With over half of the season now complete, the Premier League is shaping up for an exciting climax with three teams in the championship picture. This is despite many claiming the championship was a two horse race between the red and blue halves of Manchester. The third contender, the team which haven’t won the championship since 1961, is Tottenham Hotspur.
With many predicting Harry Redknapp will become the England manager after Euro 2012 succeeding Fabio Capello, can he take the club who were flirting with relegation when he took over to a historic Premier League crown?
The simple answer is yes. Spurs have quality throughout their team with the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Emmanuel Adebayor and perhaps the best winger in the league, Gareth Bale. Add to this a reliable man between the sticks in the evergreen Brad Friedel, and solid central defenders Ledley King, William Gallas and Michael Dawson, Tottenham can pose real problems to any team in the league. With the depth of the squad the only problem compared to Manchester City and to a degree Manchester United, there is a strong likelihood that Redknapp may well delve into the transfer market, with the club being linked to Blackburn duo Chris Samba and Junior Hoilett. These signings would add even more quality to the wealth of talent Redknapp has at his disposal.
After their 2-0 win over Everton at White Hart Lane, Tottenham are now level on points with United and just three points behind City with a meeting at the Etihad between the two on January 22nd. City will be without the Toure brothers, who are at the African Cup of Nations, and the suspended Vincent Kompany, giving the men in white a great chance of going level at the top of the Premier League. Spurs have lost only once in the league since Manchester City demolished them 5-1 at White Hart Lane at the end of August; a quite incredible sequence of results.
Furthermore, the fact that Tottenham may still not be the main topic of conversation regarding the title will suit them; they can go about their business in a quietly efficient manner as they have all season. Spurs’ credentials must be enhanced when opposing managers such as Roy Hodgson state that they are ‘serious title contenders’. In addition to Hodgson, Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson have spoken of their belief that the title race is between three teams, with Spurs included. As well as managers being positive on Tottenham’s championship hopes, striker Jermain Defoe has proclaimed that ‘City and United know we are a threat’ and that everyone at the club wants to take the opportunity which has arisen with both hands.
Admittedly, the second half of the season may be a lot harder for Spurs as they have to face Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City away, but if they are still in touch with the league leaders as they go into each of these games, they will remain hopeful of mounting a serious challenge for the title. Unbelievably, the bookmakers still have Tottenham at odds of 7/1, a price which clearly suggests that they will fail to keep with the two Manchester clubs. However, with both City and United suffering with injuries and suspensions and their involvement in the Europa League, Spurs may have the advantage of keeping their squad relatively fresh and injury-free.
It is clear that Tottenham are part of this season’s title race and both Manchester United and Manchester City should not overlook the Londoners. If they do, Spurs could well take the title in what would be a shock to many.
What Spurs have done this year underlines the fact that Harry Redknapp is one of the best managers in the league and would be the ideal candidate to replace Capello in managing England. This is a nightmare situation for Tottenham, as they face losing a manager who has turned the club around and they could see a return to the mid-table mediocrity which they have suffered for far too long.