Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Eric Toth

2015/16 Finish: 3

Spurs had a very successful 2015/16 season by all accounts. If it weren’t for Leicester, there’s no doubt Tottenham would have been the squad being boasted about. The North London club played a fluid, attacking style with a core of young, English talent. Even with the slow start and car crash of an ending, it was an overall positive campaign for the club. Spurs have much to be excited about with a settled squad and manager, something they haven’t had for a while.

Transfers In: Vincent Janssen (FW), Victor Wanyama (CDM)

Spurs have gone about their business quietly this summer, while adding players in key areas. The club was very lucky that star man, Harry Kane, was able to stay fit during a long campaign last season, in which he played 3,610 minutes. With the Champions’ League on the horizon, Tottenham have added much needed depth at striker in the form of the Eredivisie top scorer, Vincent Janssen. Janssen is a player in the mold of Kane, two-footed with an eye for goal and managed 27 goals and 2 assists in 34 matches. The addition of the Dutch international means the North London club can afford to give Kane a rest after a busy summer at the Euros.

Another area in which Spurs needed to add depth was in defensive midfield, and they’ve done so with Victor Wanyama. The “Mighty Kenyan” has worked with Pochettino before at Southampton when the Argentine manager purchased him from Scottish side Celtic. With the sudden rise to prominence of Eric Dier, it seems Wanyama was purchased as more of a backup to the Englishman. However, with Moussa Dembele out for four matches due to a suspension for his eye-gouge on Diego Costa (something I’m sure most of us would have loved to do ourselves), Wanyama will have a chance to slot in next to Dier in the center of the park at the start of the season, but will need to keep himself out of trouble after receiving three red cards last season.

It seems Spurs are still not finished their business this summer, with the club reportedly close to signing pacey French winger, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou from Marseille with Clinton N’Jie rumored to be going the other way on loan.

Transfers Out: Sold: Pritchard (CAM), Ward (CDM/RM), Loaned: Fazio (CB), Lesniak (CM)

Spurs have continued their ruthless nature in getting rid of players who don’t fit the system or the culture at the club, or those who aren’t good enough. Tottenham moved Alex Pritchard on, despite the attacking midfielder coming through their academy and showing signs of promise on several loan spells. Pritchard has suffered numerous injuries that have kept him from getting a real chance at Spurs, but if he can stay fit, he will be a good addition at Carrow Road. Fazio was supposed to add an experienced head to a young Spurs team, having won the Europa League as captain of Sevilla, but it didn’t pan out at White Hart Lane for the Argentine defender. With the turning radius of a semi-truck, Fazio was a bit too immobile to work in Pochettino’s system, so a loan with an option to buy will suit all parties. Although he didn’t work for Spurs, Fazio’s should do well at Roma, his abilities can be showcased in the slower, but more tactical Serie A.

What They Need/How To Improve:

Spurs are short at CB after Vertonghen’s injury with the Belgian squad at the Euros and promising youngsters Dominic Ball (20) and Cameron Carter-Vickers (18) failing to show they’re ready for the step-up while on tour in Austrailia. Spurs have players that can cover the position, but with Dier being such a stalwart in midfield, it would be best to sign another right-footed center half with the congested fixture list of the upcoming campaign.

A rotation option for Christian Eriksen would make sense, but is not as pressing an issue as the lack of depth at center back. Tottenham would benefit from bringing in another creative player, while Josh Onomah and Marcus Edwards continue to develop.

Key Player(s): Depth

To pick a key player from this Spurs team is near impossible. Yes, Kane was top scorer, but Alderweireld added defensive solidity along with Vertonghen and Lloris. Rose and Walker are crucial to the way Pochettino plays, bombing down the flanks in attack. Dier was arguably the best defensive midfielder last year and Moussa Dembele made himself undroppable after his performance against Liverpool early on. Lamela, Alli and Eriksen are key to Pochettino’s high pressing system and were a creative force last year.

So, with a starting squad in place, the real key for Spurs in the upcoming campaign are the players coming off the bench. The starting XI have played a lot of football over the last year and with Champion’s League coming up, the bench is going to have to be ready to step up and perform when it matters. Heung Min Son shows a lot of promise, but will require patience from Pochettino and supporters, having not been able to get a full preseason under his belt this year or last. The new signings will add depth in key areas, providing cover for Dier, Dembele in Wanyama and for Kane in Janssen. Davies, Trippier, and Wimmer have all proved that they can be more than adequate replacements for first teamers in their respective positions and could start for many premier league clubs. How the bench performs when called upon will likely decide where Spurs end up this year.

Predicted 2016/17 Finish: 4

After a strong showing last season, Spurs go into the new campaign with one of the most settled squads. Despite the influx of top-drawer managers into the Premier League, the Lilywhites should be able to continue their upward trajectory, if not in their league position, in their performances and consistency. The North London side had the joint-best defensive record and the second-best goal scoring record last year; with the additions of Wanyama, Janssen and N’Koudou seemingly complete, coupled with the fact that they’ve managed to keep their squad together, there is no reason that can’t happen again in the upcoming season.

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Author: Thrive Nation

Amateur sports journalism blog, primarily posting about the latest happenings in EPL, MLB, NFL, and Boxing.

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