to be playing for each other and look happy doing so. More importantly, he appears to have incorporated a  system that his players have adapted to and now look comfortable performing in.

More so the opportunity to be the first manager to win the Premier League with two different teams would put him in the ‘special’ company of just one.

Having left Manchester United with a bitter taste two years ago, a new social media-friendly Mourinho has quickly rediscovered his spark at Tottenham Hotspur. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY EUROSPORT.

The Tottenham boss is also a formidable force on the mic. Speaking ahead of the match, he subtly turned the spotlight onto Guardiola with his comments regarding Raheem Sterling. Mourinho is no fool and he is not one for wasting an opportunity either. If he manages to keep it up, Spurs fans are in for a ride this season.

A well-rounded squad

The current Tottenham squad has to be the best that the club has assembled in the Premier League era.  Quality and strength in depth are now both synonymous with the Premier League leaders.

Spurs are coming off the back of an excellent summer transfer window. The likes of Matt Doherty, Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg, and Joe Hart are not names that get one’s pulse racing. However, they are now critical elements of Spurs’ side that is exploiting their talents in the best possible way.

Add to it the likes of Gareth Bale, Sergio Reguilon, Joe Rodon, Carlos Vinicius (on loan) and one has a squad that not only looks balanced on paper but is well stocked on the pitch as well.

Bale scored a brilliant header on Sunday evening to hand Spurs three points. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY SKY SPORTS.

Each player brings something unique to the team and has so far performed when called upon. Adding their abilities to a core that was already at the Lane, the team has exploded into form in recent weeks.

Tottenham at the very least has had an excellent starting XI in recent years. Under Mourinho, they have now all begun to click both individually and as a team. With enough reserve players to mix things up, Tottenham is primed for any challenge on the field.

The likes of Hugo Lloris, Bale, Reguilon, and Hart have all won big trophies in their career. The presence of players who have been there and done that should also aid the squad in their search for silverware.

The chasing pack

It is said that one must not take advantage of another’s misfortune. But all is fair in love war and we daresay sports.

While Tottenham has been going from strength to strength, the same cannot be said of all of our rivals. Everton is losing steam while Manchester City appears to have lost its aura. The less said about Manchester United and Arsenal the better.

Leicester City look to have rediscovered their Mojo but as seen against West Ham United and Aston Villa, they are susceptible if the game is taken to them. Liverpool are suffering from a miserable injury crisis but continues to hold their own. Jurgen Klopp’s side are the defending champions for a reason and Spurs cannot afford to look down at them.

Chelsea meanwhile is also a team on the up. Frank Lampard’s new signings have clicked and are now well entrenched as key players in the Blues system. As things stand. Liverpool and Chelsea could be our biggest threats in the title race. Direct matchups against the pair could prove pivotal come the end of the season.

Unlike many of the teams mentioned above, Spurs are not facing an injury crisis or a crisis in identity. It can be argued that there is no better time than now for the North Londoners to make their mark.

Mourinho too has been steadily increasing his record against the aforementioned teams. In our last five games against them, Spurs have won four and drawn one.  With Chelsea and Arsenal to come next, that record could only improve.

Three reasons why Tottenham Hotspur will not win the title

Prolific duo masks profligacy elsewhere

Tottenham have been clinical in front of goal this season and also have the best goal difference of any top-flight side at +12. As of yet, only Chelsea have scored more Premier League goals than us at 21.

However, this does mask the overdependence the club has on Kane and Son. The duo has scored 16 of the 21 goals while also contributing to 11 of 17 assists.

While the duo may go on to break a number of records, the fact that the team’s attack is heavily dependent on them could prove to be an issue. While the likes of Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura make up the numbers, they are nowhere as prolific as Spurs’ dynamic duo.

Gareth Bale too has undoubted quality. It remains to be seen if once fully fit, he can get anywhere close to his former self at the club. With Europa League commitments also to boot, Spurs will need to judicious on how they use their best assets.

It will be interesting to see how the team copes in the absence of either Kane or Son.

Unchartered waters

A title challenge by Tottenham Hotspur is not something opposition fans are familiar with. It is not something that the majority of the squad is accustomed to either.

While there is no lack of talent, it takes more than just that to see through a championship-winning season. One only has to look to Newcastle United in 1996/97 and Liverpool in 2013/14 to realise that.

With 29 more games to go, there is still a lot left to play for. While Spurs are riding high at the moment, it is inevitable that they will have to face up to dropped points or disappointing results. How they react to it will be their biggest test.

More so, keeping up with a dogged contender isn’t something every club can do. Liverpool and City put up a hell of a championship fight in 2018-20. Both teams played to the end in a season that was decided by the finest of margins.

It was a true testament to the mental strength of those players and the managers coaching them that they were able to cope. Whether Spurs can do it if pushed remains to be seen.

Jose Mourinho

Tottenham’s greatest strength could also turn out to be their Achilles heel. Mourinho is on the verge of elevating himself amongst his peers if he leads Spurs to glory.

A confrontational man by nature, he has had his own string of controversies this season. The treatment of Dele Alli could be mentioned, but the player is not bereft of fault either.

It is inevitable will Tottenham will drop points at some point this season and even put in a performance that is far from their best. How Mourinho will react to that remains to be seen.

If it is anything like how he did so last month, it has the potential to derail momentum. The Spurs boss was openly critical of his stars in the loss to Royal Antwerp and went as far as to indicate he may not pick them again.

For a team not used to being in such a position, being told off by their boss could affect morale and confidence.  One only needs to look as far as Phil Brown and his ill-advised public dressing down of Hull City players at the Etihad in 2008/09 season.

The Tigers who were in the top sixth at that point, went on to finish 17th. They were relegated a year later. While a similar meltdown at Spurs is unfathomable, a drop in form could prove pivotal in a tight race.

Conclusion

Tottenham Hotspur are well placed than ever before to launch a serious challenge for the Premier League title. They seem a united force both on and off the field and have the means to compete against the best.

As seen with a number of sides, we feel the major obstacle standing in front of Spurs is themselves. A lot can change in the coming months and it remains to be seen if the team can retain their composure if faced with adversity.

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