Tottenham 2-0 Aston Villa: AVB's Spurs Proving Their Top-4 Credentials
How things have quickly changed.
It is no secret that the season started poorly for Spurs. Two points gained through their first three matches was unacceptable and had them sitting right around the bottom of the table. Further, their inability to wrap up matches (four goals conceded in the final 10 minutes of their first four matches) pointed to some serious trouble.
However, after Sunday's 2-0 win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane, Spurs have won four consecutive Premier League matches and sit outside of the top four only on goal differential. What's more, they have conceded no goals in the final 10 minutes of any of their last three matches and even picked up their first victory at Old Trafford in 23 years.
For many, the turnaround has come as an utter shock given AVB's history in English football. Villas-Boas came into Chelsea last year as the new hope, but he quickly lost the dressing room through a series of poor judgments in way of man-management. By February, he was out of Stamford Bridge.
However, AVB has so far thrived in uniting Spurs' dressing room. Whereas his attempts to cycle in younger players fell flat at Chelsea, Tottenham have embraced the youth movement through their recent history.
Further, while big personalities like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba proved more than AVB could handle at the Bridge, the players at the Lane have seemed quick to take to their new manager.
Now, Spurs don't have much to improve upon to get to the top four. After all, they finished fourth and just one point short of third last season. However, with the improvements made at Chelsea and Everton, it feels like it will take more than ever to reach the goal of Champions League football.
Where will Spurs finish this season?
Luckily, the club did very well in the summer transfer window, dropping some dead weight that had the potential to cause trouble (i.e. Luka Modric), picking up some fine midfield options for a steal (i.e. Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson) and shoring up a position for the foreseeable future (i.e. Hugo Lloris).
After the rough start, Tottenham's side has suddenly gelled. Yes, Spurs' schedule hasn't been the toughest just yet, but four consecutive victories is still impressive.
Just look at this last victory over Villa: Bale is making cutting runs and providing sparks, Jermain Defoe is in the best form of his life, Lloris proved that there will be two keepers at the top of their games playing with the added incentive of their job, Jan Vertonghen continues to shine in defense and Aaron Lennon is showing signs of returning to the top of his game.
Add in the ongoing adjustment of potential difference-makers Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, and you get the picture of just how much potential this Spurs side possesses.
Will Tottenham finish in the top four this season? With so many fantastic and qualified sides for those spots this season, it's hard to say.
Just expect Spurs to be in contention come May.
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