Tottenham’s title credentials face a thorough examination this weekend when they host Manchester City as the Premier League returns after the international break.
The Jose Mourinho-led Tettenham are just a point behind early pace-setters Leicester, but only three points separate the top six, with Chelsea and Aston Villa also having the chance to claim top spot for a few hours at least when they face Newcastle and Brighton respectively.
With the final international fixtures of the year done and dusted, a gruelling winter schedule of club football awaits for England’s top-flight with nine rounds of league matches before 2 January.
Defending champions Liverpool are already bearing the brunt of the hectic schedule as Jurgen Klopp’s squad has been ravaged by injury ahead of Leicester’s trip to Anfield.
Jose Mourinho’s men are unbeaten in seven league games, with the form of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min raising hope they could win the league for the first time in 60 years.
However, those title aspirations will be put to the test with City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester to come in their next six games.
City are languishing down in 10th, six points off the top but with a game in hand. A return of just 12 points from their opening seven games of the season is by far their lowest since Pep Guardiola arrived in Manchester five years ago.
Yet, after a difficult start caused by the lack of a pre-season, injuries, COVID-19 cases and a difficult run of fixtures, the trip to Tottenham will also be an indicator as to whether City have turned the corner.
Already rocked by the long-term injury to Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool’s defensive resources were further depleted over the international break with Joe Gomez ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is out for a further two weeks, while Jordan Henderson is an injury doubt after picking up a muscle strain on international duty.
Top scorer Mohamed Salah will also be missing for Leicester’s visit after testing positive for coronavirus while in Egypt.
Despite the disruption, the Reds could go back top of the table with victory on Sunday should Spurs not beat City.