The pattern of Tottenham's 2015-16 season is starting to repeat itself

They peaked at about this stage last season, although their run of wins has started a little earlier this time

BY Raf Diallo 19:00 Monday 16 January 2017, 19:00 16 Jan 2017

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates with the match ball for scoring a hat trick after the final whistle with Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli (left). Picture by John Walton EMPICS Sport

With the Premier League returning to a much more conventional style of title challenger, this season is a marked contrast to a 2015-16 season when Leicester City were able to defy all expectations and win the title.

Like last season though, Tottenham remain very much in the mix for not only a Top 4 place but even a title shot.

With Chelsea holding a seven point gap over both Spurs and Liverpool after 21 games, there is a possibility that Harry Kane and co have left it too late.

But as the North London club showed when they beat Chelsea 2-0 on January 4th and ended the Blues' winning run at 13 games, there could well be more forks on the road.

The way things are going, Tottenham are certainly moving through the gears. Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of West Brom is their sixth victory on the trot since the 1-0 defeat to a resurgent Manchester United in mid-December.

Already solid at the back, as they were for much of last season, they have the best defensive record of any team this season, conceding just 14 goals in their 21 games and scoring well at the other end now that Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and co are clikcing.

Interestingly, the form they are showing at present has some echoes of last season's form in terms of the pattern of the peaks and throughs. Similarly to this season, Tottenham made a relatively slow start as they drew too many games, doing so in eight of their first 15 games last season.

Christian Eriksen

Over that run of games this season, Spurs drew six times, although they did lose one extra game in comparison.

This season, the goals and wins have really started to flow since mid-December, similarly to the last campaign when a 2-1 home loss to Newcastle sparked a three-game winning run starting with a 2-0 victory at Southampton on December 19th 2015.

Apart from a blip just after New Year's 2016 where they drew with Everton and lost at home to Leicester City, January and February was kind to Spurs who racked up six straight wins from January 16th 2016 to February 28th, scoring 15 goals during that run.

It was after that point that results dropped away slightly before an implosion of sorts at the end of the season, following chastening draws with West Brom and Chelsea in May of last year.

Given that it is exactly a year on from the start of the peak point of Tottenham's season last term and the fact that they have already been hitting blip-free heights since mid-December, the upcoming match at Manchester City on Saturday will give us a gauge of how long this peak could last.

If it can run into late February without any setbacks, then there is every chance that Spurs will have a huge say in the title race, before any future troughs hit.

As ever in football, unexpected challenges will be posed. How they deal with the Europa League when they enter the competition at the last-32 stage against Belgium's Gent, is still to be seen; a "bad" ankle injury to key centre back Jan Vertonghen disrupts an excellent all-Belgian partnership with Toby Alderweireld; a trip to Liverpool also awaits on February 11th.

On their side, a young side is a full 12 months older than last season's encouraging showing and with more experience in their minds and legs.

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