With 15 games played of the Premier League season, Spurs are ten points behind Chelsea in the title race. Having came so close to winning the title last season, are Mauricio Pochettino’s team already out of contention?
Tottenham have only lost twice this season – to Chelsea and Manchester United. That’s the same amount of losses that Chelsea have suffered, but the West Londoners have won twelve games to our seven.
Football is all about fine margins and if Spurs had won a couple of the games they drew, then their position would look a lot healthier. The team had several weeks where they really struggled to get wins on the board, as the club suffered the worse run of injuries in the Premier League.
None of the other title challengers have had nearly as many injuries as Tottenham this season, with Pochettino being without the likes of Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane at various points. Most teams would struggle without such key personnel and it will be interesting to see how Tottenham’s rivals fare, should their injuries and suspensions begin to stack up.
Only Lamela remains currently unavailable, though the likes of Dembele and Kane still do not look fully fit. This is a Spurs side that has maybe played at 60% of it’s potential, with only the brilliant 2-0 victory over Manchester City coming close to the heights reached last season. There is hope then, that at some point they can ignite and put together the sort of run that could put them back in contention.
Hull and Burnley are next at home, which should see the team take six points. Then comes away fixtures that were won last season – Southampton and Watford – but could pose problems, with both sides in good form.
If Tottenham are to have any hope of staying involved in the title race then they need to go on a run of wins and quickly, but even that might not be enough, given Chelsea’s current form.
Take Antonio Conte’s side out of the equation and Spurs are in a decent position, with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all within touching distance. Yet Chelsea have not just got points on the board, but are building the sort of momentum that is tough to stop.
They have won their last nine games and with a festive fixture list that sees them play Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke before their trip to White Hart Lane on January 4th, it’s hard to envisage Tottenham closing the gap this side of 2017.
Having no European competition to distract them has been a huge benefit to Chelsea. They’ve a week to prepare for fixtures and have largely been free of injuries, so it’s no surprise to see them become the most coherent and settled side in the Premier League.
With a manager and players experienced at winning titles, it feels like Chelsea will need to suffer some misfortune if they are to be derailed. There needs to be injuries to key players, a long FA Cup run, or the mooted points deduction, to throw them off course. They’ve come close to dropping points in recent games against Spurs, Manchester City and West Brom, but having instead won all three, their belief is surely building.
The bookmakers certainly believe that Chelsea will win the title, with the Blues currently rated at evens in the betting on Premier League with William Hill – check out online odds. Tottenham are out at 25/1 which is probably a fair reflection of the club’s position right now.
There is still a chance, but it looks like an outside bet, though it looks better value than the 9/2 on offer for Manchester City or 7/1 for Liverpool.