Redknapp puts heat on City

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Everton 0

WhiteHart Lane

With 18 games left, only goal different separates Tottenham Hotspur from second-placed Manchester United. Only three more points separates them from the lead. These are remarkable facts, given the nature of the Premier League. But, with every victory – last night they beat a good Everton side without ever looking like they might not – the authenticity, the reality of their title challenge becomes more obvious.

This routine win was meant to be the first game of Tottenham's season: back in mid-August, before the arrivals of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor, before the victory in the Luka Modric transfer saga, only for the local riots to intervene. Moved five months down the track, Tottenham met it with more momentum than any other team in the League would have. The victory, owing to a first-half goal from Aaron Lennon and a second-half strike from Benoit Assou-Ekotto was Spurs' 14th from their last 18 League games.

Harry Redknapp knows the strength of his team's position. "I've been saying all along that it's not impossible to win the title," he said afterwards. "It's difficult, but it's not impossible. It's very very hard, but we've got a chance, we're in there. That's all we can do."

Rather than inflating expectations, though, Redknapp is keen to focus on the immediate. "I don't ever look any further than just Wolves on Saturday," he insisted, "I couldn't tell you in all honesty the points totals of the teams behind us. I just worry about Wolves coming here on Saturday, that's all I'll be thinking about driving home tonight."

Events at the very top of the table cannot possibly have evaded Redknapp's attention, though. Manchester City are three points clear of Spurs but have lost three of their four games this month. Redknapp insisted that they were the team under the most strain: "I think the pressure's on Manchester City. You look at their squad, you look at the type of money they've been able to spend. People like [Sergio] Aguero, and [Edin] Dzeko, [Samir] Nasri. The wages and the money they've spent on players, they're expected to be there and win the championship – certainly them or Man United are red-hot favourites this year."

None of those sides is currently playing with the confidence and fluidity of Tottenham. At no stage last night did it look as if they would not emerge with the three points; a reliable an indicator of championship-form. Another indicator is the successful reintegration of players: Lennon and Michael Dawson returned for their first League starts since December and August respectively.

Injuries forced David Moyes into one of his more adventurous sides of the season: with two strikers and a midfield made up of Marouane Fellaini and three attacking players. Fellaini was good enough to make it difficult for Spurs though, diligent and vigilant throughout, storming into necessary tackles as Tottenham took 30 minutes to start making chances.

Spurs' rhythm eventually came. Their movement improved, and referee Martin Atkinson had to turn down two penalty appeals. A brilliant counter-attack, from Rafael van der Vaart to Gareth Bale to Adebayor, ended with the big centre-forward's touch betraying him in front of goal. Van der Vaart curled a first-time shot onto the roof of the net.

One minute later they were ahead. Assou-Ekotto played a long cross-field ball to Lennon, which Leighton Baines misjudged. Lennon took advantage, burst into the box and squeezed his shot under Sylvain Distin and into the corner.

With only a one-goal deficit, Moyes knew the game was still within reach. He switched Landon Donovan with Victor Anichebe, and the sharper movement nearly won them useful opportunities. The tempo needed to be consistent across the pitch, though, and it was not.

Midway through the second half Assou-Ekotto had the ball 40 yards from goal but faced no concerted effort to take it back from him. Under urging from Joe Jordan to shoot, he stepped forward and swung his foot through the ball, which deflected off Tim Cahill's behind and into the far top corner.

Royston Drenthe came on, and twice went down in the area, without reward. Redknapp was able to bring on Steven Pienaar and Roman Pavlyuchenko, as Spurs continued their pursuit.

Man of the match Assou-Ekotto.

Match rating 5/10.

Referee M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

Attendance 36,132.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam