Under Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham's top four potential is growing but for their defeated opponents Aston Villa clouds are gathering once more...
"Importantly the line-up is largely settled, with players such as Sandro and Mousa Dembele coming to the fore as ideal replacements for Luka Modric and the injured Scott Parker."
When Spurs arrived three games in to the Premier League season without a win some observers inevitably piled in with questions over AVB's position, even in its embryonic stages.
Since that point Tottenham have ignited their spluttering engines and gone on to record four successive wins in the top flight, including a first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.
The Londoners now sit just one point behind last season's top two in fifth and five points from the summit.
Besides the United result Spurs have achieved all this without heaps of acclaim and perhaps ominously for the rest of the league, without really hitting full flow either.
On this evidence the Lilywhites must be considered serious candidates to finish in the top four once again and at [3.5], are worth substantial contemplation.
AVB is already portraying a far more assured figure in the dugout than the one we saw at Chelsea and has noticeably toned down his levels of animation.
At this point, it is too early to throw Spurs' name into the title contenders' corner perhaps, though the majority of this squad were being flattered with such suggestions back in the new year.
Importantly the line-up is largely settled, with players such as Sandro and Mousa Dembele coming to the fore as ideal replacements for Luka Modric and the injured Scott Parker.
Of course England's contingent of Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker and Steven Caulker are all benefiting from regular inclusion too and this can only be a good thing for the Three Lions ahead of the upcoming qualifiers.
Contrastingly Aston Villa's mild flirtation with a renaissance - only one loss in four league games - has now subsided, leaving question marks over their ability to escape a season shadowed by relegation fears.
Top striker Darren Bent was less than impressed at being hauled off shortly after the hour mark and his new partner Christian Benteke is already displaying a nagging susceptibility to a glaring miss.
Paul Lambert's squad looks crepe-thin with perhaps an over reliance on youth and not enough experience to shepherd them.
Stephen Ireland's latest wrist injury is a massive blow as the often enigmatic Irishman was showing real signs of getting back to his best in pre-season and the early exchanges of Villa's campaign.
The three games coming up against Fulham, Norwich and Sunderland are crucial to rekindling some brightness.