Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tottenham earning their spurs as title challengers

Argentinian boss Mauricio Pochettino has created an impressive team at White Hart Lane

Argentinian boss Mauricio Pochettino has created an impressive team at White Hart Lane

Tottenham claimed a 1-1 draw at Everton’s Goodison Park on Sunday in an entertaining encounter.

The two bosses have similar football philosophies and it resulted in what one pundit called ‘a proper football game’.

Two of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League produced an exciting game.

Spurs produced the more impressive performance, particularly in the first 45 minutes. They looked like Premier League title challengers in the first half.

Very unlucky not to win

For Tottenham to go to Everton and dominate possession like they did in the first half was admirable. The Toffees are a very dangerous team going forward. However they give the opposition opportunities and they did just that against Spurs.

The team from north London hit the woodwork twice in the first half an hour, before eventually finding the net through the energetic Dele Alli in first half stoppage-time. On another day Mauricio Pochettino’s team could have been comfortably in the lead at half-time.

Unfortunately for the visitors they did not get the slice of luck they needed to collect maximum points. If they are to challenge for that elusive top-flight title they will need a slice of luck. Most teams that win the big trophies get a slice of luck as well as having quality, which Spurs undoubtedly have.

Pochettino’s football philosophy in full swing

Tottenham’s Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino football philosophy is admirable. Pochettino’s time in Spain has obviously influenced his football ideas. He managed Espanyol in the same city as the all-conquering Barcelona under Pep Guardiola.

It must have been impossible for him not to pick-up ideas and concepts with such an iconic team in close proximity. Lots of teams have attempted to recreate the tiki-taka style of football produced by the Catalan giants.

Pochettino’s team plays a slightly similar style of football to that played by Guardiola’s great Barcelona team, obviously with lesser quality players. The same hallmarks of that team are there in the high-pressing and possession football played by Spurs.

There a few major differences in Pochettino philosophy though. Barcelona’s style was often based on small players and patient build-up, but Spurs are slightly more direct and the Tottenham team is far more physically imposing.

Pochettino’s style proved successful at Southampton prior to his move to north London and the Argentine is starting to perfect his football philosophy at White Hart Lane.

A very dangerous outsider

It seems that anything is possible this season in the Premier League and Spurs winning the Premier League is not completely beyond the realms of possibility. Pochettino’s team are currently outsiders for the Premier League title at odds of 12/1.

It would be unwise to write-off a Spurs team that has lost just two games this season and has such a highly-rated young team. In the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli the side from north London have two of England’s brightest young talents.

Tottenham are currently six points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Arsenal with a lot of football left to play this season. They still have a chance that’s for sure.

One of the key factors for Tottenham is their key players remaining fit. They have a very good first choice starting line-up, but there is not much cover in vital areas of the pitch, especially for Kane up front.

Kane is simply irreplaceable up top. If the England international picks-up an injury Spurs will struggle to score goals. Tottenham have a frightening lack of cover up front.

The problem Spurs have is that very few quality strikers will want to join the club, as they know that Harry Kane is first choice and Pochettino is very unlikely to play with two players up front.

The centre-backs Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have also been outstanding this season, especially Alderweireld, who played a superb long-pass to Alli for Tottenham’s equaliser. If Tottenham can keep Alderweireld and Kane fit then they will have a chance of claiming their first top-flight title in over 50 years.

Tottenham have been the draw specialists of the top-flight this season alongside Everton this season, but Spurs fans will be hoping that their team can be more ruthless in the remaining league games of the Premier League campaign.

Spurs have at times lacked that killer edge in previous seasons and may fall short of the Premier League title. However, a spot in the Premier League’s top four could be the start of something special for Spurs and boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Can Tottenham sustain a challenge for the Premier League title this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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