Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have found their rhythm just in time to save their season

Sean Walsh
The mood is good at Tottenham again
The mood is good at Tottenham again / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
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From Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - It wasn't long ago that Antonio Conte was threatening to walk out on Spurs just a couple of months after arriving.

Tottenham's wildly inconsistent start to 2022 meant that the favourites to nab fourth place in the Premier League quickly became the chasers, dropping below north London rivals Arsenal in the standings.

The manner of the defeats were concerning too. Spurs were out-pressed by Southampton, outfought by Burnley, outwitted by Wolves, out-Cristiano Ronaldo'd by Manchester United.

Conte's uncertain future was casting a huge cloud over the club - it still is, really - but after three wins on the spin, Tottenham have resurrected their season just in time to stand a fighting chance of Champions League qualification.

Sunday's 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle did not get off to a flying start that the final scoreline would suggest. In fact, Eddie Howe's men remained resolute and limited their hosts to half-chances and pot-shots, with Ben Davies' header from a superb Son Heung-min cross to equalise the most they could muster.

But after the break, Tottenham clicked into gear as the game opened up. Harry Kane began his weekly orchestrating of the proceedings, setting up Matt Doherty's go-ahead goal before releasing Dejan Kulusevski in the lead up to the third. Emerson Royal (yes, really) notched in the fourth before substitute Steven Bergwijn rounded off the scoring.

The last couple of seasons at Spurs have seen Kane and Son have to shoulder almost all of the goalscoring workload, but Conte has finally succeeded in finding solutions in other areas. Sunday's strikes saw three defenders (at least by trade) get on the scoresheet.

Every attack in the second half felt like it was gonna end with the single-tiered Park Lane end sucking the ball into the net. Post-match, Conte praised Spurs' resilience for their emphatic response to going behind.

Club icon Micky Hazard insisted pre-match that the Italian has got the whole club united again and he's planted the seeds for a special project. That may be a touch premature, but this is at least a team that's almost perfectly in Conte's image, finding their form at an opportune time.

It was a statement victory that puts the pressure back onto Arsenal, and not just for how the league table looks now. While the Gunners have looked impressive on the ball for much of this season, they've been known to squeeze out wins rather than put them away.

By contrast, Tottenham have found a ruthless edge and look absolutely inevitable when playing in transition - a tactical aspect Gooners will be dreading come the rearranged north London derby. If the race comes down to goal difference, Spurs will certainly fancy their chances of edging ahead.

The last time that Tottenham were chasers in a top-four battle and succeeded was the 2009/10 season, the first time that they finished there in the Premier League era. Conte has consistently said that his side are the underdogs in this year's race, that such a finish would be near enough a miracle.

They're acting a lot more like frontrunners now, however.

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