By Chris Harris
After a dismal start to the season on and off the pitch, things are looking up for Tottenham. One defeat in 11 represents an almighty improvement on their autumn form and Spurs have scaled new heights in the past week with victories - and clean sheets - at Portsmouth and Manchester City. Arsenal fans will be disappointed but their local rivals look like staving off a relegation dogfight after all.
The reason for Spurs' resurgence? Juande Ramos. The new boss has made his presence felt since arriving from Seville and, although Martin Jol was loved by the White Hart Lane faithful, you sense he will be just another footnote if Ramos finally brings silverware to Arsenal's success-starved neighbours.
We spoke to James Callow of the Tottenham Journal for a Spurs perspective ahead of Saturday's North London derby at Emirates Stadium. Read on for his views on Tottenham's revival, the impact of Ramos, activity in the imminent transfer window and the tactical switches which have held Spurs in good stead.
THE STORY SO FAR
"Spurs have been very impressive for the last couple of weeks. The team came together quite well as soon as Ramos came in, although a couple of disappointing defeats showed that there was still work to be done. The defence was very poor but more recently some players who were looking poor have looked a lot better."
MAN OF THE MOMENT
"Ramos has made a huge impact. A lot of people felt sorry for Martin Jol and that was right, it was tough on him. But Ramos is the new man and he has already shown what a good manager he is. He has been very proactive on the touchline, making very good substitutions. Barely a game goes by when one of the decisions he makes during the game doesn't make a positive difference. A couple of times Spurs have had disappointing results but that was not for the want of trying on Ramos' part."
"I think it's easier to say which positions they are looking to strengthen and it is pretty much all positions with the exception of the strikers. Although they could always surprise me by selling Defoe and bringing in someone else. I'm not sure they will spend as much as some people expect. There has been talk of £40 million but I really don't think that's the case, they don't really need that. But they will bear in mind that Gareth Bale is out for three months, maybe longer, so they lack quality on the left-hand side. There is always the possibility that Spurs will buy a right back with Pascal Chimbonda's future not that certain. Probably above all else they need a defensive midfielder - Spurs have been crying out for one for some time now but it hasn't really been addressed. I think that will be the key signing."
CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM
"On different levels through the squad there have been some pronounced changes. Aaron Lennon had been underachieving for the last year of Jol's reign and although he did some outstanding things he seemed to stall slightly. As soon as Ramos came in there was a huge improvement in Lennon's game. Didier Zokora is a strange one because he was brought in as a defensive midfielder a couple of seasons ago and hasn't really justified that tag. But recently he's been playing centre half and he's done brilliantly. He has made a real difference. I wouldn't say anyone has particularly fallen out of favour but there seems to be certain players like Jamie O'Hara who have come through, perhaps at the expense of players like Teemu Tainio and Tom Huddlestone, who haven't had the game time they might have liked."
"Ramos hasn't come up against Wenger in the Premier League but he has come up against him in the Champions League and he didn't come off too well, losing 3-0 with Sevilla. But if you compare Jol and Ramos, Jol had definite qualities and was an excellent manager for Tottenham but Ramos is more proactive and you know that if Arsenal take the lead Ramos isn't just going to stick with the same approach. He can switch things and ironically for a man who speaks little English he gets his message across very well."