This season has been one of the most, possibly the most, unpredictable season in English Premier League history. Many top teams are struggling and severely underperforming (looking at you, Chelsea) while many average teams are exceeding expectations. The only club that is an outlier of this are the Tottenham Hotspurs.
Tottenham find themselves in the highly-coveted 4th place spot with a comfortable lead over 5th place. The Spurs have been the team in the past with high Champions League aspirations but they have ended up sitting just outside the top four the last five seasons. But something has changed at Tottenham and they now are in the title race with 15 matches left in the season, and they have one of the most promising young teams in the league.
One main reason for Tottenham’s success is Mauricio Pochettino, their head coach. Pochettino brought his expectations of high work rate and flowing attacking play with him when he left Southampton for the Spurs in 2014. His trust in youth has also brought success with Tottenham through the likes of Harry Kane, Eric Dier, and Dele Alli. It has also been shown as 9 out of the last 16 England national team debutants have been nurtured by Pochettino.
Pochettino has won over the fans at White Hart Lane and is the man to lead Spurs forward in the long-term future.
The resurgence of Moussa Dembele has also contributed to Spurs recent success. He has solidified their midfield and brought a sense of security to the back line. The Spurs bought him from Fulham for £15 million in 2012 and he had never lived up to that price tag until this year. This season he doubled his goal tally for Tottenham and has looked dominant in the midfield. Dembele plays with lots of strength and rarely losses the ball.
This midfield play has directly affected the Spurs’ defense as they have allowed much less goals this season. 2 out of 3 matches that the Spurs have lost this season were when Dembele did not start. Tottenham needs Dembele to stay healthy to make sure they continue their fine form in the league.
Finally, the Spurs have a dominant defense this season. With the addition of Toby Alderweireld, the Spurs have finally found a consistent defense that consistently gives opposing offenses trouble.
Tottenham have 19 goals conceded in the league, the lowest in all the EPL. Alderweireld and Vertonghen played every minute in the league until Vertonghen had to be substituted against Crystal Palace. Hugo Lloris also has played every game except the opener against Manchester United which he missed due to a broken wrist.
With this partnership at the back Tottenham have been more consistent and have had reliable defending all year. Having a solid defense improves the entire team and this has been shown with Spurs this season, making them a contender and competing for the title of best team in London.
Tottenham is the only Top 6 EPL team to have more points this season than last season through 23 matches. This shows Spurs improvement and they find themselves in the title race. Do not be surprised if Spurs stay in the title race for the rest of the season.
They have built a good starting base at defense. Moussa Dembele has shown his quality and Pochettino’s philosophy has started to work at Spurs. In a season where top teams like Manchester United and Chelsea are slipping, the Spurs need to take advantage and qualify for the Champions League which they have been on the edge of for years. It can only get better from here for Harry Kane and the Spurs.