Saturday 24 March 2018 / 05:48 AM

Spurs purring in pursuit of EPL title

Tottenham Hotspur are well in truly in the running to take out the Premier League. The North London side has ticked off wins against smaller clubs and has also provided ‘upsets’ in a season where no club has stamped authority on the top of the table.

While titles are not won in February, Spurs should be at the pointy end of table in May.

Manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has made a reputation for building a style of play that uses dynamic movement to keep the game in the opposition half. This requires frenetic pace and stamina from his charges.

It has often been compared with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s ‘Gegenpress’ style, but Pochettino told Sky Sports his type of pressing is vastly different.  

“It’s very strange to compare those two styles – Klopp’s style to mine. We are different. One is not better than the other; we are very different,” Pochettino said.

“It’s true that our style is to press and to run and to show togetherness on the pitch. But then we need to score, we need to play better with the ball than the opponent.”

Running is a huge part of the Argentine’s tactics and since taking over at White Hart Lane his side now cover the most ground per game in the Premier Leauge.

Pochettino also places a high priority on youth in his squads, having the youngest team in the Premier League at an average of 24.

Throughout his time at Southhampton and Tottenham he has helped develop nine of England’s last 16 debutants and brings a combination of young players and local talent to his starting 11.

At Southampton he played a vital role in the development of Adam Lallana, Callum Chambers and Luke Shaw.

He has continued this at Tottenham, utilising Harry Kane, Dele Ali and Eric Dier to great effect.

With the ball Spurs look to their English centre forward, Harry Kane, who has backed up his impressive 2014/15 season –  where he scored 31 goals – with 19 to his name so far this campaign. Kane is known for his fantastic hold-up play and long-range goals, but has been aided this season by quality passing from his midfield.

These passes are predominantly from midfield maestro, Dele Ali, who has impressed in his first season with the club.

The 19-year-old from Milton Keynes has been an integral part of the Tottenham’s line-up, and has the ability to control the game with astute passing and positioning. Ali also has a keen eye for goal and has scored seven times for the North London club.

England assistant coach, Gary Neville, told The Daily Mail Ali’s defensive efforts have been often ignored but insists they have played a vital role in Tottenham’s and England’s success.

“There was a tackle in the lead-up to Dele Alli’s goal for England against France that ranks as one of my favourite moments as an England coach,” Neville said.

‘There was a sense of pride watching someone perform like that, in his first game, against the likes of Matuidi, Schneiderlin and Pogba. You’re thinking what a performance that was by a young player.”

Tottenham will look to continue their press up the table. Spurs face Swansea, West Ham, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in coming weeks.

Yes, this isn’t the season to be making bold predictions about results – but a betting man would think the only major challenge out of that bunch is their bitter rivals Arsenal.

If Tottenham continues play their lively brand of football and invest in youth, they will be serious title contenders for this season – and several more to come.

[YouTube – FATV]

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About the author

Mitchell Van Homrigh

Brisbane-based Mitchell arrived at CBS in 2016 to bolster the site’s football and cricket coverage.

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