Going in to the new season, it looks harder than ever for teams to get in to the top four due to the world class managers that are currently in the Premier League and the amount of money being spent by the top teams.
Tottenham seem to be on the cusp of having both of these qualities because in Pochettino they have a great manager, but one who isn’t world class as of yet due to his lack of trophies; although there is a strong chance he will get to that level eventually.
They also aren’t quite able to spend the lavish amounts of money on players that clubs like Manchester City and Manchester United are, so in both regards they are somewhat of an underdog.
Their success last season was remarkable with them breaking many of their Premier League records along the way, but they were obviously overshadowed by Leicester’s legendary campaign.
However, last season was a bit of an anomaly because the traditional ‘big teams’ didn’t perform with Arsenal being the only one that had a marginally successful domestic campaign.
This suggests that this season will be a lot more competitive due to the reasons mentioned above, and therefore it will be harder for Tottenham to challenge for the title or even reach the Champions League places.
So the question is: can Tottenham improve on last season’s result? Or is this season doomed to be a failure from the very start?
The signs are positive for Tottenham fans because they’ve made smart signings without spending too much, which is crucial because of their move into a new stadium, so they need this period to be smooth financially.
They also have a clear style of play under a confident manager who has the full backing of the players, which is key, and they’ve kept all their key players, which will keep together the team chemistry.
There was also a brief period where it looked like they could lose Mauricio Pochettino to Manchester United, but he quickly cleared that up which was an important early pre-season boost.
Another significant area which is often under-appreciated is the mood around the club which is highly positive because there seems to be a clear consensus between the fans, players, the manager and the board over what they are aiming for.
Maintaining the balance between the league and European football will be majorly important, but it will be a challenge welcomed by Pochettino and the fans after their struggles with Europa League, which never seemed to be popular with the majority of the fans due to it tiring the players significantly.
As said above, Tottenham have made some shrewd signings which have boosted key areas, and added depth to the squad because they also have Champions League football to contend with next season, along with their usual commitments.
New signing Victor Wanyama was a wise acquisition due to the strength he gives in midfield and his natural ability to stop opposition attacks and control games. Pochettino has been trying for a while to bring Wanyama along with him to Tottenham after he managed him at Southampton, so signing him will be a nice confidence boost going in to the season.
Vincent Janssen was a nice coup for Tottenham especially after Arsenal had expressed interest in him at the beginning of the transfer market. Obviously, he is a bit of an unknown quality because the Eredivisie has often proved to be a poor testing ground for players when they move to England.
However, Janssen seems to have the qualities that will allow him to succeed because he is a natural poacher as his goals at AZ Alkmaar have proved, and he has the physical presence needed to allow him to not get ‘bullied’ by Premier League defences. He turned up in the big games, which is always useful.
Another smart signing is Georges-Kevin N’Koudou from Marseille for £10.8 million, which is on the verge of happening, and he is a promising young player who will buy into Pochettino’s high intensity philosophy.
He will also give the Spurs wings some added pace and trickery which is useful for when they’re struggling to break down teams.
Pochettino showed last season that his brand of football was exciting to watch, and Tottenham had great performances throughout the season with the only worrying area being their collapse at the end of the season.
The ideas behind Pochettino’s style of play are to have an organised defence which forms the base of his system, as well as a high intensity pressure off the ball, which is started from the front with the aim of disorganising the opposition, and winning the ball quickly.
The versatility of the attack allows them to either quickly strike on the counter due to the pace they have or patiently pick apart the opposition by quickly moving the ball from either side of the opposition box.
The visual improvement in Tottenham from the start of Pochettino’s reign was obvious, and they continue to improve each season, so they could be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.
One of the important areas to consider in regards to the style of play is that the players seem to have clearly bought in to it, and certainly seemed to be enjoying their football last season which is important for any side, especially when the fixtures get congested, and the season becomes a tough grind.
Another important area is the high fitness levels required for this style of play, which often causes teams to drop off, but Tottenham didn’t seem to suffer that last season which is a good indication.
Last season Tottenham had a good record against the rest of the top six teams because they won 15 points out of a possible 30.
This means it will be important for them to continue with this next season if they want finish near the top, but they didn’t have an over-reliance on it.
It also shows that they have an area to improve in because they dropped half the possible points against the top teams, so they may be able to take advantage of the massive changes that are happening in the top clubs, which could significantly help a potential title push.
Pochettino and his team showed that they were able to break down the bottom half teams, proving useful useful in the coming season because dropping points against the bottom teams is often where campaigns become undone. This also means that they are less affected by the changes in the other big teams because they’ve already got an area in which they have proved they can take the majority of their points from.
This is in contrast to a team like West Ham, who were excellent at defeating the top teams last season, but will now have to readjust to all the changes at the top clubs due to the difference in playing styles that the new managers are bringing in.
As mentioned above multiple times, there have been significant managerial changes in the Premier League with multiple world class managers coming in, which has led to vast amounts of money being spent in order to restructure teams.
This means that the competition for the top four places will be much harder in the upcoming season than it was previously, and the financial muscle of the top teams may prove too much for Tottenham regardless of what they do.
Therefore this could cause them to have a worse season in terms of points and so forth, but that is out of their control. However, this team has faced adversity before, and proved people wrong, so don’t be surprised if they do it again.
Tottenham are in a good position for the upcoming season due to the exceptional last season they had, and they’ve managed to keep the key elements of that.
Pochettino has added to his squad in a smart manner, but they may end up being moved aside by the financial strength of the top teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
However, as Leicester proved, money isn’t everything and building a confident and organised team rather than a group of talented individuals is still important in the modern game.
There is also the fact that they have Champions League football this season, so the hard work they put in last term could be focused towards this rather than the Premier League title if it is obvious that there is little chance of them winning.
This means that cup runs could be the area they look into by the middle of the season, so the best performances might be saved for those matches, but we will have to wait and see.
Either way if Tottenham can improve on last season they will be a force to be reckoned with regardless of who they’re playing, where they’re playing, and what competition they’re playing in.
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