THE BLOG

Spurs Suddenly Spring to Life Thanks to Homegrown Heartbeat

01/12/2014 17:45 GMT | Updated 31/01/2015 10:59 GMT

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Nabil Bentelab formed the heartbeat of the team alongside Kane and Mason. Illustration by Richard Swarbrick.

Imagine a self-proclaimed soothsayer had gone up to a Tottenham fan outside White Hart Lane on Sunday before kick off and predicted the following: 'Spurs will come out of the tunnel looking energised and motivated only to go behind to an early Everton wonder-strike. But they'll rally quickly to equalise and then go 2-1 up before half time. They'll spend the second half putting on a text book display of how to protect a lead, conceding little or no actual chances and looking threatening on the break thanks to impressive organisation, total commitment and no little flair. And they'll run out deserved winners'.

No doubt the listening Spurs fan would have grinned wryly. But if this mystical profit had then added 'oh and the winning goal will be a clinical striker's finish from Roberto Soldado' he would surely have been chinned on the reasonable assumption that he was a sarcy Arsenal fan amusing himself on an undercover wind-up mission.

And yet the poor sod would have been entirely correct in his prediction. It really happened. Tottenham really were that good on Sunday.

Post match reflections this season have mostly been about trying to identify someone to blame. Now we find ourselves asking, why did it suddenly go so right? The main architect was Christian Eriksen, the only ever-present outfield player in the Premier League team this term. Up front the always willing Roberto Soldado repayed the confidence recently shown in him by rediscovering his sharpness. A resurgent Aaron Lennon provided pace and endeavour on the wing. The back four were 'at it' throughout - even the much maligned Fazio looked solid. (Alright, Chiriches was doing his best accident-waiting-to-happen act but he was withdrawn before the catastrophe actually occurred). And captain Hugo Lloris, though largely untroubled, was his usual imperious presence.

But it was at the centre of the team that the tempo and the mood was really set by the homegrown triumvirate of Bentelab, Mason and Kane. Of all the players in this current squad these are the ones whose commitment is beyond question, their glee at playing in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur manifest in everything they do. Sunday was the first time the three of them started together and their collective will-to-win constituted the throbbing heartbeat of the team. And it was infectious - even the usually detached Paulinho looked revved up when he came on for the last ten minutes.

So has Pochettino finally hit on the right formula? Has the absence of Adebayor, Dembele and others purged Tottenham of its torpor? The fans won't be counting any chickens, but Bentelab, Mason, Kane and Eriksen have an average age of 21 so at the very least this newly constructed nucleus has promise.

Perhaps it's sod's law that three days after they've finally put together a good performance Spurs have to go to Chelsea who look more or less unbeatable. On the other hand, maybe this is exactly the right time to visit Stamford Bridge. All the travelling support will ask for is more of the same in terms of application and spirit. Anything beyond that, like an actual point, will be regarded as a bonus. Beyond Wednesday, the outlook suddenly looks a bit sunnier.