It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The riot at London before the new season at White Hart Lane and the bloated botch surrounding Luka Modric was compounded with ignominious defeats at the hands of two Manchester clubs in August, which in retrospection seems nothing more than an anachronistic omen. Five months have passed since. Spurs, proving all equation wrong, are back in the title race. On their crucial Premier League trip to Etihad, the Londoners hence are throwing some cautions in the wind.

It was not the start they wanted. Defeats against two potential title challengers would not have wrecked their morals, but the manner of humiliation was the real fly in the ointment. The entire summer was muddled with Luka Modricai??i??s transfer saga. Harry, Levy, North London wanted him to stay. Redknapp was confident that he would rectify the mistakes of last season, which made his side miss out on that elusive Champions League spot. But for that to happen, he needed his protagonist to pull the strings from behind. The need to soothe the determination of his most valued player to leave Spurs was the most onerous task at hand for the Englishman. The rest is just a fairy tale journey, so far.

Shrewd transfer business

Keeping Modric has been crucial for Spurs's great campaign

 

Once the assurance of loyalty was confirmed by the Croatian, Harry Redknapp didnai??i??t waste any time to sculpt the squad to his taste. The squad was already good enough. He further bolstered it. In a frantic summer, with Liverpool spending like a profligate, City and United as usual adding cherry to their already pricey cake, Arsene Wenger unprecedentedly buying players to save his own drowning castle, Spurs quite intelligently shipped some of their deadwoods (Palacios, Jenas, Crouch) and in return bought players who have hunger in their belly and can whet the appetite. He didnai??i??t go for marquee signings. He bought Scott Parker, writerai??i??s player of the year, from the relegated West Ham at a very cheap price. When all the big teams were uninterested for the 31-year-old, Harry felt that he had still a lot to offer. He tried everything to save West Ham, and Harry wanted him to encore the same commitment for Spurs. Likewise, he bought Manchester City outcast Emmanuel Adebayor on loan. They gelled instantly and results followed soon.

Perfect blend of experience & youth

With such additions, he added experience to a quality side. Parker and Adebayorai??i??s wealth of Premier League experience came in handy. Last season, towards the end, Spurs ran out of ideas and the pressure of finishing in the top 4 was getting on to their skins. Young players like Modric, Bale and Walker have become the backbone of this side, and the presence of seniors and experienced players like King, Van der Vaart, Gallas, Defoe, Parker and Adebayor have enriched the squad, which is on the verge of attaining perfection.

The avalanche of midfielders

The midfield of Tottenham Hotspur is arguably the best in the league. Not only do they possess a large squad with plenty of midfielders, but at the same time these players are top quality in their own right. Modric, Parker, Sandro, Huddlestone, Van der Vaart ai??i?? Spurs have so many options to choose from. Talents like Krankjar and Pienaar donai??i??t even find regular bench time for the club. Thereby, Spurs can rotate the squad very well without hampering the quality.

Strategy

Even now, when the team is fighting for the title, not a single player is swayed by the emotion while ruckus has been going on in press. Spurs are still adhering to their central strategy of winning matches against lower oppositions. Winning these ai???bread & butterai??i?? matches gives forth confidence and hence increases the chances for success

Scott Parker said the other day that he is just happy to be in the title race, and looking no further beyond that. Keeping things tight and simple is the mantra of Harry Redknapp. There comes the experience, as seniors are helping the team to stay focused keeping their feet on the ground.

The man behind Spurs's emergence as a real contender

Another important aspect is the strategy of playing as a team, which their rivals are failing to do. Arsenal and Liverpool, fellow top four contenders, have become a one-man show. They are heavily reliant on Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez respectively. Chelsea, on the other hand, are also struggling to play as a unit. Spurs are the perfect antidote, essaying the importance of teamwork for a marathon race.

Thus, the Citizens must be aware of the potent threat of Spurs when the two sides meet at Etihad on Sunday. The best thing about City is perhaps they have now started to believe that the squad can go all the way to claim the championship. There was never any doubt about the strength and depth of the squad, but the character of the team was a major talking point. And yet, they passed the acid-test with great adroit and aplomb. They were pretty ordinary against Liverpool, yet could come out with a 3-0 triumph. Manciniai??i??s side was not entertaining as well at the DW stadium, but a scrappy 1-0 victory was enough to keep them on their perch.

Perhaps this is the best time to play the league leaders; Spurs can close the gap within two points if they register a victory at Etihad. Certainly, there is no shortage of confidence. Speaking to BBC Football Harry Redknapp said:

“The pressure is on Man City [because of] their squad and the money they have been able to spend,”

“They are expected to be there and win. We are just hanging in there at the moment and playing well.”

All we can expect is a feisty affair. Finger wagging, waving imaginary cards may seem to be an offence for some but who cares when at the end of the day you outshine your probable rival within 8-point radius gap only in the month of January?

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