JERMAINE JENAS EXCLUSIVE: Spurs should aim for the Premier League title

Jermaine Jenas
JERMAINE JENAS EXCLUSIVE: Spurs should aim for the Premier League title
JERMAINE JENAS EXCLUSIVE: Spurs should aim for the Premier League title

It was almost a complete performance from Spurs at the Emirates. The combination of Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele in midfield was too powerful and too quick for Arsenal to deal with. But the person who deserves the most credit is Pochettino.

Spurs have always been a pressing side under the Argentine, but I don't think I've ever seen them press so high up the pitch, even at home. I've also never seen the Gunners dominated like that at the Emirates. Not only did they not have a kick, they almost looked scared. They seemed shocked by how fit and strong Spurs were all over the park, and it's a testament to Tottenham's training. Pochettino's methods are really kicking in. Like Arsenal, Spurs had three games in seven days, including playing on Monday and Thursday, but they were by far the fitter side.

That's due to a combination of having youth in the side and Pochettino's tough training regime. A lot of the players are starting to feel the benefits of it. Kyle Walker, for example, was outstanding against Arsenal - he was an animal - and he's looking every bit England's best right-back at the moment. Dele Alli, a 19-year-old playing in a fierce north London derby, looked like he was playing in his back garden. Even Erik Lamela was running and harrying non-stop - he won more tackles for Spurs than any player on the pitch.

Tottenham's training would have been light during the actual week, because they played so many games, but everything leading up to it has prepared them for weeks like this - all the way back to pre-season. It will be the same over Christmas. And when you have young lads, as Tottenham do, by training hard they become conditioned to playing without even thinking about tiredness. Some of Tottenham's players are young enough that they won't even need to warm up before training. When you have a spring in your step like that, it's a huge advantage when the games come thick and fast. Compare that to someone like Per Mertesacker, who is coming to the end of his career, and playing against Bayern Munich in the week clearly had an effect on him.

Tottenham's key player for me is Christian Eriksen. For Spurs to really mount a challenge they need him to stay fit. He has given them creativity since coming back into the side. Other teams fear him and his delivery is on the money every time. He could add a few more goals to his game, but he's the one who can take them to that next level in the way that Luka Modric did when I was at Spurs.

That team was set up very differently, with speed down the wings, and I think our team would have given this one a very good game, but I think this Spurs side is built to go further in European competition. It doesn't have players of the stature of Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart, but Bale and Modric blossomed and became those players by virtue of playing in the Champions League. Players like Eriksen and Harry Kane can also grow by playing in Europe’s top competition.

As for Arsenal, they had a terrible week and that was partly due to injuries. Their entire right side of Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey was missing against Spurs. Ramsey was a particularly big miss as he's the fittest and probably the hardest-working player in the team. Also, because he's not a natural winger he provides an extra body in midfield, as well as being a threat down the right.

Harry Kane has rediscovered his form in front of goal after this season's early blip. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Harry Kane has rediscovered his form in front of goal after this season's early blip. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The current situation must be annoying for Arsenal fans because it happens every season, and the only person who doesn't seem to expect it is Arsene Wenger. You can have sympathy for a team like Bournemouth because of their bad luck with injuries, but at Arsenal you can almost guarantee that the likes of Ramsey and Jack Wilshere will get injured, but Wenger never seems to prepare for it. He's turned to young players in the past, but at the moment I don't think he's happy with the quality of players coming through.

Spurs won every battle, every tackle and every header on Sunday and the only downside for Pochettino is that they didn't finish off the Gunners. That's the next step in Spurs' progression. Pochettino needs to get the mentality into his players' heads that they are a top side who could actually win the league, rather than just finish fourth.

They're only five points off the top. Man City are looking strong, but it's not like Chelsea last season, or Manchester United in years gone by, where you think they can't be caught.

You're almost better off targeting the league title rather than fourth place because even if you fall just short, you'll be up there in the top four anyway. Chelsea and Liverpool are going through tricky periods, while there's no way in a million years that the Spurs players will be scared of Man Utd. We all know the Christmas period is a crucial part of the season, and Spurs look so strong and well-prepared going into it. So I think internally the Spurs players will be thinking, why not go for the title.

Tottenham's League Cup final appearance against Chelsea: just the beginning for the north London club? (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Tottenham's League Cup final appearance against Chelsea: just the beginning for the north London club? (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)