Premier League analysis – Week 13 – Can Spurs finally break the top four stranglehold?

The major talking point of the weekend came at White Hart Lane as Tottenham Hotspur ran riot against a hapless Wigan side. The question is can Spurs maintain this kind of form for the season as they aim to break the seemingly unbreakable quartet of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League?

One of the fantastic strengths of Spurs this season is the incredible depth of their squad to focus on mounting a serious challenge against some of the top sides in the English Premier League. The likes of Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon have been able to maintain their form and are starting to look like mature and consistent performers at the highest level. Another key element is quality players covering every position, such as Sebastien Bassong drifting in for the injured Ledley King and Niko Kranjcar filling the void on the left-hand side by star player Luka Modric. This sheer depth has been a key reason in Tottenham’s form so far this season. Leaving the likes of Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley on the bench for the game against Wigan shows the high quality of the Spurs side and how they are beginning to perform week-in, week-out.

The Wigan game offered insight into Tottenham’s destructive nature this season and, in particular, their ability to finish teams off in games of high importance. A 5-1 win at Hull City, a 5-0 home victory against Burnley and finally the 9-1 thrashing of Wigan have reflected the killer instinct Spurs currently have, particularly with the in-form Jermain Defoe seemingly scoring from every conceivable angle. With a shot to goal ratio of 31% this season, Defoe is currently in the best form of his career and has already scored 11 goals so far this campaign. The rotation of the three Spurs strikers, Robbie Keane, Defoe and Peter Crouch has been a key element in the pure goal-scoring success of the side. Crouch gives the side height and excellent hold up, Keane offers clever movement and a wonderful first touch whereas Defoe has the ability to stay on the shoulder of defenders and utilise his pace and lethal finishing.

After analysing the Wigan game it is clear to see Tottenham have a great combination in their central midfield duo. With a superb passing completion rate of 80.6% and 29 tackles compared to Wigan’s 17 it is clear that Harry Redknapp has found a balance with the pairing of Huddlestone and Wilson Palacios. Palacios gives Spurs the energy and drive they need to go forward but gives security for the defence because he can get from box to box with ease, owing to his incredible natural fitness. Huddlestone gives the Tottenham back four more protection when the side are attacking and utilises the ball well with a mixture of short and long passing which he excels in. The added bonus of Jenas to come into the central midfield is also a huge plus for the Tottenham side. Arguably one of the most talented midfielders in the Premiership, he gives the squad more steel and energy along with Palacios and Huddlestone to give Spurs numerous different options in the midfield area. One stand-out performer against the Latics was Aaron Lennon and one key asset he has improved upon this season is his final delivery. Pace, trickery and skill are all traits which Lennon has in abundance – however one question has been his ability to deliver the final ball and add more assists to his repertoire. This season, Lennon has been delivering crosses regularly to add a new dimension to his game and also to suit the likes of Crouch in the air who craves good service from the wide positions.

Redknapp added key players to his squad towards the end of the current transfer window, in particular Kranjcar from Portsmouth. The left midfielder has been in great form recently, scoring two goals and helping fill the troublesome left-hand side spot for Spurs since Modric broke his leg in September. Spurs are certainly making a tremendous push for Champions League Football next year as Redknapp has formulated a squad with sheer quality running throughout. Scintillating attacking football has been the flavour of the month at White Hart Lane and all Spurs fans will want that to continue for the coming months.

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