Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Trials And Tribulations Of Tottenham Hotspur

The weekend ended in defeat for Spurs at the hands of our arch-nemesis Arsenal. As a supporter losing a football match is never a nice thing to endure but when it comes at the hands of your local rivals it leaves a taste in your mouth reminiscent of someone shoving a whole lemon inside of it and clamping down on your lips with a pair of pliers. Simply put, it’s not very good. 

It could be said that Tottenham Hotspur were unlucky in some aspects of the game on Sunday. Some marginal calls did not go The Lillywhites’ way. A very close (but possibly correct) offside for Mikey Van De Ven would have brought Tottenham level, but it was chalked off by VAR. After this Arsenal executed a well-thought-out game plan to a tee and ended up going in at halftime 3 nil to to the good. 

In the second half, Tottenham improved. Christian Romero pulled one back for the Spurs, and Heung Min Son converted from the spot to make it a nervy ending for the Gunners. Again there was more controversy with Dejan Kulusevski having an appeal for another spot-kick turned down, but despite all this, if you go 3 nil down at home in the first half overall you will probably get what you deserve from the game. In Tottenham Hotspurs’ case, that was zero points on the board and Champions League qualification all but gone. 

Where Will Spurs Finish This Season?

With Aston Villa now 7 points clear of Spurs (albeit having played two games moreIt does look very unlikely that Tottenham will now secure 4th place. Spurs still have some tough fixtures to come towards the end of the season. They still have to go to Stamford Bridge and face former manager Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea.  Chelsea isn’t having the best of seasons, as we all know but Tottenham have a horrible record at this ground, and it’s important to remember the reverse fixture is also when Tottenham’s season started to derail. It was a brave performance that night, but one that showed the lack of depth in Tottenham’s squad and the dire need for reinforcements. 

After the Chelsea game, Spurs then have to travel to Anfield, another ground where they come away with very little. After this, they then face a home tie with Title Challengers Manchester City who seems to have stepped up a gear since crashing out of the Champions League against La Liga Giants Real Madrid. The only possible fixture you would say Tottenham are nailed on to win is against already relegated Sheffield United. So with that being said and Newcastle United and Manchester United having significantly easier games, could Tottenham Hotspur finish as low as 7th place?

What Needs To Improve

Regardless of Tottenham Hotspur’s final position in the Premier League this season, there is much work to be done for Ange Postecoglou and the Tottenham hierarchy this summer. A plethora of positions need strengthening and Daniel Levy must now see he needs to give the Australian his full backing if this rebuild is going to go as planned.  A proper number 6 is a must in the next transfer window, at times Spurs haven’t been able to play their brand of football due to struggling to control the game in the middle of the park. This then allows the opposition to expose the high line Tottenham is now famous for playing and has resulted in many turnovers in possession that have led to Spurs conceding goals. 

The back four when everyone is available is excellent. Romero is a warrior and a proper leader, and Van De Venn has been a revelation, his recovery pace alone has cancelled out several opposition attacks. Dragusin and Davies are decent covers for this pair but one more quality centre-back is needed.  As for the fullbacks Pedro Porro and Destiny Udgoie are the bee’s knees, the only issue is when one isn’t playing so well or isn’t available for selection then there is very little cover for either of these positions. Postecoglou deploys a system that requires fullbacks to be able to do a number of jobs and Emerson Royal is far too limited in this capacity (Although we cannot fault his work ethic) and there is no cover on the left-hand side at all. 

Issues In Attack

It may seem slightly insane to some to suggest there isn’t enough firepower up top for Tottenham with Sonny leading the line, but the wide players this season have not quite been up to it in the second half of this campaign, and although Richarlison had a decent purple patch at one point this season, a second striker capable of scoring fifteen goals or more this season is vital if Tottenham want to push on to another level. 

Timo Werner has been a decent bit of business but is more of a squad player. He will cost around 15 million pounds if Spurs decide to active his buy clause, and personally, I feel this would be the correct option, however, yet again it is an area where a better player than Werner is needed to fill the position so Spurs can compete at the highest level. The right side has the same issue, when Dejan isn’t on his game another player is needed to fill that void and help open teams up. 

Final Thoughts

This season has been the start of a long-term project so not getting into the Champions League wouldn’t be the end of the world for Tottenham Hotspur. Missing out on the Europa League now at this stage of the season would be a bit of a kick in the teeth, but most of the work has to be done in the summer.  The manager needs backing, and the recruitment needs to be meticulous. Then when the next campaign begins hopefully there will be more optimism around N17. The football Spurs played at the start of the season was incredible, if Ange can find a way to make that consistent then who knows what the future holds