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Time for some news and views from the football pitch. Are Tottenham Hotspur ready to be taken seriously as title challengers this week after they crept up to 3rd in the table and only 3 points behind the leaders?

Can Manchester City maintain the slender lead they have over rivals Utd?

Should Chelsea be completely discounted or is there still a glimmer of hope for them at this stage of the season. Also, is it time to ditch Drogba for Torres as the regular start for The Blues. Lets discuss these points on this week’s Football Friday here on Smurfin’ The Web.

Well firstly, I think that all the Spurs fans should just calm down a little bit. They are much closer than they were this time last season, but they faded fast after New Year if you remember rightly. They needed a striker then and didn’t buy one. The story is just the same this year, they STILL require that other option and don’t have it as yet and I think that if they repeat last year, they will fade just as quickly.

As for the Manchester clubs, the tables are turned this year. This time last year it was Utd with a 2 point advantage with 2 games in hand. In 2012 we find City at the top with a 3 point cushion albeit with no extra games to play. The league is much closer than a lot of people think and even with Chelsea 11 points off the leaders, they still have to face Utd at Stamford Bridge and City away, but realistically looking at the table you would say that Chelsea are out of the top prize running. There are definitely points to be had and both teams have shown some frailty this season. Of course, we know Manchester Utd have been in this position a million times before and have always come out on top, so experience counts for a lot here in this situation.

Onto my second point regarding Torres and Drogba. Lets look at the stats this season…Torres – 849 minutes on the pitch with 2 goals. Drogba – 953 minutes on the pitch with a 3 goal return. Not much in it really is there? With talk of major interest in Drogba from Chinese rich boys Shanghai Shenhua perhaps Torres is going to get his turn at the head of the pack. However I have this thought: didn’t Carlo Ancelotti try this by freezing Drogba out of the first team and continuously starting Torres even though he was rubbish every game? Guess what, it didn’t work. That said however, there are signs that Torres is finding some form, he had a tremendous game against Sunderland and although he didn’t get on the score sheet, he certainly deserved to.

It’s a tough one, a real stick or twist decision for manager Andre Villas Boas to make, but with the likes of Sturridge still hitting the net and midfielders Mata and Lampard still scoring, it will take a brave man to drop or even sell Drogba at this stage, he has been a magnificent goalscorer for the club and his record in the Premier League is proven.

Next week, I shall discuss the pros and cons of bringing back the standing terraces at football grounds, is it ever going to re-appear in top flight English football, or are the fears that haunt us regarding Hillsborough still far too fresh in the memories of real football fans? Leave any comments for this until next week please. Thanks for reading.

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