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A Premier League season like this may never be seen again.

A little over a year ago, Leicester City sat rock bottom of the table and were all but set for a quick return to the second tier.

Tottenham's evolution cannot be overlooked in unpredictable 2015-16They are now five points clear at the summit with only seven games left to play. It is not the usual contenders who are pushing them at the top either. Tottenham Hotspur are their nearest competitors for the crown and have gone through a similar transformation to enjoy a stellar campaign.

Despite critics predicting their fall at every turn this year, overhauling the high-flying Foxes is not going to be an easy task. Leicester has a healthy gap between themselves and second place. They are well drilled, disciplined, tenacious and wiry. They have shown the ability to blitz teams from the first minute, as well as expertly closing out tight games. They certainly have the temperament of champions. It is going to be a difficult run-in, even bitter rivals Arsenal cannot be counted out of the race.

This season is a rare opportunity for Spurs to win their first title since 1961. A chance like this does not come around very often and to finish above so many of the traditional giants of England and only be beaten by Leicester would be a big blow.

Following their professional and clinical dismantling of an in-form Bournemouth, who have the third best points return in the league since December, Tottenham faces a defining fortnight. First they travel to Anfield to battle Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, before they host Manchester United. Come out of that with six points and the momentum might just take them all the way to the Premier League title.

But even if the Spurs are unable to catch Claudio Ranieri’s side, all the progress they have made over the past 12 months should not be overlooked. The club have set themselves up to replicate their successful campaign this time around for years to come.

With Mauricio Pochettino at the helm, the North Londoners finally have a philosophy to build around. It is something they have been trying to capture for so long in order to compete with the big boys and their cash and it is only going to get harder next year with Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte all set to compete in the Premier League. Tottenham needs to trust the system they have set up since the Argentine’s arrival.

The success has come as everything at the club is working towards fulfilling Pochettino’s philosophy, even if it all seemed a bit hazy after his first season in charge. But he was given time and looks to have the trust of Chairman Daniel Levy, something not many managers at White Hart Lane have had before.

He cleared out the bad eggs in the last summer transfer window and was adamant he was only going to play those who gave their all on the pitch. The result is a squad willing to fight for every inch. Young players have his trust and have grown leaps and bounds under his guidance. Their hunger, desire and commitment give the team an edge. Senior players have to work to match their exuberance.

Pochettino said his style of football would need time to sink in and with his second season nearly at an end, his charges now play like a well-oiled machine. While it was not up to scratch in his maiden season, things have clicked this time around.

Every Spurs player knows where they have to be and who they have to close down in their manager’s demanding, high-energy pressing game. With the ball, the play is slick and smooth. Their transition up the field is mesmerising at times, while Tottenham’s one-touch passing and smart movement is often hard for opponent’s to deal with. The side works ferociously to win back possession, just so they can attack once more.

One reason for this turnaround is the players who have been brought in since Pochettino took over. No longer are the wrong names bought because it looks like a good deal. The manager has brought in his own men to control scouting and fans know whoever is signed next will be done so with the knowledge they have a role to fill. They fit somewhere and are not just a cut price, last minute Levy special.

The investment put into the youth system is also reaping rewards under the guidance of John McDermott, who was recently sought out to revamp Manchester United’s academy. More young stars like Josh Onomah, Harry Winks and Cameron Carter-Vickers are being lined up to be consistent members of the first team squad in the near future to follow in the footsteps of Harry Kane.

Pochettino has admitted after the Europa League defeats to Borussia Dortmund that the club “need to improve our squad on the whole” for their inevitable return to the Champions League. With such a compatible squad under his watch and youth well on their way, it may only take a couple of key transfers in the summer to take the club to the next level. With the framework set-up they can be confident they will find the right players to join Tottenham’s revolution.

Spurs have a golden chance to capture their first English Premier League title in more than 50 years. But their drastic improvement should not be in vain if they fall at the final hurdle. They possess the perfect manager to take them forward, one who is not dependent on spending money, particularly with a new stadium on the way. Their squad is already one brimming with talent but there are more young guns waiting in the wings and room to add more shrewd signings. They finally possess a philosophy they have been yearning for.

With or without the title, the future is bright for the boys in Lilywhite.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Lochy McIvor, Twitter: @lochymci
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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