Tottenham Top Crowdless Table As Fans Prepare For Return
Football supporters in England were handed an early Christmas present when it was announced on Monday that Premier League grounds could soon be permitted to reopen their turnstiles.
It will be the first time fans will be allowed to attend games since March 9 when Leicester beat Aston Villa 4-0 in front of a crowd of 32,125 at the King Power Stadium.
Days later, Covid-19 forced a suspension to the Premier League until it was safe to resume the season behind closed doors in June.
Behind the scenes, authorities have been working hard to ensure spectators can return safely to Premier League grounds and the latest development will bring some cheer in what has been a challenging year for many.
The Government announced that a maximum of 4,000 fans will be allowed to attend outdoor sporting events in low-risk areas when the current lockdown ends on December 2.
In the second tier, up to 2,000 spectators will be allowed into grounds in the hope that more supporters will be able to attend matches in the coming weeks and months.
The news will be welcomed by all Premier League clubs who will have missed out on matchday revenue as a result of the pandemic that has affected sport worldwide.
While football fans may have gotten used to seeing their favourite team play in empty grounds, they will hope they can be among the chosen few to step back into stadiums when the gates reopen.
For some teams, they will welcome back their supporters as their form suggests they play better with spectators cheering them on inside the grounds.
However, for teams like Tottenham, they have been doing very well playing in front of empty stands.
Jose Mourinho's side averages more points per game played behind closed doors than any other side in the Premier League with 2.11.
Points Per Game Behind Closed Doors
Of the 18 league games Tottenham has played since lockdown, Mourinho's men have lost just two to help lift them to the top of the table.
Nobody will be happier to see Spurs at the top than Mourinho who is rebuilding his managerial reputation after being sacked at Chelsea and Manchester United in his previous two jobs.
Mourinho shot to fame in 2004 as Porto manager when he famously darted down the touchline after knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League at Old Trafford en route to the Portuguese club's one and only European Cup triumph.
One week later, Chelsea were looking for a manager to replace Claudio Ranieri who led the Blues to second spot in the Premier League behind Arsenal's 'Invincibles' and Mourinho was the perfect fit.
Mourinho, who called himself the 'Special One' when he was introduced to the media, immediately brought glory to Stamford Bridge by winning back-to-back league titles in his first two seasons in charge.
The Portuguese had the Midas touch and that continued when he took over at Inter where he won the Serie A title in the two seasons he was at the San Siro.
And when he replaced Manuel Pellegrini as Real Madrid manager in May 2010, he added a La Liga title in his second season in the Spanish capital.
It meant he had won a league title in each of his second seasons at Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.
Tottenham's board must have realised a good manager like Mourinho does not become a bad one overnight and clearly believed he had the qualities to make Spurs title contenders.
This is Mourinho's second season in charge of Spurs after replacing Mauricio Pochettino last November.
In seven of the eight domestic titles Mourinho has won, his teams had 20 points or more from their opening nine matches.
Mourinho's Title Winning Seasons After Nine Games
|Campaign||Team||Points After 9 Games|
With 20 points on the board, Tottenham travel to Chelsea on Sunday in what could be each team's final game to be played behind closed doors.
The resurgence of Spurs saw their title odds reduce from 8/1 to 5/1 after they beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday and victory at Stamford Bridge this weekend will see those odds reduce further.
If Tottenham do go on to win the title, it will end a 60-year wait since Danny Blanchflower led the north London side to a historic double in the 1960/61 campaign.
But there is plenty of football left to play and with just three points separating Tottenham and Southampton in fifth place, this could be one of the most competitive leagues in recent years.
Southampton have lost just three of their 18 games played since lockdown ended and their supporters will hope they can continue their revival under Ralph Hasenhuttl when they are allowed back in to watch matches at St Mary's.
Saints, who drew 1-1 at Wolves on Monday night, know it could easily be them at the top of the table had they beaten Spurs on September 20 when Son Heung-min scored four times as Tottenham won 5-2 on the south coast.
With three quarters of the season left to play, there are so many storylines to follow and Southampton and Tottenham will be glad they are in those conversations.
But the topic that will feature in a lot of debates in the coming weeks and months will be whether Mourinho can keep Spurs in the mix and win another title in his second season in charge?
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