Spurs mixing it with the big boys

Steven Pienaar’s decision to move to Tottenham rather than Chelsea is yet another indication that Spurs must be considered as not only a genuine big club, but also as bona fide title contenders. There have been other signs of course, plans to move to the 2012 Olympic stadium once the athletes have had their fun next summer means they could soon have the sort of income from gate receipts that will allow them to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe.

The encouraging 0-0 stalemate against title favourites Manchester United last week was a sign that their players are finally accepting the mantle of responsibility which inevitably comes with their spiralling wage bills. In short, Spurs can no longer consider themselves anything other than a new member of the ‘Big Five’.

Of course, five into four simply does not go, and as a result it looks as though one of Spurs, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United will be disappointed come the end of the season, but finally the myth of an insurmountable monopoly in the Premier League has been dispelled and the football betting reflects this.

There are a number of reasons why Spurs deserve to finish in the top four, thereby qualifying for Europe’s premier competition – and it would appear that Steven Pienaar for one certainly sees the club as strong favourites to repeat the feat which many thought may be just beyond them last season. He joins a midfield which, blessed with the likes of Bale, Lennon, Huddlestone, Modric and Kranjcar, is already amongst the strongest in the league.

Already this season – most notably in their home victory over current European champions Inter Milan – they proved that they are good enough to mix it with the best, and it would be a great surprise not to see them qualify once more. The football predictions always suggested this season would be tough, but so far the side have risen to the challenge.

At the start of the season, Redknapp stated a top-four finish as their priority and given how much money they have spent, it may well have just become a prerequisite – as Leeds United’s fans will tell you, it’s a long way to fall if you miss out just once.