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Tottenham and title contenders in the same sentence? Surely not….

To the Lane and Back simply cannot stop pinching themselves when they look at the table. Are we really in third place? Two points off second?? With a game in hand??? Somebody pinch us we must be dreaming. Alas, despite checking every five minutes, the table still shows Spurs in the top three. Many have even tipped the mighty Lilywhites as title contenders. A step too far? We took the opportunity to decided whether it was. 

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Ten games unbeaten, nine of them victories, the league table is looking pretty rosy for Tottenham fans at the moment. Third place, two points behind Manchester United and one game in hand has given the supporters reason to be cheerful. It feels like eons ago that we lost away to the champions 3-0 and the 5-1 capitulation to Manchester City is nothing more than a near-forgotten memory.

The form guide sees Spurs the ones to beat, 28 points from a possible 30 means Harry Redknapp’s side are, point-to-game ratio, the best in the league. Confidence is breeding through the team and morale is at a sky high. At the beginning of the campaign a top four finish, and a return to the Champions League, was the aim. But has that target suddenly increased ten-fold?

Whispers around the country has seen the Spurs faithful quietly confident of upsetting the equilibrium. When the season kicked off, the title was supposedly staying in Manchester. United had strengthened in key areas while City, with their bottomless pit of money, had bought in the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, three remarkable signings making the best better. Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool were also predicted to be there or thereabouts come May while Spurs were destined for consecutive finishes outside the top four.

And football fans would have been hard pressed to find a team more destined for a finish outside the Champions League places, especially after Spurs conceded eight goals from two games. However, the two and eight now means something completely different to fans and had it not been for a late Shola Ameobi strike away at Newcastle, it could well have been a perfect 30 out of 30.

Nonetheless, such form has seen them rise from perennial top four competitors to; you guessed it, title contenders. Who would have thought Spurs would be up there with the pace-setters, sitting pretty only two points behind defending champions Manchester United? Is the impossible indeed possible? With the help of Tottenblog Hotspur, we duly investigated the claim.

At present, Spurs’ point-per-game ratio is 2.333 which, according to Christopher Hanlon, proprietor of Tottenblog, claims would have been enough to win 13 of the last 19 Premier League titles. Spurs’ next nine games leading up the encounter at Manchester City are all, in our current form, easily winnable, the two hardest arguably being Stoke City away and Chelsea at home. Victory in those nine games would see our points-to-game ratio rise to a staggering 2.619, a total that would have guaranteed Premiership glory in the previous 19 attempts. 

It’s enough to make the hairs on the back of one’s neck stand on end. But is it possible? Fortunately, none of Spurs’ African players will be playing in the African Cup of Nations over January, meaning Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Emmanuel Adebayor will still be with available to Redknapp, injury permitting. Ivorian trio Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure are all expected to turn out for the Elephants in the New Year.

And with the strength in depth available to Redknapp at the moment, many are now of the opinion that a top three finish is comfortably on the cards. But, title contenders? Unfortunately, it is just out of the clubs reach. As much as we at To the Lane and Back would love to see the trophy being lifted by Ledley King at White Hart Lane come May, Manchester City have the edge over any team in the league.

Despite the Toure brothers unavailable for January, if the worst comes to worst during the month, they have the money and the players in reserve to continue their unbeaten record. There financially clout is what is pivotal to their success this season and it is hard to believe that only 18 months ago, Spurs were pipping them to fourth spot with a weaker squad.

Both teams, like all in the league, have come a long way since that Peter Crouch header and while it isn’t impossible that a title challenge is on the cards, it’s highly unlikely that any team is going to usurp the current pace-setters at the summit of the Premiership. Still, it is nice seeing Spurs so high up in the table and to be considered genuine title contenders is a huge compliment and a real testament to how far they have come since Redknapp took over.

Ben McAleer

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