The Premier League title race is contested between five horses, according to former Arsenal star Paul Merson, with one of those stallions being the ex midfielder's local rivals Tottenham Hotspur because, if the Lilywhite North Londoners are able to put together seven victories - starting this weekend when they travel to Norwich City on Sunday, February 23 - then they will be firmly in contention for the crown.
Domestically, Spurs are on a good run in February. Slayed 5-1 by Manchester City at White Hart Lane on January 29, Tottenham have since bounced back to claim a point at Hull City before defeating both Everton and Newcastle United. They suffered a hiccup in Ukraine on Thursday, losing 1-0 to FC Dnipro, but Merson believes they will win another three Premier League points at Carrow Road, potentially creating more distance over sixth place Everton and keeping them close to the top four pack.
'The fact Tim Sherwood left so many players out of his Europa League squad shows that he knows they have a real chance of getting in the top four,' said Merson, 45, a pundit with Sky Sports. 'They've been on a roll and are only three points behind Liverpool and six behind Arsenal, so it's opened up for them.
'Nobody has mentioned them really but I think any of the current top five can still win the title. If any of the top five can put seven wins in a row together then they will win the league - and that includes Spurs.'
Currently 16th in the division, Norwich have only one won from their previous ten league matches with Tottenham and, under the guidance of Tim Sherwood, have accumulated 23 points since he began his tenure (only Jose Mourinho at Chelsea has tallied more - 24 - in the same time-span).
Part of Tottenham's renaissance has been the individual form of Togolese front-man Emmanuel Adebayor, who has scored or assisted 14 goals from his last 17 matches in the division. Maligned under previous manager Andre Villas-Boas, Adebayor has been ruthless in front of goal since returning to the first team and has netted eight times from 13 shots on target thus far this season.
If Spurs are to A: defeat Norwich and B: go on to notch a further six wins, Sherwood will need Adebayor to maintain his hot streak so that Spurs can continue tallying the points.
Concluded Merson: 'It will be an amazing achievement if they can do that because it really should be between Man City and Chelsea when you look at the squads.'
image: © OliverN5