Following an impressive 2-0 victory in the North London Derby over Arsenal, Tottenham fans are dreaming of following in Liverpool’s footsteps and securing the club’s first-ever Premier League title.
After finishing 6th last season, closer to last place than to first, few Spurs fans expected Premier League glory this season.
However, Tottenham are firing on all cylinders at the moment and find themselves joint top alongside Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho’s side has scored the third-most goals and has conceded the fewest goals in this campaign. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have formed the most formidable attacking partnership thus far this season, while the resurgence of Eric Dier has catalyzed a defensive revitalization.
Tottenham have also benefitted from a congested fixture schedule that has forced many changes to other contending sides.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Tottenham near the top. Is this the season they finally break through and emerge with their first trophy since 2008?
What’s gone right so far
As previously mentioned, the usually stellar Kane and Son have been much better than stellar—utterly brilliant would be more accurate.
Kane, after recording 2 assists in 29 Premier League appearances last season, has already bagged 10 in 10 matches thus far this season.
Similarly, Son Heung-Min is challenging for the Premier League lead in goals with 10, just one short of the 11 goals Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored.
Defensively, Spurs have also held steady.
After a few inconsistent years straddling between midfield and defence, Eric Dier has emerged as the leader of the league’s stingiest backline. Toby Alderweireld has rediscovered the form that made him one of the league’s best centreback a few seasons ago, while Serge Aurier has eliminated many of his typical errors.
Furthermore, Spurs have received notable contributions from new signings. Sergi Reguilon quickly settled to life in England, while Pierre Emile-Hojberg is the perfect midfield cog in Mourinho’s engine.
Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius, despite contributing sparingly in the league, give Spurs the insurance that they never had in past years in the case of injury.
Speaking of injuries, Tottenham haven’t suffered from the congested shortened season the same way that most others have.
All of the aforementioned players have remained healthy, along with all the other main members of the first team. Only minor injuries have plagued Mourinho’s side—a luxury that Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Leicester City have not been afforded.
For these reasons, Tottenham currently stand as the cream of the crop in England and will look to continue their good form.
Is Tottenham’s form sustainable?
In short, probably not.
It seems that all the stars have aligned thus far this season for Spurs. Harry Kane is healthy and firing. A defensive line that was seen as a weakness has been a strength so far. The side has stayed relatively injury-free and Jose Mourinho is yet to criticize one of his players publicly.
In all likelihood, there will be some regression to the mean. According to Understat, Tottenham’s 24 points are 6.09 more than expected, which would leave them in 5th place. For instance, Tottenham were only expected to score 0.39 goals against Arsenal and ended up scoring 2 stunners.
On an individual level, we should also anticipate some degree of regression. As good as Kane and Son are, it’s reasonable to expect the pair to come back down to earth. Gaps will probably open up in the backline, causing more goals to be conceded.
And unfortunately, the injury bug likely won’t be as forgiving to Tottenham as it has so far this season.
Despite their nearly perfect start to the season, Tottenham still don’t lead the league by even a single point!
On the other hand, we should expect increased competition from other sides.
It seems that every Liverpool player has faced a spell on the sidelines and they should return to their normal selves once these players recover. Pep Guardiola suffered the worst start in his managerial career amidst inconsistent play and injury, yet Manchester City find themselves only 6 points behind Spurs with a game in hand. Chelsea are close by and are starting to put the pieces together as well.
Will Mourinho be able to rally the troops when adversity hits? He enjoyed fruitful spells at Manchester United but was ultimately sacked due to his inability to recover from dry spells.
So what can we expect?
With all this being said, Mourinho should be praised. He has gained the trust of his players and it shows in their energy and commitment to his tactics.
We can also expect improved performances from certain players this season to continue. Eric Dier’s versatility and confidence should continue, while Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier should benefit from the manager’s trust.
Despite a probable regression, Tottenham should still exceed preseason expectations and be strong bets for a top 4 finish. They possess a balanced, multi-faceted squad and a manager who can pull a masterclass on any given day.
However, for the time being, it may be a little too early to crown Tottenham kings of England.