2018/19 Premier League Title Race: Don't Rule Out Spurs!
The continued narrative throughout the entirety of the Premier League season so far has been that the fight for the title is a two horse race between Liverpool and Manchester City.
That quite plainly has never been the case. Even in the early stages of November, Chelsea were keeping close quarters on the top two, following their own unbeaten start to the season and although their title challenge crashed and burned, there is still one London club refusing to lay down- Tottenham Hotspur.
The most experienced and well known pundits have all had their say about Mauricio Pochettino's side, the general consensus being that he has done a great job and that his work is respected, but overall his side lack the title credentials that the other two sides leading the race have. But following a successful few weeks that had been prophesied to be a disaster, Spurs are slowly and surely proving the doubters wrong.
Lack of signings has been the presumed reason throughout the season, however it was the injury news in January that became their biggest issue yet. News that Harry Kane would be ruled out until March with another ankle problem was shortly followed by the announcement that Dele Alli would also be out of action until the same month. A double injury blow of this calibre left many pondering the detrimental effects on the coming months. Add on top of that the absence of their other star attacker Son Heung Min who was at the Asian Cup, and Spurs had themselves nothing short of a crisis.
It proved in the short term to be a difficult period, with Spurs whimpering out of both the F.A Cup and the Carabao Cup. However, since the return of Son, Spurs have taken their game up a level and all of a sudden appear a real force, both in the Premier League and in Europe, with their 3-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund highlighting a level of intent that many doubted they possessed.
Pochettino hailed his players as 'heroes' following their destruction of Dortmund, but then went on to suggest that the very same players were often 'underestimated', a sentiment which is hard to ignore following the media perception of both his players and the club itself this season. Gary Neville has been a regular critic of Spurs, with the underlying sentiment being that they simply lack the quality to be title challengers.
Nevertheless, with twelve games remaining Spurs are closer to the top two than anybody else and are currently just five points behind first placed Man City and still have vital trips away to both Liverpool and City to come in the near future. Needless to say that if they carry on in this impressive manner they could indeed take the necessary points off both sides and seriously capitalise on the assumed underestimation.
Whereas previously Spurs finished third in a two horse race, they may now well finish first in a title race they were never really considered for. Even if Spurs do not win the title, their fixture schedule means that they may well just play a massive role in deciding who does.