1. We can make the top four
To slightly adjust a well-worn phrase, there are lies, damned lies and football statistics. The league table may suggest that we are currently the eleventh best team in England, but anyone who watched us play Liverpool off the park will know that we are a whole lot better than that.
One of the wonderful things about football is how quickly things can change. After two league games we were horribly depressed, but now we have every reason to be optimistic. Of our top four-rivals, Arsenal are floundering and on Sunday we proved that there is no reason why we can’t finish above Liverpool.
2. Modric’s head is right again
Watching little Luka dismantle Liverpool, it was easy to forget the summer ever happened. If Modric looked somewhat disinterested against Manchester City, he was clearly back in his groove yesterday and once again enjoying his football.
With the disciplined Scott Parker alongside him, Modric was able to dictate play and his probing balls caused trouble for Liverpool all afternoon. One of the few criticisms that you can make of Modric as a player is that he doesn’t score enough goals, but his unstoppable opener was a joy to behold and not a bad way to apologise to the Spurs fans for how he’s treated them this summer.
It may have disrupted the start to our season, but Daniel Levy’s decision to keep Modric was a necessary one and now that the transfer window is shut, it looks like the Croatian has put his troubles behind him.
3. Our squad is looking strong again
Just a few weeks ago we were facing Manchester United away with an out-of-position player and an untried youngster in central midfield. After doing a bit of business in the transfer window and the return of some injured players we’ve now got the nice problem of choosing which players to leave out.
Ledley King is back in central defence and William Gallas should play his first game of the season against Stoke. Sandro is also due to return in that match, creating an extra option to the already excellent Modric/Parker partnership.
Rafael van der Vaart came on as a second half sub, allowing us to play with a five-man midfield if required. The only area of the pitch where we look thin is up front. Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe are working very well together at the moment, but if the former were to get injured we’d be in trouble again. The best thing we can do is to only play Adebayor in the Premier League, pray that he doesn’t get injured or suspended and buy someone of similar quality in January.
4. Our big man, little man combination is not so traditional
The big bloke heading down balls for a little bloke to bang home, is an enduring football tactic. Our big man Adebayor and little man Defoe, have already scored five goals between them in two games, but in practice their partnership is not as traditional as it looks on paper.
I’ve been very surprised at how deep Adebayor drops back and how often he works the flanks, while Defoe remains pretty central. This is the opposite to what you’d normally expect from a big man/small man partnership, but it plays to their strengths. Adebayor helps us retain possession by coming short and wide, leaving Defoe remain in the areas where he can do damage.
5. We can’t wait until 2nd October
You should never wish your life away, but I wouldn’t mind fast forwarding through the next couple of weeks, because now seems like the perfect time to face Arsenal. While we are getting better, they are getting even worse. Their new signings will take time to settle and in the meantime, Premier League attackers are having a field day at their expense.
The presence of Adebayor in our team adds an added frisson to a game. As we’ve already discussed, a lot can change very quickly in football, but right now it seems almost impossible that the former Arsenal striker won’t score against his old employers. The only question is whether he will risk a celebration right in front of the away end.