While all eyes are on Leicester City’s ascent to the top of the table, and the media whips itself into a cocktail of knee-jerks and hyperbole over Chelsea’s crumble, Tottenham Hotspur are quietly putting together their longest unbeaten run for 30 years.
Spurs are now unbeaten in top flight football since the opening day of the season, have the fifth deadliest attack, second meanest defence, and all with the youngest average starting XI at a little under 25. What a time to be alive if you are a Tottenham fan. But can they really go on and win the Premier League title at odds of ?
In one of the craziest season’s in recent memory, no other team has put together a run quite like Tottenham’s. Under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino Spurs finally appear to have some kind of consistency to their game and are particularly tough to break down. Since the turn of the Millennium Tottenham have never been this close to the top of the table after 16 games. They currently sit just six points off Leicester, and within touching distance of the Foxes’ tails.
Tottenham’s biggest problem is turning draws into wins. While taking a point away from the Emirates or at home to Liverpool in Jurgen Klopp’s first game would hardly be concerning, throwing away a 2-0 lead at home to Stoke and taking just a point away to Swansea and West Brom is a worry. A lot like having to spend an extended amount of time over Christmas with the in-laws, Tottenham’s habit of picking up draws isn’t crisis territory but it’s very much far from ideal. Particularly if they insist on watching Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Tottenham have already drawn eight games this year, and consequently dropped a total of 19 points. In the last decade of Premier League winners, the champions have dropped an average of 26 points, and won an average of 27 games. That would mean Spurs would need to win 21 of their remaining 23 games in order to maintain the top flight average and become Champions – not so easy when your remaining fixtures include away trips to Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea.
However, Tottenham fans will point out that this is not your average season. Manchester United’s haul of 80 points in the 2010/11 season was the only time a team was won the title in the last decade with less than 86 points, but that’s all it might take this time around. That would mean Spurs could still afford to drop 15 points and make the 80 point mark. Suddenly that doesn’t seem so ridiculous.
Particularly when you consider Manchester United are and Liverpool are . Are Louis Van Gaal’s side really three times more likely to win the league than Tottenham this year? If you’re answering yes to that question, take the rose-tinted glasses off and put down the egg-nog…
In one of the most open title races, Tottenham appear to offer a snip of value at , and their assault on the league can continue this weekend as they’re a super-skinny to beat Newcastle at White Hart Lane. That’ll take the unbeaten run to 15 games, and after that they face Southampton (A), Norwich (H) and Watford (A) before the turn of the year. It’s not unreasonable to see Spurs even closer to the league’s summit as we welcome in 2016.