Tottenham have been rightly praised for their start to the season so far.
After their usual stuttering August, where they took four points out of a possible nine, Mauricio Pochettino’s men are beginning to hit their stride.
In Europe, they have particularly found their feet as they look to improve upon last year’s disappointing Champions League campaign. Back then they laboured to third place in the group after losing half their games and scoring just six goals.
This time around things have been much more successful for Pochettino and Tottenham.
They have already matched their Champions League goal tally from last season and crucially they are on six points after two games.
“I think it is a big challenge for us,” he said. “We are going to play with one of the best teams in the world.
“I think it is so exciting to play at Madrid, in the Bernabeu. I think it will be a very tough game, we need to recover well after the two weeks where the players were all away from us [on international duty].”
Tottenham’s clashes with Real Madrid are rightfully being viewed as a good litmus test for Pochettino’s side. However, in truth, they are just the start of what could be a defining period for Spurs.
The club’s next eight fixtures make exciting reading on paper and they will surely have a lasting impact on how this season pans out.
Tottenham face two matches with Real Madrid, a home clash with Liverpool as well as trips to Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. Added to that comes a no doubt feisty cup tie with West Ham under the lights and a game with the improving Crystal Palace.
It is a set of games that typifies the sometimes cruel nature of the fixture schedule and it will truly answer any lingering questions hanging over Tottenham.
Pochettino said after his side’s victory over Bournemouth that now was the time for questions about Wembley to stop. In his eyes, the so-called hoodoo was over thanks to Spurs securing their first Premier League win at their temporary home.
In reality, though, this next stretch of games will really tell us if Tottenham have made Wembley home.
For anyone who has been to the stadium this season, they will know the atmosphere is nothing like White Hart Lane. In fact, it is more like an England friendly.
It is a bit like when you go to a party but no one has any speakers so music is just played out of a phone. There is nothing wrong with the output, but it is hardly going to get anyone out of their seats.
However, matches against Liverpool and Real Madrid could change all that. Both will draw huge crowds and the Real game is already sold out.
There can be no excuse for the atmosphere on those occasions and positive results then could be the catalyst for Tottenham when it comes to Wembley.
However, these next set of games will really demonstrate how strong Spurs’ entire squad is as, given the packed nature of the fixtures, rotation will be key.
Tottenham’s summer spending has undoubtedly provided them with a more complete squad but now we will really see if any cracks are there.
You would expect the likes of Fernando Llorente to be given their chance in the matches against West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Last season, that kind of rotation proved problematic when Kane or key individuals were left out. Now, we will discover if that issue has been addressed.
The next eight matches for Tottenham will give us plenty of answers about just how strong they are this season. And while on paper the fixtures look daunting, there is no reason Pochettino’s side cannot flourish.
The chance to take on Liverpool at home should be seen as a great opportunity. The Reds maybe unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League, but away from it they have won just once. They have also shipped 11 goals in four games on their travels.
A trip to Old Trafford should not be filled with too much dread too as Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will be forced to come onto Tottenham; a tactic that will suit Pochettino. The same can be said for Spurs’ derby match with Arsenal at the Emirates.
Tottenham fans may dread or relish their upcoming set of matches. But either way, the next eight will tell us if Pochettino’s men are the real deal or not.