Spurs will take a life-size test on the English champions’ pitch on Wednesday.
Candidates for the title or not? English press and observers are torn apart over Premier League leaders Tottenham’s chances of playing for the title. Nothing like a trip to the holding Liverpool, Wednesday (21:00), to be clear. The question will obviously not be decided definitively on the 13th day, especially since the Spurs have the ascendancy over the Reds only on goal difference and that, behind, the hole is not made. But a little melody from 20 years ago still sometimes tickles the ears of London fans: “Spurs are lucky when the year ends in 1”.
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A song written in 1991 and performed by the team on their way to an FA Cup won by defeating the hereditary enemy and future champion, Arsenal (3-1), in a memorable semi-final played at Wembley rather than at White Hart Lane, the demand for tickets had been so high. With the 1901 and 1921 British Cups, then 1981 and 1991, the 1971 League Cup, the first league title in 1951 and the double in 1961, the twentieth century had been generous for the “Lilywhites” during its years. “In 1”, even if there were also victories in 1962, 1967 and 1982 in the FA Cup and 1973, 1999 and 2008 in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Mourinho is not superstitious
At the end of last season already, while Tottenham was on an upward slope, José Mourinho had been teased by the press on this subject. “I am not superstitious. I’m probably one of the few in football who isn’t superstitious, ”he replied. “But I think we have a chance to be successful next season. And when I say success, I’m not talking about a just fun or successful season. When I say success, I mean I want to bring home a medal, ”he continued.
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Despite a very busy start to the season with the preliminary rounds of the Europa League, Tottenham has placed itself on a good momentum, with almost flawless recruitment this summer and an unstoppable Harry Kane-Son Heung-min duo. The two friends have already combined on 11 of the 24 goals scored by their team in the league and could become before the end of the season the most prolific duo in the history of the Premier League, ahead of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard for Chelsea with 36 goals, five more than them since playing together. The unpredictability of a championship turned upside down by the Covid-19 did the rest and the title race seems open as never before in England.
A workforce “not good enough”?
Some believe, however, that Spurs’ success may not last and that José Mourinho, despite the impact he has had on the team, will return home empty-handed at the end of the season, or at least without the league title. . “He’s been successful before, his CV is fantastic. But I don’t think the players he has at Spurs are good enough to win the title, ”said the former Mancunian Roy Keane, after a tasteless draw (0-0) at Chelsea at the end of November. “I think they are gone for a very good season, but a very good season, it’s very different to play the title,” he continued.
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The game against Liverpool will be an important test, as revealing of the dreams that Spurs can entertain as of what remains of the Reds’ domination in this championship. Jürgen Klopp’s men are 10 points less than last year at the same stadium and have already dropped 11 points against 15 over the whole of last season, despite a somewhat freewheeling end to the championship. Suffice to say that a victory against Tottenham would be welcome to restore the defending champion a little of his lost authority.