On the face of it, it has been an excellent few weeks for Tottenham Hotspur football club. Whilst they have progressed through the last 16 of the Europa League and extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to ten games, their rivals have struggled, and Arsenal in particular have seen their season collapse around them.
However after last year, every Spurs fan will know that nothing is guaranteed at this stage, and with Arsenal expected to rally in the last few weeks of the season, Spurs will have to be on top form themselves to seal a Champions League place.
Having won three and drawn two of their last five matches in all competitions, Spurs might be able to say that they are in good form. However those results have relied heavily on Gareth Bale and late goals, with the pattern of play not usually dominated by Tottenham. There are sterner tests to come in the next few weeks, and relying on a mistake or a moment of magic to get a goal will likely not be enough.
In those five games Gareth Bale has scored every one of Spurs’ goal but one, with Dembele's late strike against Lyon the first from another player since the 27th January. Spurs have looked blunt throughout the matches they have played, with Dembele and Parker not producing a lot of creativity in the middle of the park, and Adebayor either absent or out of form up front.
To get the results they need in the upcoming matches with their top four rivals Adebayor will be a key figure, and so perhaps will be Lewis Holtby as if they can't muster more threat in the closing weeks of the season, Spurs will struggle to get the wins they need. Bale is unlikely to carry this kind of form through to the summer, and other players in the side need to stand up when he cannot. It was encouraging that Dembele did so against Lyon, but for most of the match Spurs were poor against an organised defence.
For all their recent success, Spurs need to improve vastly, especially in the first half of matches, to claim a Champions League spot, and Monday night's trip to West Ham will give a clear indication of whether they can do that.
image: © andybrannan