Tottenham's Title Chances: 6 Things Spurs Need to Happen to Win the EPL
Tottenham is all but booked for the FA Cup quarterfinals, the club has a 10-point lead on Arsenal to punch their ticket for next year's Champions League and Louis Saha, manager Harry Redknapp's only major signing during the winter transfer window, is working out better than anyone could have hoped for.
But the mountain that dwarfs all these accomplishments is the league title—a summit Tottenham has been trying to get back to since winning it in 1961.
There's a lot of things that have to fall into place and a number of planets that have to align for Tottenham to make it past Manchester City and Manchester United, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that White Hart Lane could be the home for this year's Premier League trophy.
With that said, I give you the six things Tottenham need to happen to win the Premier League.
Redknapp Needs to Forget About FA Cup
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When Tottenham beats Stevenage in the fifth-round replay at White Hart Lane, they'll have booked themselves into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and will face Bolton on March 17.
Now, March 17 is an official matchday for Tottenham so the league would probably move the match to March 19—two days after the club would have faced Stoke City and five days before they're set to travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
The congestion with FA Cup matches and league matches forces Redknapp to pick only one path, much like when he guided Tottenham out of the Carling Cup in September.
Redknapp's already won the FA Cup in 2008 with Portsmouth. He has bigger fish to fry against either Manchester club and for Tottenham to win the Premier League trophy, he (sadly) must take whatever eggs he has out of the FA Cup basket.
Saha Needs to Show Newcastle Wasn't a Fluke
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Louis Saha had about as brilliant a debut with a team as there ever was, scoring two goals in his first start with Tottenham in a blowout victory against Newcastle United.
For Tottenham to win the league title, the former French international needs to show it wasn't a fluke and that there is indeed still gas in the tank.
Tottenham has done exceedingly well this season collecting goals, as they've already got 49 scores in 26 matches. But with Tottenham facing Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in the next few weeks, the team will need all the offensive firepower it can get.
Emmanuel Adebayor cannot be left alone at forward, and Jermain Defoe is at his best when he can come off the bench and put a full game's worth of energy into 25 minutes. Saha needs to be at his best for the remainder of the season for Tottenham to have any title hopes.
Defense Needs to Continue Ascending
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It's not a coincidence that Tottenham's improved play at defense is directly related with the team becoming more and more a title contender as the season wears on.
Younes Kaboul has shown he is more than capable to take over for a legendary—yet ailing—Ledley King.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is a speedy player who has learned how to balance his game with intelligence and awareness.
Michael Dawson looks more and more comfortable in the starting role he has been cast in lately and, if Kyle Walker plays for the England national team like he does for Spurs, the Three Lions could challenge for a World Cup very, very soon.
But for Tottenham to win the league title, the defense needs to continue to ascend. There are still chinks in the armor (as shown in Manchester City's 3-2 win on January 22) but they are beginning to be few and far between.
If the club's young defense continues its climb upwards, look for them to leapfrog the likes of Manchester United and make a run at winning the league title.
Friedel Needs to Keep Proving Father Time Wrong
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Forget Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey—Brad Friedel is the best American soccer player in the Premier League right now.
The 41-year-old Ohio native is playing at the highest level of his position and no one seems to take notice. His 10 clean sheets are just one behind Manchester City's Joe Hart for the Premier League's Golden Glove, and his awareness in front of the net has earned Tottenham draws where there should have been losses.
Friedel's only conceded one league goal in the last three matches, and his continued ability to prove that a 41-year-old can still hang with the likes of Tim Krul, Jose Reina and Joe Hart will bring Tottenham it's first league title since 1961.
Manchester City Needs to Stumble
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Let's face it—for Tottenham to have any real shot at the Premier League title, they need Manchester City to stumble a bit this spring.
This could conceivably happen as Manchester City find themselves in the Europa League after a disappointing performance in the group round of this year's Champions League. Match congestion and fatigue could get the better of the club as they go up against Europa opponents and Premier League opponents all in the same week.
Manchester City also still has to travel to Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal and hosts Manchester United late in the season. Both could be monumental slip-ups if they lose and Tottenham is able to capitalize.
White Hart Lane Needs to Be Loud
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With 13 league matches to go until the end of the 2011-12 season, Tottenham needs—most of all—a noisy, raucous crowd to cheer them on.
The league matches Tottenham has left at White Hart Lane are the club's most important—Manchester United, Swansea City and Norwich City are chances for Spurs to slip up and Stoke City, Blackburn and Fulham are opportunities for three easy points.
Win all six of your remaining home matches and scratch out 17 points (five wins, one draw, one loss) in seven away matches and Tottenham will have put themselves in a great position to win the title.
In the last five years, it has taken an average of 87.4 points to win the title. Tottenham is currently 34.7 points below that. Win your six at home and you only need 16.7 more. Sound impossible? Maybe. Is it impossible? Nope.
With rumors swirling about manager Harry Redknapp's leaving for the English national team, the club will be counting on Spurs fans to fill White Hart Lane and encourage them towards finishing the season strong.
These are my six things Tottenham needs to do to win the title. Anything I should have added? Let me know in the comments below.