Some said Spurs would struggle to replace Bale. Bale who?
When it comes to who’s going to win the Premiership title, everybody’s talking about the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea. Some pundits were wondering about Liverpool when they started the campaign so well and now they’re getting excited about Arsenal now that they have jumped to the top of the table.
But what about Spurs? It seems to me that most people became so pre-occupied about Gareth Bale leaving White Hart Lane for Real Madrid that they haven’t really noticed just what an incredibly strong squad Andre Villas Boas has assembled over the summer.
And instead of thinking about Spurs in terms of maybe being capable of snatching a top four spot at the end of the season, we should instead be giving them serious consideration as potential Premiership winners.
Coral make Man City their 7/4 favourites, understandable after their 4-1 thrashing of neighbours United (now 9/2) last Sunday with Chelsea 3/1 and Arsenal 13/2. Then it’s Spurs at 10/1 (now ahead of drifting 14/1 Liverpool) and that’s a price that makes plenty of appeal.
Even more tempting is 7/1 Spurs in the ‘betting without the Manchester clubs’ market. Last season they finished just three points behind Chelsea, one point behind Arsenal and 11 points ahead of Liverpool and I reckon they are a better team now, even without Bale.
Consider their summer signings: Roberto Soldado (£26m), Erik Lamela (£26m), Paulinho (£17m), Christian Eriksen (£12m), Etienne Capoue (£9m) and a few other quality acquisitions besides. That’s some talent and early signs are that Villas-Boas is moulding this new group into a team equal to the sum of its parts. Strong and skilful from back to front, they already look a formidable unit with creative midfielder Eriksen making a particularly good impression.
A good guide to the class of a team is its strength in reserve and their Portuguese boss will have been thrilled to see many of Spurs’ fringe players stepping up to the plate in midweek to help brush aside Aston Villa in what most, including Villas-Boas himself, assumed would be a difficult Capital One Cup away tie.
Jermain Defoe scored two more goals to make it six for the season and this established England striker can’t even guarantee a regular starting place. This is a squad capable of fighting on all fronts; Coral make them 8/1 favourites to win the Europa League and now 4/1 second favourites to win the Capital One Cup.
We will know a bit more still about Spurs’ Premier League credentials when they take on Chelsea this Saturday lunchtime in a match that could see them not only take over from Arsenal at the top of the table (at least for a few hours), but also send out a title statement to their big London rivals as well as to their friends in the north.
Written by Jon Freeman