I saw a stat on Twitter earlier which I quickly passed on to my WhatsApp group, which is full of Gooners, Chelsea and Millwall fans. Basically, they all hate Spurs.
@BBCSport: Spurs have conceded the fewest of any team in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.
I was quickly shot down, ‘You’ve played Cardiff and Palace and a load of teams with made up names that aren’t even proper football clubs in the Europa League.’
While that all may be true, Tottenham have started the season in impression fashion. The defeat at Arsenal, a game which arguably came too soon for this new group of players, is the only blip on Spurs record thus far this campaign. With Arsenal sitting top of the table, it doesn’t seem like such a terrible loss, albeit a painful blow for any Spurs fan to take.
So this Saturday at 12:45pm we kick off against Chelsea. This is the first time that I can remember the top online bookmakers putting Spurs in as favourites for a match against the Blues. Tottenham have a woeful overall record against Chelsea in the last couple of decades but, things have certainly improved in recent times with the home side having lost just five of the last fourteen encounters.
Although Chelsea returned to winning ways against Fulham last time, they aren’t exactly on fire. Jose Mourinho’s men have scored just six goals in their opening five matches which is their joint-lowest return at this stage during the last eighteen years. Admittedly, they are only two points off Tottenham and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table and a win at White Hart Lane would see them reach the helm at least temporarily.
This could be one of the defining games of Tottenham’s season and Andre Villas-Boas career as a manager. No matter what he is telling the media in the run up to this game, victory over Mourinho and his former club Chelsea would mean everything to him. Spurs have had a number of false dawns before but this is for me the best squad of players we have had since the Premier League began. Whatever the result, I just hope the players go out there with no fear and play with the freedom, passion and ruthlessness they have shown in recent weeks.
Tottenham’s new look side showed exactly what they are capable of this past Saturday with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over a good Norwich City team. A Gylfi Sigurdsson brace was enough to dispatch Chris Houghton’s side and it was Spurs who were firmly in control over the ninety minutes. The home team had 68% of the possession and 7 shots on target to Norwich’s 1. On a day when Gareth Bale was making his debut for Real Madrid, an impressive performance was needed from Andre Villas-Boas’ men, and that’s exactly what they delivered. While Spurs began the match as the strong favourites with the Betting Exchange Betfair, nothing can be taken for granted at the top level of English football.
Making his debut for Spurs, Christian Eriksen’s display was nothing short of thrilling. I’m not sure whether the Dutch league is comparable to the Premier League in terms of style, but Jan Vertonghen was another Ajax import to hitting the ground running in much the same way. Some foreign imports take six months to a year before they show their top form, but Eriksen controlled large part of this game with excellent passing, particularly in the final third. I’m not one to overreact on the back of one performance, but he could look a snip at £11.5m come the end of the season.
Danny Rose was another player who really stood out for me on Saturday. I’ve always been keen for the left back to be given a chance in front of Assou-Ekotto and now that Benny has been loaned out to QPR, Rose has an excellent opportunity to make the position his own. Based on this performance, Rose is well on his way to doing just that. Record signing Lamela came off the bench late on, and it is likely that the former Roma man will make a much more significant impact in the coming weeks.
Can Tottenham Hotspur Football Club win the Premier League? I think it’s far too early to be making any such predictions but the exciting brand of football they played against Norwich was certainly encouraging. A more realistic target for Spurs is a top four finish but with all the leading title contenders looking shaky, maybe the Lillywhites can spring a surprise and be in the mix for the 2013/14 crown.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been a largely permanent fixture in the Tottenham side for a number of years now. During the 2008–09 campaign, Ekotto became first choice in the left back role and has made the position his own until fairly recently. Benny hasn’t impressed Andre Villas-Boas since his arrival as Tottenham manager and following limited chances in the first team, the Cameroon international has made the decision to move to QPR on load for the remainder of the season.
Personally, I love Benoit. He’s got a personality that a lot of other footballers lack and his Twitter LOLs are legendary. An honest guy, maybe this was part of the problem as far as Villas-Boas was concerned. Assou-Ekotto made no bones about the fact that he was in football for the money and also commented that the majority of his fellow professionals claiming otherwise were not being truthful. The bulk of the player’s performances on the pitch for Spurs have been of a high standard, but he is prone to the odd lapse in concentration. This likely also contributed to the Spurs’ manager’s decision to offload Ekotto.
One thing is for sure, the arrival of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at Queens Park Rangers is sure to help the promotion chances of Harry Redknapp’s side. At Championship level, Assou-Ekotto’s quality will stand out like a sore thumb and while he may not always know what team he is going to face come game time, he’ll always give 100% on the pitch. Whether the move will negatively affect Tottenham’s league ambitions is open to questions but they are arguably short of quality at left back now. The bookies are struggling to split Spurs and Arsenal as far as a top four finish is concerned, as has been the case for the last few seasons. Arsenal have always come out on top thus far, but if you are considering betting on Spurs, try www.onlinebettingoffers.com for betting offers.
Benny wasn’t the only player to head for West London from the Lane yesterday. In a surprising move, Andre Villas-Boas also allowed exciting young midfielder Tom Carroll to join QPR on a season long loan. A bright prospect, Carroll has always impressed when given a chance in the Spurs first team, and he will also bring significant quality to Harry Redknapp’s squad.