When Manchester City arrived at White Hart Lane on Sunday there was a general feeling that their game against Tottenham could be Pep Guardiola’s toughest test thus far. And so it proved.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were full value for their 2-0 victory that should have everyone sitting up and taking notice.
But hang on a minute…haven’t we been here before?
Did Spurs not take Leicester almost all the way in last season’s Premier League title race only to fall at the last hurdle?
Not only were the north Londoners genuine contenders for the top prize but by common decree, their football was the best in the division, bar none.
A 4-0 demolition of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium in front of the TV cameras at the back end of 2015/16 only served to highlight just what a vibrant, well-drilled collective the Argentinian was moulding together. A result and performance that was repeated a few short weeks ago.
An ultimately disappointing end to last season was quantified by Pochettino’s assertion that his team had progressed quicker than he had expected but that more good times would be ahead. Everyone politely laughed and nodded in mock agreement.
Now, as the only unbeaten side in the Premier League with just three goals conceded, it’s about time Spurs should be taken seriously.
Still referred to by many commentators and pundits as ‘dark horses’ for the title, perhaps being labelled as perennial underdogs is a tag that suits the Lilywhites best.
After all, isn’t the pressure really on the likes of Messrs. Klopp, Conte, Mourinho and Guardiola?
Pep’s side had two thirds of the possession at White Hart Lane – obviously – but had less shots on goal, forced just one more corner than their opponents and won only two more tackles.
The Citizens may have had double the amount of dribbles (24-12) but not one was effective so it’s of little consequence.
Of course title talk is far too premature at this stage with only seven games played but Spurs are going places on a transfer budget that is shoestring compared to their nearest rivals.
In any event, Daniel Levy has finally seen the value in backing a manager’s judgement completely and in turn is being rewarded with the sort of football that was seen in the halcyon days of Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa et al.
This time a year ago, Spurs were sixth and five points worse off than they are now. Leicester were only below them on goal difference.
The trajectories of those two sides now is incredibly marked yet the north Londoners are still being touted as the outsiders of the pack.
Just you watch them go…