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Darren Lewis: Spurs have grounds for optimism despite their bad run

17 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: Spurs have grounds for optimism despite their bad run

The Mirror sports writer says that Tottenham's defensive foundations will keep them in the Premier League title race...

So welcome back, Premier League – my, how we have missed you.

Partly because we are just under a third of the way into the toughest season in the competition since its inception.

But mostly because already it has exhilarated, frustrated and enthralled us in equal measure.

City, Arsenal and Liverpool fans probably cannot wait for the whole thing to kick off again after their teams’ explosive start to the campaign.

Spurs and West Ham supporters may view the return with more trepidation.

The north Londoners are winless in their last seven. The east Londoners have taken just three points from a possible 18 over their last six games.

Spurs do remain unbeaten. And it is fascinating just how many people are actually underwhelmed by that fact.

True, they have not been as easy on the eye or as explosive in front of goal as the current top four. In fact, with just six goals at home and nine on the road they are, right now, the lowest scorers in the top six.

They do have the best defence, however. They have a platform to build on.

They have a defensive mentality that is standing them in good stead, with injuries coursing their way through the side in a way that it never did last season.

First it was Hugo Lloris, then Danny Rose, then Mousa Dembele, Harry Kane and now Toby Alderweireld. 

Pochettino has been without all of his key men at various points since the season began. Yet they are still only five points off top spot.

Liverpool have scored goals for fun, City have responded positively to the arrival of Pep Guardiola and Arsenal – with Alexis Sanchez up front – are a far more potent proposition than when they have Olivier Giroud missing sitters.

Yet all of them are just a couple of results away from a run like Spurs’. Once Pochettino’s side start scoring again it will be too close to call.

The defensive foundations that they have built at White Hart Lane mean that it doesn’t have to be pretty, but more often than not that in the longer term it will be effective.

No wonder, then, that Pochettino was in good form at the Tottenham training ground on Thursday, trying out the mannequin challenge with us reporters and brimming with confidence going into a tough run of fixtures.

As is the way in this world of knee-jerk assessments, £30million midfielder Moussa Sissoko has already been written off, with many suggesting Spurs have wasted their money.

Vincent Janssen, despite being only 22 and having more than enough time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, has been dismissively described as the new Roberto Soldado.

It should be remembered that the Spanish flop was several years older when he arrived.

Somehow the critics are back to describing Spurs as a one-man team even though several others – Victor Wanyama in particular – are showing that view up to be a nonsense.

So there are grounds for optimism for Spurs going into the middle, fixture-congested, section of the Premier League title race.

West Ham won’t be easy.

The Irons are fighting for their lives and, with Dimitri Payet in fine form for France last week, Spurs will be up against a man more than capable of scoring goals out of nothing.

Yet the north Londoners showed themselves last season to be a team happy to let others make the early running while they grow into the campaign under Mauricio Pochettino. 

They will see Saturday’s game with the Hammers as an opportunity to kick off their resurgence.