Tottenham Hotspur raise pressure on Chelsea in Premier League title hunt
Tottenham Hotspur are the best team in the Premier League right now, according to Antonio Conte, and it's hard to disagree. Spurs made it seven straight wins with a 4-0 hammering of Bournemouth, and that, coupled with Chelsea's loss, means they pull to within four points of the top, with six games to go.
Most impressive, perhaps, is the balance in Mauricio Pochettino's side. They have kept four clean sheets during the aforementioned run, while scoring an average of more than three goals a game. What's more, they showed the mental strength to overcome Harry Kane's injury, and when he returned, reintegrated him without missing a beat.
Inevitably you wonder whether Tottenham can pull off what would be an extraordinary comeback and win the title. If you're a glass-half empty type of person, you might point to their run and suggest they beat a bunch of teams with nothing to play for.
Stoke City, Southampton, Burnley and Watford were all in that midtable "dead zone" between ninth and 13th, where nothing much happens this time of year: Too far away from both the Europa League places and the relegation zone to really get up for it. Bournemouth were 16th but, given the gap between them and the drop zone is seven points, they too are pretty safe.
The exceptions were Everton, against whom Spurs needed a wild finish and an injury-time goal to win 3-2, and Swansea City, where having trailed for well over an hour, they somehow scored three times after the 88th minute.
Still, you can only beat what's in front of you, and the run-in will offer a much sterner test to Pochettino and Co., starting with three straight London derbies. On either side of Arsenal on April 30, Spurs meet Crystal Palace and West Ham. Both may be safe, but there is a genuine rivalry between the clubs.
Those games are followed by the visit of Manchester United, who presumably will still be chasing a top-four spot. Then there is a visit to Leicester City before a final-day trip to Hull City, who might need points to ward off relegation.
It's a nasty run-in, but all Tottenham can do is continue to turn the screws on Chelsea, while hoping that last season's collapse was a learning opportunity.
To read more of Gabriele Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week, click here.