We talked last week about Tottenham’s collapse – their untimely exit from the Champions League and the fact that they had only won one game in their last 10. After last season’s campaign, it appeared as if Mauricio Pochettino’s men had regressed significantly. Last year, title contenders; this year, not even close.
Their loss at Chelsea having led and been largely the better side only served to add weight to the theory that Spurs had ‘lost it’, and it is for that reason, amongst others, that Saturday’s game with Swansea was an important one.
Not only was it vital for Tottenham to pick up three points and ensure that they were not estranged further from the title-chasing pack, but psychologically, it was vital for Spurs to demonstrate to themselves that they weren’t simply a flash in the pan last season.
And that’s what they did on Saturday. In spades.
Harry Kane was on the scoresheet. Twice.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 3, 2016
Heung Min Son, who has struggled to replicate his early-season form lately, netted a world-class finish that Ronaldo would be proud of.
Christian Eriksen, who has been roundly criticised for his performances this season, grabbed himself a brace, following his screamer at Stamford Bridge last week.
And when you add into the mix the fact that this week Kane and Jan Vertonghen joined Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Delle Alli and Eric Dier in signing new long-term deals, it’s hard not look at things at Tottenham a lot more positively this week.
ICYMI Sonny’s goal against Swansea is better with Korean commentators. pic.twitter.com/bcA2vv79ki
— Tottenham Hotspur US (@Spurs_US) December 4, 2016
What’s vital now is that they kick on. They’re seven points shy of the top spot, and although they might surprise us, it seems unlikely to me that Chelsea will relinquish that lead. Which means that whilst the top spot might be beyond Spurs, nothing else is.
They’ve proved that they can beat City. They’ve shown themselves to be a match for Arsenal.
This is the company they should be looking to keep now. Regressing to the fight for fourth and settling for Champions League would be a step backwards, not a stride forward.
“It was fantastic. We looked like Tottenham again.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 4, 2016
And that is what Tottenham must do over the festive period. The games will come thick and fast, and they must be ready.
Wednesday sees their final game at Wembley – the dead-rubber with CSKA Moscow – before they visit Manchester United next Sunday afternoon. That’s followed by a midweek fixture with Hull, before another Sunday afternoon kick-off against Burnley.
A minimum of seven points must be garnered from those fixtures, and with Southampton and Watford their subsequent two opponents following that cluster of fixtures, Tottenham must be hopeful that they can enter the New Year in the top four. Failure to do so would be just that – failure.