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Ranking Tottenham Hotspur's Top 5 Players for January 2016

Sam RookeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2016

Ranking Tottenham Hotspur's Top 5 Players for January 2016

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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    Accruing more points than any other Premier League club while progressing to the fifth round of the FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur can be more than happy with their performance in January.

    Four wins, two draws and a single home defeat are a fine results from a busy month.

    Spurs' league position is much-improved, and they are in an excellent position as the season heads towards its conclusion. 

    Nacer Chadli's and Christian Eriksen's return to form from injury has been vital to Spurs' progress, while Dele Alli's continued excellence is once again cause for celebration.

     

Nacer Chadli

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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    Nacer Chadli has been a polarising figure throughout his Tottenham career. Now in his third season at Spurs, Chadli has struggled to endear himself to some fans, despite an impressive goal return.

    He has scored 23 goals in 100 appearances for the club.

    His injury-enforced absence did go largely unnoticed thanks to the form of Erik Lamela and others playing in wide-attacking roles, but his return is a boon to any Premier League title aspirations that manager Mauricio Pochettino may be harbouring.

    Chadli has scored in his last three appearances, including a brace against Colchester in the FA Cup and a match-sealing goal against Crystal Palace as he makes a case for a starting position.

    His assist for Harry Kane's equaliser at Selhurst Park is deserving of praise. 

    Called from the bench with Spurs trailing 1-0, Chadli gave a match-winning turn.

    Tottenham's second-highest goalscorer last season, Chadli is once again a useful weapon for Pochettino to use when required. He can help shoulder Kane's goalscoring burden.

Christian Eriksen

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Christian Eriksen has seven assists this season after recording just two in the previous campaign.

    Despite the statistics, this has been a down year for the Dane.

    Eriksen has struggled to impose his will on Spurs' matches this season, but January saw the green shoots of his return to form.

    When he scored his brace against Sunderland, Eriksen was effervescent and full of energy.

    He was first to the loose balls and found enough time and space to show off the flair that makes him such a delightful player to watch.

    He formed a tidy partnership with Tom Carroll in January, too, as the pair shared the creative midfielder role to devastating effect.

    Even against Crystal Palace, in a brutal game played at incredible speed, the diminutive Dane was involved in the decisive moment.

    His header from Harry Kane's cross gave Dele Alli the opportunity to score his wonder goal.

    Of course, Alli deserves most of the credit, but Eriksen was sharp enough to analyse the situation and find his teammate, despite the attention of Palace defenders.

    Eriksen is not quite back to his best, but this has been the best month of his season so far. And that can only be good news for Spurs.

Toby Alderweireld

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Toby Alderweireld has been among the Premier League's finest defenders this season and almost certainly would be named the signing of the year.

    Playing between Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen, two hugely talented defenders with a tendency to take risks, his poise and his ability to assess situations make him invaluable.

    He frees Walker and Vertonghen to play their natural game while existing as an insurance policy behind them.

    Alderweireld has been virtually faultless in his debut season in north London, and that earns him his place on this list.

    His error for Shinji Okazaki's goal in the 2-2 FA Cup draw proved his humanity but was the only real blot on another excellent month.

    The ability to quickly move the ball into attacking zones is a fundamental part of Pochettino's philosophy, and Alderweireld continued to show his talents in that area in January.

    Dele Alli can thank Alderweireld for the inch-perfect pass from which he scored against Everton.

Harry Kane

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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    Harry Kane continued to be one of Tottenham's most valuable players in January.

    Scoring three times in his seven appearances is actually below his usual rate, but Kane's continued evolution into an all-round striker means goals are just part of his contribution.

    The nerves-of-steel penalty that saved Spurs' FA Cup campaign against Leicester City and the header that sparked the comeback win over Crystal Palace were two excellent moments, but Kane brings so much more. 

    With tireless running, intelligent aggression and on-field leadership, Kane has already outgrown his cult-hero status and blossomed into a genuine star.

    Few strikers in the division offer what Kane can, and fewer still can boast his consistency.

Dele Alli

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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    The man of the moment, Dele Alli, has been brilliant all season long.

    January saw him show off a different side of his game.

    As a teenager unused to the demands of a busy, top-flight season, Alli is feeling fatigue more than most of his teammates.

    That has been evident in his less flashy recent performances.

    The key is that Alli has not disappeared but seems to be saving his best for moments of sheer brilliance. 

    The astonishing goal against Crystal Palace made the headlines, but Alli is consistently producing moments of comparable magic.

    In the same match, he showed brilliant skill to turn a Palace defender and was inches away from recording a brace.

    His goal against Everton, a vital equaliser against a tricky, unpredictable opponent, showed his individual excellence.

    Acting on inspiration, he darted into Everton's box, brought down Toby Alderweireld's long ball and thrashed in the goal.

    The aggression and seemingly boundless energy that marked out his earlier displays have been subsidised by the addition of a willingness to shoot on sight of goal.

    In the matches he started in January, Alli averaged five shots per game. In 2015, his average was just 1.8 shots per game.

    Alli's evolution into a more willing shooter makes him a more dangerous player who demands attention from the opposition. This development guarantees greater freedom for the players around him and makes Spurs a far more dangerous team.

    After an excellent start to his Tottenham career, Alli has taken another great leap forward in January. 

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