After Tottenham Hotspur went unbeaten through their opening seven Premier League fixtures, there were many fans and pundits alike who felt this could be the season that the north London outfit made a legitimate charge at the title. While their only real test up until that point was against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in which they drew 2-2, Antonio Conte’s men had displayed enough promise and resilience to garner respect as league contenders.
However, their form since that seven-game unblemished streak has been inconsistent, with their 3-1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates being the first time they had tasted defeat all season. Despite heading into halftime deadlocked at one goal apiece, Tottenham were unable to keep pace with Arsenal’s second half onslaught, with goals to Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka ultimately proving the difference. To add insult to injury, Tottenham’s Emerson Royal received a red card in the 62nd minute for a dangerous challenge on Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli – ensuring Royal couldn’t return until their Gameweek 13 fixture against Newcastle United.
They managed to return to form and get themselves back in the winner’s column in the two fixtures following their loss to the Gunners however, besting Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton 1-0 and 2-0 respectively. That set up yet another mouthwatering clash with an in-form Manchester United squad, who were unbeaten in three of their previous four games – most notably of which included a convincing 3-1 victory against Arsenal.
It was a particularly interesting match-up as it provided a yardstick as to where each club was at just a month out from the international break for the Qatar World Cup. United were dominant, winning at Old Trafford 2-0 courtesy of second half goals to Fred and Bruno Fernandes.
Tottenham manager Conte spoke to the media after the game, alluding to the problems they have faced when coming up against the competition’s elite teams.
“We have to be honest and United deserved to win and deserved to get three points. They started the game very well and created chances to score,” he said.
“For sure not a good game for us but I have to be honest and first of all, especially with my players, this was not the first time for us, despite the table being good but every time we played a high-level game we struggled.
“We struggled against Chelsea because we drew after 92 minutes but Chelsea dominated the game and with Arsenal we lost and today against United we lost. For sure when the level is high, we are going to struggle.”
Their inability to rise to the occasion was evident once again in their 2-1 home loss to Newcastle United recently, raising questions as to whether the Spurs’ defensive-minded approach and reliance on counter-attacking efficiency is built for long-term success in the Premier League.
They will have the opportunity to get a signature win when they take on Liverpool at home on November 6th. The Reds have secured some big wins in recent weeks against league favourites Manchester City and a solid West Ham United side. Therefore, if the Spurs can break their drought against the elite sides and secure a win, it will go a long way to dispelling the opinions of those who feel they can’t challenge for the title this season.
In the Tottenham v Liverpool betting lines, Spurs are slightly less favoured at 19/10, while the Reds are at 5/4. A draw is garnering odds of 11/4.