Just when you think you’re in the midst of a title race Tottenham go and blow it to a team on paper they should thump.
Football is a funny old game and from being in with a chance of moving just three points behind pace setters Liverpool on Saturday afternoon, to realising that come Saturday night you are nine points behind the Reds, you quickly understand that fine margins make big differences and one slip up can prove costly.
However, there is still much of the season left and January more than any other month of the football calendar this season will show Tottenham’s credentials not just for this season, but for next also.
That is because in the space of 31 days, the Lilywhites will come up against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea twice (in the League Cup semi-final), Cardiff, Fulham, Watford, and Tranmere.
Admittedly, the trip to Tranmere’s Prenton Park in the third round of the FA Cup is hardly one to get the nerves going but it is still an away test and fixture clog Mauricio Pochettino would rather do without.
The truth is, the title is probably not a realistic target, but third spot is and with that comes the Champions League.
The match against a resurgent Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær will prove an entirely different prospect from when the Lilywhites inflicted that comfortable 3-0 victory over a demotivated Red Devils at Old Trafford in late August and will show whether or not Spurs can back up early season promise by beating an equal when the field is somewhat levelled.
The Premier League aside, Pochettino needs to win a trophy with Tottenham and the League Cup poses the best chance of short term success but they will need to navigate a two-legged affair with Chelsea in order to make it to, er, Wembley where they will no doubt face Manchester City.
However, a tough battling Cardiff, scraping Fulham, and unpredictable Watford will prove no easy tasks either as Spurs are susceptible to the odd slip up.
Come the end of January, Spurs could be on the major trophy trail with the latter stages of the FA Cup, Champions League to look forward to whatever happens and a League Cup final place in the bag.
The glory is there for the taking but on the flip side it could all be over as well (expect the Champions League of course).
Has Mauricio Pochettino ever faced such a career defining month in charge of Spurs?
Probably not but we for one are backing the boys to come good and lay the foundation for a remarkable second half to the 2018/19 season in all competitions.