Tottenham had an excellent campaign in 2014/15 and will be competing in the Champions League this season. Although they challenged for the title last year, Spurs still finished below rivals Arsenal and that left a sour taste in the mouth for the fanbase.
They have managed to augment their squad effectively this summer adding depth in key areas. Pochettino rotated well last season and they have a squad that is good enough to do well in both the league and in Europe. The supporters need to remain realistic as it will be tough to improve on a third place finish, as the other top clubs will be better this season. Tottenham are a club that many expect to drop out of the top four as a result of the strengthening at Chelsea and Manchester United. However, that lack of expectation could prove to be a good thing for for Pochttino’s side.
They had an interesting pre-season, playing against some of Europe’s great clubs, including Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan. They suffered narrow defeats against the first two, but the performances were encouraging. After the international tournaments this summer, Tottenham had to play most of pre-season without their best players and had the opportunity to give some youngsters a chance to shine. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Marcus Edwards were two that really impressed, with the former likely to get minutes for the first team this season. Erik Lamela stood out across pre-season and many are expecting him to take his game onto the next level this season, finally living up to his hefty price tag.
In the final match against Inter, the majority of players were back in contention and they delivered a devastating performance. They won 6-1 and looked excellent in the attacking half. Harry Kane (2), Dele Alli, Lamela, Vincent Janssen and Shayon Harrison scored the goals. This boosted morale in the squad and among the supporters, providing the perfect preparation for their opening match against Everton.
Spurs haven’t looked to bring in huge names this summer, rather they have opted to supplement their squad and ensured they have enough cover across the pitch. Their first signing was Victor Wanyama who joined for around £11m. He will add bite and tenacity to their midfield, providing the option to play two holding midfielders against better sides. Eric Dier has developed into a good defensive midfielder and the addition of Wanyama strengthens that area. The former Southampton player is better at playing a midfield destroyer role than Dier and adds a different profile to the squad. He will need to improve both his passing and discipline, but in the current market, he is very good business for Spurs.
The other major addition is Vincent Janssen, who joined for £18.6m from AZ Alkmaar. He fixes a huge problem in the squad as last season, Spurs lacked cover for Harry Kane. They were over-reliant on the homegrown striker and it would take a minor miracle for him to stay injury-free for another season. Janssen has only had one full season in the Eredivisie, but he was a revelation and finished top scorer in the league last season. He is a similar player to Kane, who is good on the ball and a great finisher. Janssen can hold the ball up like Kane and bring the midfield into the game. He is a risk, but after adjusting seamlessly to the international stage with Holland, he managed to convince Pochettino that he can do the same in the Premier League.
Tottenham are one of the few predictable sides going into this season as they have a settled squad and have the same manager from last season. They are likely to play a 4-2-3-1 with inside forwards and full-backs who push on to provide the width. Eric Dier is likely to start in one of the midfield roles as he can sit back and provide cover to the defence when the full-backs push up. There are doubts about where Christian Eriksen will start, with the left wing spot looking most likely, but he will be given the freedom to come inside as Danny Rose is going to provide the width on that side. They have a talented squad capable of playing different formations effectively and I expect Pochettino to change things, especially in the Champions League, but 4-2-3-1 is how they will begin the season.
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dembele, Dier; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen; Kane
I expect this will be Spurs’ first eleven as it was for the majority of last season. However, with the Champions League this year, Pochettino is likely to rotate a lot, which means the squad players will get the opportunity to prove themselves. If they perform well, there is a chance they could break into the first eleven, as Dele Alli did last season. It is a strong side and it is one that should do well again this season.
Tottenham did excellently last season and deserve their place in the Champions League. Their squad is still young and it is possible there could be a drop-off in performance, which is why the competition for places is crucial. I expect them to have a good season again, but they may miss out on the top four purely due to the improvement made by the other top clubs. I’m predicting that Spurs finish 5th and have a good run in the Champions League.
Prediction – 5th