They had scored just three times in their previous three Premier League matches but Tottenham Hotspur found their scoring boots at Villa Park on Wednesday, with Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick and Jermain Defoe netting his tenth league goal of the season to give Spurs a 4-0 away win over Aston Villa.
Of course, scoring four past Villa has to be seen in the context of Chelsea’s 8-0 drubbing of the same opponents on Sunday, but even so Andre Villas-Boas’ men are starting to put a good run of results together.
It is now six wins in eight for Spurs in all competitions – with a last-gasp loss to Everton their only defeat in this sequence.
With Tottenham in fourth position in the Premier League table, it is no wonder that AVB is noticeably less up-tight and jumpy than he was when his Chelsea ‘project’ was unravelling.
However, while Everton and West Brom are Tottenham’s closest challengers in the table, it is Arsenal who are fourth-favourites in the race to finish in the top four behind Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
The Gunners are three points behind their north London neighbours in the table but have a game in hand after their Boxing Day clash against West Ham was called off because of a Tube strike.
Arsene Wenger’s men are 19/20 to qualify for the Champions League group stage and 4/5 to finish in the top four, but with the Gunners still frustratingly inconsistent it could be Spurs who offer the better value.
AVB’s men are 29/20 to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League and 27/20 to finish in the top four, while Everton and West Brom are 7/2 and 33/1 to secure a top four spot respectively.