Its easy to see why Leicester City won the Premier League. They produced some of the best football seen in the top flight in recent years and combined as a team of in-form players to maintain relentless pressure on their opponents. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’ season was exhilarating but Tottenham had their fair share of success too, despite not securing any silverware. But what are Pochettino’s side missing and what do they need to do in the summer to ensure they don’t lose out on the title for a second year?
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Harry Kane is still on course to become the league’s top goalscorer and his goals this season have ensured Tottenham have stayed near the top of the table. Although it took him some time to get going, (he failed to score in his opening six league games, and only netted once in the first ten matches of the season before scoring a hat-trick against Bournemouth) he’s proved he’s one of England’s best forwards and will no doubt go to France as a key member of Roy Hodgson’s England squad. A star striker isn’t what Tottenham are missing and they’ve got midfielders with goals in them too. Dele Alli, the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year, has hit double figures this season, adding ten league goals to Tottenham’s tally. Cristian Eriksen has added six too and Erik Lamela has scored ten in all competitions, including six goals in European action.
With a star striker in the bag, a group of talented, forward-thinking and creative midfielders in Lamela, Eriksen, Alli and Dembele, Tottenham’s attacking options are in abundance. However, aside from Kane’s goal-scoring heroics, it’s perhaps the centre-back pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen which have provided Tottenham with stability and one of the best defensive records in the league this season. Spurs have conceded just 30 goals this season, placing them at the top of the defensive stats for the Premier League. The two centre-backs have notched up 65 appearances between them, with Alderweireld appearing over 35 times in the Premier League. The Belgian defenders have created a strong partnership for both club and country and have built a reputation as two of the league’s best centre-backs. Not only do they provide protection, experience and leadership at the back, Alderweireld has added four league goals from set-pieces to Tottenham’s tally and he’s certainly a contender for the club’s Player of the Year.
Tottenham’s defence is bolstered by one of the league’s best keepers. Hugo Lloris has kept 13 clean sheets this season, with only four teams keeping more (Leicester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.) With a strong centre-back partnership in front of him, Lloris has been able to stand firm in the Tottenham goal and Spurs have developed a strong core throughout the team with Kane, Eriksen and Alli providing quality in midfield and attack. Pochettino has brought on strong young players this season and Danny Rose, who featured in the Premier League’s Team of the Year at left-back, has proven his quality and consistency in 2016. Kyle Walker, Ryan Mason, Ben Davies and Eric Dier have all made big improvements this season and have now become key members of Tottenham’s squad.
However, despite quality in all departments of the squad and encouraging youthful propects going forward, Tottenham are still lacking one or two things which may have cost them the title this season. Spurs have a team full of talent and quality but in the 24 man squad, not a single player has a Premier League winner’s medal already in their bag. A player with experience, leadership and the ability to contain the pressures of the title race could be a vital addition to next seasons squad. Much like Kolo Toure’s influence at Liverpool, the former Arsenal and Manchester City title winner has provided experience in a squad littered with talent and inexperience. Somebody with the knowledge of how to win a title could be the slight difference Spurs need to move one step forward.
Harry Kane has been firing on all fronts in the last two seasons and he’s been backed up by in-form, quality midfielders. However, when Kane is absent, there’s not many options for Pochettino in attack and although Heung-Min Son has provided eight goals this season, including four in the league, it’s nowhere near the tally needed to win the Premier League. Kane works well as a lone striker, but he’s proven he can play as part of a front two at international level alongside Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge or Wayne Rooney. Another top striker at White Hart Lane would be a welcomed addition and could take some pressure off Harry Kane, who holds all the goal-scoring responsibilities at the moment. It could also help Spurs in cup and European competition, allowing Pochettino options to rotate his squad and use different attacking options.
Aside from a bit of added experience and a second world-class striker, Tottenham’s squad seems pretty complete. This summer, they need to keep fit, remain in shape and set aside time to prioritise targets for next season. The Premier League must be their main aim and many will feel if it wasn’t for the incredible seasons of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez and the wisdom of the ‘Tinkerman,’ Tottenham will have already had their Premier League winner’s medals around their neck.