Tottenham look genuine title contenders

Deadly duo
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have been prolific this season. File photo: Reuters

On April 17, 1961, Tottenham Hotspurs beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 to clinch the Football League First Division title. The Football League First Division was back then the top flight of English football which was later replaced by the Premier League. Tottenham’s title win was the start of their glory years with the team going on to win at least one major trophy for the next six decades including the inaugural edition of the UEFA Cup in 1971-72. But the team’s 1961 league title proved to be their last as they are yet to win the Premier League title.

Now in the 2020-21 season, the Spurs seem to be the main contenders for the Premier League title. This season has seen the club beat the likes of Manchester City (2-0), Arsenal (2-0), and Manchester United (6-1). Of course, the advent of Jose Mourinho as the manager of the team is probably a huge factor in the success of the club this season. The Special One, as he is called, is one of the world’s greatest managers of all time winning accolades and titles at every club he has been in. Tottenham fans hope he will be able to do the same as the club is in desperate need of some silverware. Mourinho’s tactics and strategies have clearly been working as the club seems to be playing with more fluidity and better coordination then ever before.

Yet some credit must also be given to former manager Mauricio Pochettino, who created a strong team, which the current manager has taken and strengthened with new additions as well as his brilliant strategies. Under Pochettino, the club was inches away from the Premier League title in 2016-2017 as they finished second. They also reached the final of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2019 where they lost to Liverpool.

Then came the 2019-2020 season, in which Spurs suffered one of their worst starts of the Premier League in recent years. This led to the sacking of Pochettino and heralded the arrival of Mourinho. The new manager had his work cut out, as the team was struggling to provide results and lacked that spark which had made them a force to reckon with in previous seasons. The whole season was documented in the All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspurs web series which follows the club through that tumultuous season, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Master tactician
Jose Mourinho has transformed Spurs into a formidable unit. File photo: Reuters

It seems though that Tottenham have finally found their mojo under Mourinho this season. They have lost just one of their 12 matches so far and all though it is still early days, Spurs have proved that they are challengers to the title. They are sitting at the top of the table despite a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday as second-placed Liverpool were held by Fulham. In fact both Spurs and Liverpool have 25 points each, with Mourinho's side ahead on goal difference.

The current roster is probably the most balanced line-up the club has ever seen. The lethal attacking duo of England captain Harry Kane and South Korean international Son Heung-min have proved to be the bane of all the Premier league defences this year. Kane has transformed under the new manager and is now equally instrumental in creating goals as well as scoring them. Son has proved himself to be one of the top strikers in the world with consistent showstopping performances on almost every matchday.

Working his magic
Jose Mourinho has been able to extract the best out of Harry Kane. File photo: Reuters

The offensive side of the club is further reinforced by Carlos Vinicius and Steven Bergwijn, as well the return of Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid. With the likes of Pierre-Emile Holjberg, Lucas Moura, Giovani Lo Celso, Eric Dier and Tanguy Ndombele, Spurs probably have the most underrated midfield in the Premier League right now. Mourinho’s other loanee from Real Madrid, Sergio Reguilon, has quickly integrated himself into the squad and proved to be vital in creating chances for the team. Hugo Lloris, the team’s veteran goalkeeper and captain has been steady despite the slip against Palace.

Tottenham overall seem to be on another level this year, but they will be pressurised to keep their current pace as holders Liverpool, challengers Leicester City, outsiders Southampton and former champions Chelsea are breathing down their neck. Mourinho, who has won a trophy with every club he has managed, will keep his record intact if they continue the good work.

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