Can Spurs realistically challenge for the title?

Tottenham Hotspur title challenge

Due to the unexpected underperformance of many big teams namely: Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, it’s fair to say that the Premier League could be won by more or less anyone this year.

At present, Arsenal and Manchester City come up as immediate favourites for the title, with high-flying underdogs Leicester along with Manchester United in the mix until their recent decline, but could dark horses Tottenham Hotspur, have a chance?

After 23 games, Tottenham sit comfortably inside the top four, five points ahead of Manchester United in fifth and five points behind leaders Leicester. Spurs have so far conceded the least amount of goals (19) out of any Premier League side, a stat many Tottenham fans would have considered unfathomable only a few seasons ago.

They have also lost the second least amount of games (three losses, behind only Leicester with two losses) and have scored the third most goals (41, behind Leicester with 42 and Manchester City with 45, but ahead of Arsenal on 37 goals).

For a team that initially set out with the lofty aspiration of fourth place and Champions League football, should Tottenham be aiming higher, given their very impressive stats? An answer to that could be, why not?

Spurs possess a very talented squad, who also happen to be the youngest in the Premier League and one of the youngest squads in Europe.

Hot prospects include England stars: Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, as well as South Korean Heung-Min Son, Argentine Erik Lamela, Algerian Nabil Bentaleb and Danish international: Christian Eriksen, all of which are either 23 or younger.

Dele AlliHowever, as famously quoted from Alan Hansen with ‘You can’t win anything with kids’, Spurs also have their fair share of more senior experienced players, namely France captain – Hugo Lloris, the powerful Mousa Dembélé, and Belgian centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

Tottenham have an excellent coach in Mauricio Pochettino, a manager who actively encourages the development of young English talent whilst also fully supporting an attractive, attacking yet effective style of pressing play.

Summer signing Toby Alderweireld has arguably proven one of the signings of the season, finally demonstrating to be the missing piece the notoriously shaky Tottenham defence has so desperately needed in recent years. Fellow Belgian Mousa Dembélé has also seen a dramatic rise to form, with the powerful midfielder vastly enhancing the Spurs squad whenever he starts, with his unique ability to retain the ball even under the most extenuating circumstances going unparalleled in the League.

Mauricio PochettinoErik Lamela has also cemented his place in the line-up, demonstrating why so much was invested in him. His decision-making in the final-third has improved ten-fold, his end product is far more refined than in previous seasons, and the young Argentine looks far stronger, quicker and hungrier than he did when he arrived. Whether this is down to the Argentinian link with him and the head coach is yet to be seen, but it’s certain that Erik Lamela is looking more and more like the real deal with every game he plays.

This is without even mentioning the sensational breakthrough season that nineteen year old Dele Alli has had, scoring as many and winning more tackles than a player nearly twice his age and experience – Yaya Touré.

With Alli winning an England start and scoring in that game against Euro 2016 hosts – France, his season couldn’t be going better for him, and its guaranteed that the 19 year old has an extremely bright future ahead of  him.

Harry Kane has also recovered some of his 2014/15 form, netting 13 times this season and being the most prolific Premier League player of 2015 with 27 goals.

With all of the above factors considered and the topsy-turvy nature of the Premier League this season especially, there is no better opportunity for this young Spurs squad to try and aim as high as they possibly can.

By
Aspiring football journalist. Follow my twitter @EnterShaqiri
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