February 2013 was the best month of the season thus far for Tottenham Hotspur. On Friday, two different individuals at the club were justly rewarded for the current run that has Spurs as the hottest side in the Premier League heading into the latest north London derby.
Gareth Bale has been named Barclays Premier League Player of the Month, and Andre Villas-Boas has received Manager of the Month honors. This is the second time that AVB has been named Manager of the Month this season. He received the award at the start of January after Spurs won four of six December league contests.
Just about everything that could have gone right for Tottenham last month did. They notched league victories against West Brom, Newcastle and West Ham, and those wins coupled with other results have landed Spurs in third place in the table at the beginning of March. Tottenham have gone 11 straight EPL contests without a loss, and AVB's Blue and White Army also advanced in Europa League play after defeating Lyon on aggregate.
Bale was undeniably Tottenham's brightest star during their February fixtures. The Welsh wonder found the back of the net five times in his club's three league games, and three of those goals were match winners. His most recent heroic strike, a brilliant hit from 25 yards out that occurred less than a minute before stoppage time at West Ham, may have been the league's top goal of the month.
In a video posted on Tottenham's official YouTube page on Friday, Villas-Boas stated that the awards were "something that could be shared by everybody (at the club)." "We still have lots of people chasing behind us for the same objectives," said AVB. "At the moment everything is going well, but we have to keep this consistency in the last months of the season."
In Bale's eyes, February could prove to be a launching point for Spurs ultimately earning Champions League football. "Every game we are getting better and better," said the Welshman. "I've been enjoying my football more than probably I ever have. When you are enjoying your football, you give your best performances. Hopefully I can keep that up, and hopefully earn a few more (awards)."
Tottenham last did the awards double in December 2011, when Scott Parker and then Spurs manager Harry Redknapp received November honors. While some perceived that particular side to be title contenders heading into the festive season, one could easily argue that Spurs are in a better place right now than they were one winter ago. Bale is playing as well as is any top footballer in the world at the moment, and Spurs have shown more fight and more heart under Villas-Boas than they did during the final three months of Redknapp's tenure with the club.
Spurs have a difficult March ahead of them, a month that includes a trip to Italy and two matches against Inter. It all starts this Sunday when Tottenham host the Gunners for a derby that could, when all is said and done, bring along drastic changes for either side. AVB and company have every reason to be feeling confident, but they also cannot afford to look past their hated rivals.
Finishing in the top three of the league table needs to be Tottenham's main objective this spring.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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