Tottenham Hotspur have been in the title race, out of the title race and back again this season. The defeat at Burnley at the weekend yet again brought outcries of ‘out of the title race’ and Mauricio Pochettino has been sanctioned for his after match altercation with referee Mike Dean. Spurs have bounced back before from setbacks and a visit to a Chelsea side in something of a crisis might just be the game where Tottenham can prove they have a strong mentality and reaffirm that they are still very much in this title race.
Still In It
Ahead of Spurs’ visit to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, they sit six points off leaders Liverpool and just five away from second-placed Manchester City. To say that they are no longer in the title race is rather premature. Whilst the defeat to Burnley has made things harder for the North London club, a win at Chelsea will boost confidence ahead of the North London derby that follows on Saturday.
Returning Players to Boost Tottenham?
Whilst other clubs have had injuries, Tottenham have had more than most. Throughout the season Spurs have, at varying times, been without Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez, Harry Winks, Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko and also they sold Mousa Dembele.
Considering Mauricio Pochettino has not signed any new faces in two transfer windows and Spurs have faced another season away from their ‘home,’ it is a testament to his managerial skills and the squad that they are still in the hunt for the title and the Champions League. Kane returned with a goal at Burnley and Alli is also back in training although he, along with Dier, are unlikely to make the trip to Chelsea. Kane will be hungry to add to his goal tally and Son Heung-min will be hoping for more freedom than he found at Turf Moor.
Victory Leaves Spurs in the Hunt
Three points for Tottenham will leave them firmly in the title race. The pundits and experts can rule them out as much as they want, but the fact remains that until they are mathematically out of the picture, they can not be ignored. It is unlikely, but should Liverpool and City both lose, also playing on Wednesday, Pochettino would find his team two points off second and three points off the top once again. With the North London Derby to follow, Spurs would have the opportunity to put the pressure back on the leaders.
Defeat Leaves Spurs Looking Over Their Shoulders
Defeat, on the other hand, and wins for Arsenal and Manchester United would leave Tottenham looking over their shoulders for the first time this season. That scenario would place Arsenal and United four and five points behind them respectively. Ahead of the North London Derby, it would be a huge test of Tottenham’s resolve.
With Chelsea starting to look like a pantomime right now, there surely can be no better time to take them on, even if it is at Stamford Bridge. Last season, with no Harry Kane, Tottenham blew Chelsea apart with a 3-1 victory thanks to a Dele Alli master lass.