By Georgina Turner
April 20, 2010

How the crowing must be reverberating around London's N17 postcode, the home of Tottenham Hotspur and 36,000 fans who don't know whether to stock their medicine cabinet with uppers or downers these days. One minute they're having to cope with defeat to Sunderland and a muted reverse at the hands of Portsmouth in the FA Cup semifinal, the next they've secured spine-tingling 2-1 wins over beloved neighbors Arsenal and old chums Chelsea.

One thing they do know is that this is not a gloating opportunity to be wasted; in 35 Premier League encounters with Arsenal, Spurs only won five times and the last came in November 1999. Tottenham had beaten Chelsea more recently (last season in fact), but last Saturday's victory was still only its third win in 17 years.

There's more at stake here than bragging rights as Spurs edge closer to Champions League qualification. Spurs' performances against Arsenal and Chelsea combined flair and gallantry, exuberant yet disciplined. Chelsea might easily have been beaten by five or six goals, but for some errant finishing. It takes longer than a week -- and more than two performances -- to become world-beaters, but there were signs of a promising cohesion of talent and spirit. "From the disappointment last week to turning round the performances this week is top class," said Spurs manager Harry Redknapp.

Whether this run can continue at Old Trafford this weekend remains to be seen -- Manchester United are dreadfully mean hosts and Tottenham has not passed a pleasant afternoon there since 1989. Moreover, Spurs fans are more accustomed than most to the sight of a false dawn; rousing themselves to beat rivals with a superiority complex is an altogether different exercise to routinely asserting themselves against opponents with greater energy, if not skill.

However, regardless of whether Spurs can continue this run, this will be the first summer in a long time that a Tottenham manager will have a shopping list he can scribble on the back of his hand. The club has laid out more than $300 million on players in the last four years (net spend around $100 million), but now finds itself only one or two names short of a potent squad.

One of those signings will be a striker who can lead the line effectively in a 4-5-1, the formation that Redknapp has identified to push Spurs toward the kind of defensive prudence that allows Manchester United and Chelsea to challenge year in, year out. None of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Robbie Keane offers the gameplay of United's Wayne Rooney or the robustness of Chelsea's Didier Drogba. Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko has apparently caught Redknapp's eye as the solution.

Only pruning is really required in a midfield chock-full of talent that has Brazil's Sandro on the way, but the back line needs a new face, preferably on the right side. Kyle Walker, Vedran Corluka and Younes Kaboul have all played in that position this season, but each looked as shaky as the other; Corluka and Kaboul are best used as cover in the center, where Michael Dawson (described by Redknapp as "absolutely brilliant" after last week) and Sebastien Bassong have drastically diminished the impact of Ledley King's frequent absences and the disappearance altogether of Jonathan Woodgate.

Behind them in goal, Heurelho Gomes has grown and grown this season, an elastic shot-stopper and far better positionally than his predecessor, Paul Robinson. It is no coincidence that the Spurs are on course to concede fewer goals than ever in a Premier League season.

Arsenal, on the other hand, has now conceded its highest tally in eight years, and has two keepers in Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski to make supporters weep on sight. While Spurs have bounced back improbably from relinquishing fourth spot to Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, Arsenal has fumbled an excellent shot at the title. From being only two points behind the leaders toward the end of March -- when the gap has been anything between six and 25 points in the last six years -- Arsene Wenger's side will finish the season clinging onto third.

The reaction to Arsenal's lack of stamina -- there have been some whispers about sacking Wenger -- is perhaps amplified by the sting of defeat at White Hart Lane and a stunning 3-2 reverse to Wigan on Sunday, but the club has still had a better season than last. However, it is increasingly clear that admiration for Wenger's spendthrift approach is stretched as thin as his young squad. Arsenal fans are keen to see the club's cash spent on proven players. Potential has an expiration date, and this summer may well be it for a number of Wenger's young projects.

"We were maybe not investing because we built the stadium," Wenger told reporters last weekend. "But our financial situation is now becoming stronger and we will be capable of buying the players we need to buy." Reinforcement is needed throughout the spine of Arsenal's squad, and the services of Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh have already been secured. Now, top of the list will be a world-class goalkeeper. Wenger may have refused to blame Fabianski for Wigan's equalizer on Sunday, but neither he nor Almunia is of adequate caliber for a title contender. Joe Hart's name has been mentioned, though City will surely feel reluctant to sell to Arsenal.

As a side note, it's only right to tip our caps to Wigan. Starting the weekend just four points clear of the drop zone, Roberto Martinez's team was under pressure even before Arsenal helped themselves to a two-goal lead. Despite the received wisdom being that relegation battles require a good old defensive scrap, Wigan lacked no courage going forward throughout the game. Having been invited back into the competition with Ben Watson's hammered drive, Titus Bramble and Charles N'Zogbia took their chances with gusto to secure an astonishing 3-2 comeback win, with all three of its goals coming in the final 11 minutes. "That's why you're in football," Martinez smiled to the cameras afterward.

Yet another clean sheet to report for Marcus Hahnemann, as Wolves claimed a crucial point against Fulham. Clint Dempsey was forced to sit out the match with a thigh injury and is unlikely to recover in time for Fulham's meeting with Hamburg in the Europa League semifinal on Thursday. ... Jozy Altidore started on the bench for Hull and struggled to make an impact having come on for the last 15 minutes. His team did well to hold Birmingham to a 0-0 draw at home, but it may not be enough to escape relegation. ... There wasn't much Brad Friedel could do to keep out Michael Brown's strike for Portsmouth, but Villa came out on top with a 2-1 win in any case; its chances of fourth are no better, but no worse. ... Tim Howard conceded two and still got away with it, making four saves as Everton beat Blackburn 3-2.

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