Tottenham Hotspur: Top 4 Finish for Spurs Seems Obvious (On Paper)

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Tottenham Hotspur: Top 4 Finish for Spurs Seems Obvious (On Paper)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Where will Tottenham Hotspur finish the latest Premier League campaign? As it stands right now, the club is easily one of the biggest question marks in the league.

Based on the first few Tottenham performances in the opening weeks, it's easy to write them off. "Not well," is how many fans of English football would answer the question.

But just looking at the talent the Spurs have available to them this season, it's tough to justify being so quick to judge.

With names like Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon, the Spurs theoretically have one of the most impressive midfield lineups in all of England. Adding Scott Parker to the mix and landing coveted striker Emmanuel Adebayor to help convert some of the opportunities they create has only improved the squad that finished fifth overall last season.

In theory, Tottenham should have performed at a much higher capacity than they did against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Ideally, Spurs should have put up a respectable fight against Manchester City at White Hart Lane.

But should is a red herring. Something is seriously awry within Tottenham's ranks.

Of course, Adebayor was absent from those early matches against the Manchester giants, so he can hardly be blamed. The rest of the club, it's easy to see, is simply not living up to their potential.

Even as the Spurs fought to achieve their first victory of the season on Saturday against the Wolves, the result was underwhelming. The 2-0 scoreline hardly sent the same kind of message that United and City have been sending in every match thus far this season.

If Tottenham was trying to send a message to the league, it came across as much less "We're here to win," and much more "See? We can win sometimes."

Part of the problem lies in the formation, with the Spurs typically playing a variant of the 4-5-1 to accommodate Rafael van der Vaart's particular skill set. Neither Jermain Defoe nor Peter Crouch particularly thrived using such tactics and the result was one goal in 180 minutes (which didn't even come from the feet of a Tottenham striker).

While Adebayor could yet prove to be the missing piece to make the 4-5-1 successful, Van der Vaart's recent injury forced Tottenham back into a more traditional 4-4-2, which proved to be much more effective (although the Wolves are hardly the defining club to measure the true effectiveness of the tactic).

Injuries in Tottenham's back line have proven to be problematic as well, with centre-backs Willam Gallas and Ledley King missing the first two matches and leaving Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul to fill the gaps.

King is already back in the lineup, with Gallas still a couple of weeks out.

And then there's Luka Modric, who is still an extremely talented presence for Tottenham on the pitch, but who has underperformed as of late as the events of this past summer (I suspect) still weigh heavily on his mind.

We've seen glimpses of everything Tottenham can be. They attacked hard in the opening half against United and took home the three points against the Wolves.

Adebayor's footwork up front is already turning heads and making a difference. Bale's runs down the touchline have been everything we've hoped for (though, he should never be allowed to play on the right side again). Ledley King was top-notch in his first match back from injury.

There are a lot of reasons to think that the Spurs can achieve glory this season, and even more to explain why they haven't shown that drive thus far in the campaign.

But there's a reason why the Spurs look so good on paper. It's just a matter of time before all that talent comes together to see them climbing the table once again.

When this club is finally firing on all cylinders, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Mark my words.

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