Rafael Van der Vaart’s double yesterday sent Tottenham fifth in the Premier League and after the defeats to Manchester United and City back in August, the six-game unbeaten run is the best possible response from the players, having conceded eight goals in the two games. An superb feat for any team in England’s top tier, where even champions United can get turned over with the drop of a hat.
Even more impressive, however, is that four of those six games have come away from home. On the road this year, including the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford two months ago, Spurs have picked up a superb 10 points out of the 15 available with the remaining six coming through wins over Liverpool and Arsenal. The up-turn in form saw Harry Redknapp pick up the manager of the month award and it is hardly surprising that Mark Lawronsen tipped the North London side as the favourites for fourth spot on Saturday’s Match of the Day.
Winning away at both Wolves and Wigan, two grounds Spurs failed to up maximum points last season, coupled with a draw away at Newcastle and the weekends win at Blackburn Rovers has seen Spurs commended by many as they look to turn the corner and fully establish themselves as a top four side. This has come about through an increased spine of the team. Brad Friedel provides some much needed stability in goal, Scott Parker has added the grit, determination and leadership skills that has been desperately missed in the midfield in recent years while Emmanuel Adebayor leading the line has bought out the best in the players around him.
These three players, for a combined price of £5m, excluding wages, along with the return of Ledley King, albeit, temporarily, has greatly aided in Spurs push up the table. At ground where some fans may have thought defeat was on the cards, instead they head into each game much more confident knowing that they can grind a result against even the toughest of grounds. It is a stark contrast to the glum mood surrounding White Hart Lane when Manchester City took an emphatic 5-1 win back up North. That loss, following the weekends football, doesn’t seem all too bad now.
With that in mind, it is thoroughly important that Spurs keep up their form in the coming weeks, especially with a, somewhat, ‘easier’ fixture list forthcoming. QPR are up next on Sunday and despite picking up three points at home to Chelsea over the weekend, Redknapp’s team should have enough quality about them to come away from the game with all three points. Heck, if Fulham can put six past them, then it should be another win on the board. And while many would have felt a slip up would be on the cards, with Parker adding the necessary bite in midfield, especially to combat the always tenacious Joey Barton, this fixture shouldn’t be anything but routine. Winning your home games is what makes you a good team, picking up points on the road makes you a great and Spurs are doing everything right on their travels. Now is the time to really push on a turn White Hart Lane into a fortress once more as it was back in the 09/10 season when fourth place was achieved.