Tottenham can go five points clear in EPL

By a strange quirk of fate, Tottenham, the last team to play in last week’s English Premier League fixtures, will be the first to play in the 10th round of action.

Following its 2-0 victory over Fulham, Tottenham went top of the table with 23 points, two ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal, and three ahead of Liverpool.

The club now has the opportunity to move five points clear at the top of the league before its rivals kick a ball, giving it a psychological edge.

Spurs’ manager Ange Postecoglou set a Premier League record after collecting 23 points from his opening nine matches – the most ever by a newcomer to the EPL.

Guus Hiddink and Mike Walker held the previous record of 22 points from their opening nine matches with Chelsea (2009) and Norwich (1992), respectively.

Many fans, including Tottenham supporters, had dismissed the Australian when he was named manager, but are now singing his praises.

Born in Nea Filadelfeia in Athens, Greece, Postecoglou’s family moved to Melbourne when he was five. It was there that he developed his love for sports.

He represented Australia four times, but a knee injury cut short his career when he was 27.

Postecoglou moved into management in 1996, winning titles with South Melbourne and Brisbane Road (Australia), Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan), and Celtic (Scotland), before moving south of the border.

He also coached the Australian Under-17 and Under-20 teams and guided the national team to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, and qualification to the 2018 World Cup.

So, is he the man to end Tottenham’s trophy and league drought?

The club’s last trophy was the 2008 League Cup, and you have to go way back to its double-winning season of 1960-1961 for its last league title.

The answer to the above question could be positive, given how well the players have responded without Harry Kane, who moved to Bayern Munich in the summer.

Postecoglou has forged a tight-knit group of players who ‘press’ their opponents right from the opening whistle, and Son Heung-min has rediscovered his scoring touch, netting seven times from the opening nine games.

The only worry is Tottenham’s lack of depth come the new year during the African Cup of Nations (Jan 13-Feb 11) and Asian Cup (Jan 12-Feb 10).

But if the players can continue responding to ‘Angeball’, the club’s long wait for silverware may end this season.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
SATURDAY
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham (3am)
Chelsea vs Brentford (7.30pm)
Arsenal vs Sheffield United (10pm)
Bournemouth vs Burnley (10pm)

SUNDAY
Wolves vs Newcastle (12.30am)
West Ham vs Everton (9pm)
Brighton vs Fulham (10pm)
Aston Villa vs Luton (10pm)
Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest (10pm)
Manchester United vs Manchester City (11.30pm)

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