Spurs’ 2015/16 season should not be remembered as a failure.
Even though they were unable to reel in the most unlikely champions in the history of the division in Leicester City and were leapfrogged by Arsenal at the last to maintain their less than enviable record of not finishing above their rivals in the last 21 years, placing in the top four and playing some of best football in England over a full campaign is worthy of praise.
Indeed, the sheer number of Tottenham players in the England EURO 2016 set-up – we’ll gloss over the results – is testament to the good work done by Mauricio Pochettino.
Alas, another season is on the horizon, and the Londoners will have to go again. Can they go one step further and win the title?
Anything is possible, and with this 4-2-3-1 formation, incorporating a few choice additions, they may have a good chance…
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While this statement rang true for the majority of last season – Spurs conceded the joint fewest (35) goals in 2015/16 – a late collapse showed some of the flaws on Maurico Pochettino’s system.
And it seems that, according to some reports, anyway, this has hit home, with Germany’s Jonas Hector being linked with a move to White Hart Lane.
Although ‘Poch’ has Ben Davies and Danny Rose to choose from at left-back, the EURO 2016 semi-finalist (the German one, that is) is a more solid option defensively, who is capable of marshalling his side of the pitch and rarely gets caught out – he’s been dubbed ‘Mr. Reliable’ for his performances with Koln in the Bundesliga.
Across the rest of the rearguard, it’s business as usual though!
In defensive midfield, Victor Wanyama gets the nod alongside Eric Dier in a physically imposing set-up. The Kenyan, signed for £11m from Southampton, is a player well-versed in Pochettino’s demands – they worked together while at St Mary’s Stadium – and should be able to slot in seamlessly.
With Dier alongside him, Spurs should have one of the most solid engine rooms in the entire league, and this physicality will ensure that the defence is not exposed, while the pair’s tactical awareness will free up the attacking players to play their own game.
Only Leicester and Manchester City found the back of the net on more occasions than Spurs last season, and while Harry Kane’s exploits were a major factor in that return, the England international would not have been able to have pulled it off without Alli, Eriksen and Lamela in behind him.
Judging by the sheer lack of links with alternatives, Spurs are seemingly happy to go with the trio again, and with support from the likes of Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli and Heung-min Son, they have depth, too.
How can we overlook Harry Kane? The England man may have had an abysmal EURO 2016, but in a system tailored to get the best from him, as it has been the last two seasons under Pochettino, it’s a different story.
Alas, he will not be able to do it all alone for a third successive campaign, and with reports suggesting a £16m deal for Vincent Janssen is close to going through, a capable deputy may well be on board and ready to step in when needed – he netted 27 times in 34 Eredivisie appearances for AZ Alkmaar last term after all.