Clearly the secret to success is to score a goal, get a man sent off and then score another. Or at least that's the tactic Spurs used to achieve impressive victories over Villa and Newcastle during the holiday period. There were so many positive signs in both games that it's hard to know where to start, but perhaps most impressive was the resilience shown by the team on each occasion when they were reduced to ten men.
Defoe's dismissal at Villa Park looked harsh to say the least, only one of a whole host of mistakes made by referee Martin Atkinson. There can't have been many officiating displays this season that have been so fussy and yet at the same time so full of errors. Younes Kaboul had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed, while Villa were allowed to kick lumps out of Spurs' creative midfielders. This trend continued in the Newcastle game, where if anything Smith, Tiote and Barton were given even more leeway to foul by another weak official. Newcastle could do little else when faced with van der Vaart, Bale, Lennon and the hugely impressive Luka Modric. The first three players mentioned may have scored the goals - and very good goals they were - but over the two games it was Luka Modric who caught the eye. Every Spurs move seems to flow through the Croatian and it is little wonder that his contributions have reportedly attracted Carlo Ancelotti, with Alex Ferguson waiting in the wings as a rival suitor. Thankfully, Harry Redknapp has moved to pour cold water on their interest:
"He is such a fantastic player, if we start selling such a player like that then we might as well all go home. He is a different class and is not going anywhere. Not a chance. He [Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti] might have his eye on him but he is not going to get him for sure. He is a pleasure to work with. He is a fantastic player. We are building a team here, not dismantling one."
Increasingly it is looking like the building process is now pretty far along. Modric, Bale and van der Vaart would walk into any team in the league. Players who have been up and down in terms of form - and that would include Lennon, as well as the likes of Palacios and Jenas - seem to be playing well. And players who should be moved on, like Keane and Bentley, now rarely appear. There has also been the tremendous news that Jonathan Woodgate's injury nightmare may finally be coming to an end. Although his immediate future may involve a loan period at another club, the prospect of regaining his commanding presence at the back is hugely encouraging.
Maybe it's not so crazy to start dreaming about winning the Premier League after all. Maybe Spurs don't actually need to spend any money in January. Maybe David Beckham will just have to make do with a spot on the bench at White Hart Lane.