Spurs have been here before, but there is a certain swagger about this young team that fills you with confidence. This season, the Premier is shaping up to be more interesting than it has been for some time, and that’s based on the shortcomings of the usual suspects and the form of one or two of the less fancied teams.
The way Spurs cast aside West Ham was impressive. Harry Kane is looking like a man playing himself into England’s starting line-up for Euro 2016, young Dele Alli remains an exciting prospect and Mousa Dembele was full of energy.
The 4-1 win extended Sours’ unbeaten run to 12 games, their best ever Premier run. Although they lost the opening game at Manchester United, they have not lost since. And next weekend, they are at home to Chelsea – Jose Mourinho’s team must be trembling at the thought, especially after that New Year’s Day humbling last season at White Hart Lane.
Mauricio Pochettino has gone about his business quietly. Spurs have been reshaping their team after the post-Bale days when they, quite literally, wasted the money brought in from the sale of the Welshman to Real Madrid.
In the summer, he unloaded players like Benjamin Stambouli (£6m PSG), Roberto Soldado (£10m Villareal), Aaraon Lennon (£4.5m Everton), Etienne Capoue (£6.3m Watford) and Paulinho (£9.9m Guangzhou).
His new signings have, so far, looked like sound investments: Son Heung-min, the South Korean from Bayer Leverkusen, and Belgian Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid, are settling in nicely. There has been an element of prudence behind Pochettino’s shopping list, largely because of the new ground development in progress alongside the tired old White Hart Lane stadium, but these two players cost over £30m between them.
When they are on form, Spurs are the most compelling proposition in London
Players like Kane are always going to attract attention, but Spurs have a new hero in the making in Alli, who has blossomed since arriving from MK Dons in February 2015. Christian Eriksen has also defied the critics who felt he was too slight to make an impact in the Premier, and Eric Dier has been outstanding this season.
When Spurs are on form, as they have been in games against Manchester City (4-1 at home) and Bournemouth (5-1 away), they are the most compelling team in London.
Can Pochettino’s side mount a credible challenge at the top? I think so, but they are a relatively young team and consistency may be hard to achieve, particularly when the pressure is on. But having seen them a few times now, I believe they have a chance of, at least, a Champions League place.
With Chelsea too far behind, even at this stage, and Manchester City and Arsenal carelessly throwing away points, any team that maintains sensible form is going to be in with a chance – Leicester City and Tottenham could be the teams that break the top four monopoly. They will have to make sure Kane stays fit, though.