Last Monday evening at Old Trafford, Manchester United losing 3-0 to Tottenham was the story, as opposed to Tottenham beating United 3-0. Jose Mourinho drew further attention to the losing side with his comments in the post-match press conference.
The Portuguese’s media appearances are becoming more box-office than the Manchester United matches themselves, which is something fans will have feared when he was announced as Louis Van Gaal’s successor back in 2016.
Because it was United, and because it was Mourinho, Tottenham’s exploits in Manchester did not draw the praise they deserved, and this weekend, against Watford, who have also maintained a 100% winning record so far in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino has the chance to further extend Spurs’ hugely positive start to this campaign.
Tottenham made no signings in the summer, which many felt would not help the club to make another push towards the league title. Of course, it’s too early to tell at all how the latter stages of this season will transpire, and who will be in the frame to claim the title; all we can go by is current form, and Spurs are doing all the right things at present.
It’s three league games, two away, one at top-six rival, and nine points for the London club. Tottenham did struggle to match United in the first half on Monday, but unlike the Tottenham of the recent past, typical old flakey Tottenham, this time they did not crumble, and instead they came out in the second half and dispatched United rather clinically.
Lucas Moura, a player who arrived from PSG in January, looks to have finally found his feet in the Premier League, wherein the second half of last season, he appeared overawed and lost during the few appearances he made. Now, he has established himself as a regular in the starting eleven.
What was more important for Spurs in the summer than bringing in players, was ensuring they kept the bulk of their most influencial components intact. Harry Kane, Toby Alderwiereld, Dele Alli, Cristian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris, all are still at the club, with a few of these players recently jotting their names on new and improved contracts to remain long-term.
Were Tottenham to claim victory against a bright Watford side this Sunday, it would see them break for international duties with twelve points from a possible twelve. When the league returns, they will welcome Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side to Wembley.
Tottenham’s next four games afterwards are against Brighton, Huddersfield, Cardiff and West Ham. Should they manage to overcome Liverpool, they face four fixtures from which they can easily claim maximum points.
Then, it’s Man City on the 28th October, who have already dropped points this season, with Wolves managing to hold Pep Guardiola’s side to a draw last weekend.
Were Spurs to somehow claim victory against the Champions, it could very well see them top the table with some breathing space.
This season could be the make-or-break one for Pochettino. The Argentine is yet to claim any silverware at Tottenham, but it is not for a lack of trying. The team he has assembled is, on their day, one of the most exciting in the league to watch. The fluid passing, the movement in midfield, the almost telepathic understands of the forward players, who at all times are aware of each other’s positions on the pitch.
One of Pochettino’s most admirable achievements at the club has been to hold this team largely intact. The players have fully bought into him and what he is trying to do. Kyle Walker did leave last summer, but when players get the opportunity to work for Pep Guardiola, it must be difficult to say no.
But, if they arrive at the end of this season, and there are no trophies to show for it, it could be the moment that one, or perhaps even a few, of the players get their heads turned, either by bigger money or ‘bigger clubs’ and the opportunity for bigger achievements.
But, it’s been a perfect start, and that’s the best they could have asked for.