Modified 02 Mar 2020, 18:29 IST
If you had been searching for a single phrase to sum up Tottenham Hotspur’s 2019-20 up to now, it’d most likely be “irritating”. After making the UEFA Champions League closing in 2018-19, Spurs strengthened in the summer season with signings of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon, however whereas Kieran Trippier was offered to Atletico Madrid, questions surrounded the futures of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, all of whom had been set to be out of contract in the summer season of 2020.
Spurs began the season in very combined type, selecting up a win over Aston Villa on the opening day earlier than securing a draw in opposition to Manchester City, just for a loss to Newcastle to convey the temper down considerably. That topsy-turvy type continued till an embarrassing 2-7 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and simply over a month later, Mauricio Pochettino was fired and changed by Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho’s arrival has seen a slight upturn in outcomes, however because of accidents and extra inconsistency, Spurs nonetheless sit exterior the top 4 in seventh place, though they’re solely 5 factors behind Chelsea in 4th place. Here, we check out their chances of securing an all-important top Four spot.
Tottenham’s type has been patchy at greatest this season, and whereas they’ve by no means gone on a horrible run of losses, the greatest successful streak they’ve managed has been a run of three video games between January and February. Flashes of their previous greatness have been on show – their 5-Zero win over Burnley in December and their 4-Zero win over Crystal Palace in September – however total, Spurs have by no means actually shone brightly throughout the present marketing campaign.
The most worrying difficulty for Spurs this season has been their type in opposition to their fellow ‘Big Six’ sides; up to now they’ve taken 5 factors from their eight video games, which is about nearly as good as they managed in 2018-19 – however to place it bluntly, they’ve seemed second greatest in each single one of these video games.
Tottenham’s type has seen a slight enchancment beneath Mourinho – who has averaged a complete of 1.6 factors per recreation in comparison with Pochettino’s 1.1 – however rather a lot of the identical issues have remained at the membership.
Spurs’ once-watertight defence now appears to be like flimsy at instances, a end result of Mourinho seemingly being not sure what his greatest line-up is, and in assault, shorn of the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung Min, Tottenham look relatively toothless at instances, even when Lo Celso has stepped into the artistic void left by Eriksen, who departed for Inter Milan in January.
New signings Gedson Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn seem to have settled properly, whereas the likes of Harry Winks and Japhet Tanganga have impressed beneath Mourinho, however even Spurs’ greatest outcomes beneath the Portuguese have seen them sneak outcomes relatively than really earn them by outplaying their opposition; they might simply have misplaced to Wolves, Manchester City and Aston Villa – all of whom had been ultimately crushed.
Spurs’ remaining fixtures see them play rather a lot of the groups round them; they nonetheless have Manchester United (house), Sheffield United (away), Everton (house), Arsenal (house) and Leicester (house) to play. The proven fact that 4 of these fixtures happen in their personal stadium ought to be a large enhance; of their 10 losses this marketing campaign, solely three have come at house.
They additionally need to play strugglers West Ham (house), Bournemouth (away) and Newcastle (away), and with all three sides wanting more likely to be in a relegation battle, these matches may be trickier for Mourinho’s aspect than they seem like on paper. Realistically, solely Burnley and Crystal Palace – who face Spurs at Selhurst Park on the closing day – have little to play for.
In their earlier fixtures in opposition to these 10 groups, Spurs collected 15 factors; in the event that they had been to repeat these outcomes, then they’d end on 55 factors and would probably miss out on the top Four spot they crave. However, it’s value noting that 9 of these factors got here beneath Mourinho; Pochettino’s Spurs misplaced to Newcastle and Leicester and solely drew with Everton, Sheffield United and Arsenal.
If Spurs can higher Pochettino’s outcomes in opposition to these sides, which is certainly a chance given Newcastle’s attacking struggles, Leicester’s slide in type, the inconsistency of Arsenal and lack of expertise of Sheffield United, then Mourinho’s workforce may properly gather wherever between 15 and 24 factors – do this, and they’d find yourself with 64 and more than likely make the top 4.
Tottenham have already performed the top two – Liverpool and Manchester City – twice this season and now solely have two extra ‘Big Six’ members to face in Manchester United and Arsenal. That, and the proven fact that they’ve already rolled over four of their remaining opponents in the type of Crystal Palace, Burnley, West Ham and Bournemouth bodes properly for their hopes.
However, the harm issues that Mourinho is at present dealing with in phrases of discovering a constant goalscorer, and the basic inconsistencies in defence imply that Tottenham are additionally very beatable by all of the sides they’ve left to face. Under the Portuguese, Spurs by no means appear to be totally in management of a recreation, and that’s worrying.
We’ll most likely be taught rather a lot from Spurs’ subsequent 4 fixtures – Burnley, Manchester United, West Ham and Sheffield United – all of which ought to be winnable. If Mourinho’s males may take most factors from them and even keep away from any losses, then they might properly have sufficient momentum to defeat the likes of Everton, Arsenal and Bournemouth, and cement their top Four spot.
Tottenham have the expertise, the supervisor and sufficient beneficial house video games to do it, however after their final two losses to Chelsea and Wolves, they merely can’t afford to slide up once more till at the least April – and even then a slip could possibly be expensive. Tread fastidiously – and tighten their defence – and Mourinho may pull it off but.
Published 02 Mar 2020, 18:29 IST
Fetching extra content material…