Commentary: Hot time to be a hotspur
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 21:09
It has been a crazy time in the English Premier League. Manchester City beats Manchester United 4-1 in the first of two “Derbies” (the equivalent of the Yankees playing the Mets), only to then fall to Aston Villa, a team currently sitting in the Top 10, but only just, by a score of 3-2.
Meanwhile, my beloved Red Devils of Manchester United are currently languishing in 12th place in the league table, having suffered a 2-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion. It certainly isn’t a good time to be a fan in Manchester at the moment, that’s for sure.
But it is great to be a fan of any team from London, as three of the top four teams on the table, and therefore in contention for the Union of European Football Associations Champions’ League for 2014-15, are from the city on the Thames.
Arsenal leads the table from the one non-Londoner, Liverpool, while Tottenham Hotspur is ahead of Chelsea by two points, having tied them at the Blues’ Stamford Bridge. This is a big deal for Spurs fans, as Chelsea’s coach José Mourinho said Friday that Tottenham is a contender for the Premier League Championship.
That is a far cry from what my dad, a fervent Tottenham fan, and I thought earlier in the year. The Spurs have already lost their top player, Gareth Bale, one of the few soccer players other than the entirety of F.C. Barcelona’s offensive lineup of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Alexis Sánchez that I’ve seen my mother swoon over, to Real Madrid for $146.2 million. Bale was a goal-scoring machine for the Spurs, scoring 26 of them across all competitions, including three in European competitions.
Even without Bale, Tottenham is thriving, as it has amassed a 6-1-1 record in the Premier League, and has scored five goals this season. It has also defeated Aston Villa in Birmingham 4-0 in the English League Cup, one of the three major competitions in England.
To me, however, the bigger deal is the fact that the Spurs are kicking butt and taking names in Europe, a place where they have had some success, including the 1963 Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1972 and 1984 UEFA Cups.
This time around, they are playing for the UEFA Europa League, which grew out of the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. In the two-leg playoff round, Tottenham won 5-0 over Georgian team Dinamo Tbilisi in Tbilisi, and then won 3-0 at home in White Hart Lane. With the fan culture in Eastern Europe, it is very hard for other European teams to score one goal, let alone five. The Spurs have also beaten Norwegian team Tromø, 3-0, in London in the first fixture of the Europa League group stage.
It is looking good for Tottenham so far, and I hope it continues, as the squad is set for success. Last year, it felt like the Spurs marched right out of UEFA Champions’ League contention in the last 10 games of the year, eventually finishing fifth in the Premier League table.
This year, as much as I’d like to see Manchester United’s new coach, David Moyes, win the Premier League and continue the Red Devils’ success, I really hope it is Tottenham who wins the title. The Spurs, who have not claimed a First Division or Premier League title in 52 years, are doing great and have my tip for the victory.
Jack Cobourn is the sports editor at The Review. Please send any questions, comments and an EPL title for Tottenham to email@example.com.