On the 27th May 2014, Mauricio Pochettino was appointed manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Defensively, the state of the London club was appalling, but they consistently managed to scrape Europa League qualification. Since then, Pochettino has transformed the Tottenham side from a weak unimaginative force to a club that has a promising future. Harry Redknapp said in an interview, roughly a month ago, that he believes that Tottenham WILL win the league within FOUR years. But, what’s stopping them from winning it now?
Particularly this season, Tottenham’s away form has been atrocious. They have the least away wins out of the current top six, and have only registered SIX away wins all season, throughout all competitions (Premier League, CL, Europa, EFL Cup, and FA Cup). That statistic alone is fairly embarrassing, especially when they are now considered as an elite club in England. Ultimately, their terrific home form is whats keeping them in contention to finish in the top 4, as they now have set a new club record of 9 domestic wins in a row. That statistic alone is fairly mind-boggling, especially the fact that this is their last season at the Lane, and will be playing ALL home competition at the national stadium next season. Their European performances at Wembley this season have been abysmal, and it is surely worrying for all Tottenham fans that they have to play all games there for a whole season, whilst the new stadium finishes its construction. In Pochettino’s tenure at Spurs, away against teams that finished in the top seven of the Premier League table, his teams have two wins, seven draws and nine losses in those games. In comparable home fixtures, Spurs have eight wins, five draws and three losses, with two games still to play against teams in the current top seven (Manchester United and Arsenal). This lingering doubt of how to pass on their incredible home form onto away grounds could possibly be one of the last pieces of the jigsaw to as why they cannot yet bring the Premier League back into North London. Their away form could pick up, but one key ingredient is needed for that, which brings me onto my next point.
After last seasons shocking end, it was evident that the club needed strengthening; and strengthened they did; well at least they thought they did. The only signing that’s made a pivotal impact is Victor Wanyama, who has really added muscle into the Tottenham midfield. However, that’s all the good you can really say about their summer signings. It was clear that they needed a backup striker for Harry Kane, and Daniel Levy provided with Vincent Janssen, but the top scorer in the Eredivise last season has not hit the ground running this year like he was able to for AZ Alkmaar. Admittedly, Janssen looks promising. His hold up play is probably the only skill he’s getting right at the moment. But, what’s a striker that cannot score goals? Tottenham have struggled in the past with secondary strikers with the likes of Roberto Soldado, which I’m sure Spurs fans don’t want to be reminded of. Maybe Janssen just needs time to adapt to the Premier League. Erik Lamela needed a lot of time, and patience from the Tottenham fans, and he’s proved to be a key asset recently for the Tottenham squad (not as much this season, due to his hip injury since October). Janssen said that he wants at least 12 more months to prove that he can be reliable, and that he can be that secondary striker that Spurs so definitely crave. Moving onto our final summer signing, is Moussa Sissoko. There’s not much to say about him; he’s just not good enough. I wouldn’t say he’s not technically gifted, he’s just SO inconsistent, that he’s just not good enough for Tottenham’s squad. Although he is a powerhouse when driving forward, he is so sloppy on the ball and his passing is incredibly inaccurate. For the £30 million that Tottenham are paying for him, he is evidently not playing up to the standards, and it would not surprise me if he did leave in the summer. Tottenham did make another signing in the summer which many people may not of heard about, and that was goalkeeper Pau Lopez, on loan from RCD Espanyol. Now, there isn’t really much to say about him. Tottenham have one of the best keepers in the league, which is Hugo Lloris, and a very solid backup goalkeeper in Michel Vorm, so again this looked like a really pointless signing for Tottenham. He is young, and is getting into the U21 squad, and did come from Pochettino’s first managerial club, so who knows, he could come in permanently when either Hugo or Michel decide to hang their boots.
In summary, it’s quite evident where Spurs need strengthening, and it’s similar to last season. Backup striker is needed. They have a world-class keeper, a solid defensive structure, a dominant midfield, but they need that last piece to fit into their team. Harry Kane is a perfect striker, but if he gets injured, then Tottenham are in big trouble.
The Experience of a Winning Feeling
Now, admittedly, that subheading sounds a bit odd, but please hear me out on this one. No Tottenham players have experienced much silverware in their career; and yes they are a very young squad which is why, but that could also be a slight part of the problem. The last piece of significant silverware that Tottenham picked up was in 2008, and their squad is now incredibly different. None of the players they currently have have had the feeling of lifting a trophy. A majority of the players have won individual awards, but that’s not the same as winning a trophy as a team. It is honestly crazy how winning a piece of silverware can change the mentality of the team. The closest this side has come to a significant piece of silverware recently was in 2015 when they lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the Carling Cup final. Do you think that may have affected the mentality of the squad? I certainly do. Just the feeling of despair of losing in the cup final could’ve majorly affected them, because a Tottenham side without Mauricio Pochettino would’ve never have reached that cup final. They’re currently in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, and play Millwall at home on 12th February, and are most likely favourites of the tie. If they could win a historic trophy, such as the FA Cup, that could honestly drive them on the grab the league title potentially next year. I’m not saying if they win the FA Cup, that they’ll go on to win the league next season, I’m saying that it could be that change in mentality for the squad. I feel like most people may disagree with me on this point, but this is my opinion, and I’m more than open for you to share your own.
So, to summarise this article; Tottenham cannot win the league just yet. They need to improve on away grounds, especially against teams that’ll be fighting for the title and top 4 with them. Squad depth is key, and they desperately need to improve on it. With the addition of a consistent secondary striker, they can take on any team in the league; and finally, just that feeling of winning and being on top of the world. It can affect a players mindset, in a beneficial way, and I’m sure it would benefit Tottenham if they can pick up a trophy apart from the league.
How far off winning the league are Spurs? Let us know in the comments below!
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