This next season could be a defining one for Tottenham’s manager Mauricio Pochettino and his young, exciting and talented Spurs squad. They have been superb in the last two seasons, having been the primary challengers to Leicester and Chelsea in their respective title winning campaigns. Their forward line with Harry Kane, Dele, Christian Eriksen and Son can blow teams away.
However, questions have been asked of just how long Spurs can keep this side together if they fail to start winning trophies. Being runners-up in the Premier League last season and reaching the FA Cup semi-final showed clear progress but if Tottenham stall, or worse, fall back this season, perhaps players like Kane, Dele and Eriksen will begin to wonder if it’s time to move on to win trophies.
Tottenham also have to deal with moving to Wembley, a place they have struggled to perform, as well as seeing the other sides around them invest vast amounts of money. Pochettino’s approach is very noble, and it’s wonderful to see a manager actually invest time in coaching and improving players, but I worry they might get left behind and be fighting for a top four place rather than for the title.
How will they set up?
Pochettino has always been a big fan of the 4-2-3-1 formation particularly as it fits the players he has at his disposal very well. Arguably his strongest line-up would feature Lloris in goal, a back four of Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Rose with a midfield made up of Eric Dier/Wanyama and Dembele.
Further up the field an attacking midfield trio of Eriksen, Dele and Son can play behind Harry Kane who links up with them superbly.
However, last season, Pochettino showed that he was not wedded to 4-2-3-1 and would alter his formation to make his team slightly less predictable. He would often switch to a three at the back formation which allowed him to fit Dier, Dembele and Wanyama all into the same team.
He used a 3-4-2-1 with Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Dier as his back-three. This allowed for a midfield two of Wanyama and Dembele with Alli and Eriksen playing behind Kane whilst Rose and Tripper both work as wing backs. This tactical flexibility should help Spurs this season.
Who are their key players?
To be honest, the entire first eleven are absolutely key for Tottenham. They have a first eleven that can match any other side in the league; their real problem is their lack of strength in depth.
Injuries to Kane, Dele or Eriksen would put a great deal of pressure on Tottenham as would any issues in central defence. I’d argue their most important players are Kane, Dele, Alderweireld and Moussa Dembele but the beauty of the Spurs is that they are work so well as a team that no player really stands above the rest.
How has their transfer window gone?
In a word, it’s been quiet. They haven’t brought in any big names and compared to sides around them, Tottenham have been very frugal. Pochettino has continued to suggest that he will sign players. He said this week that he is still aiming for, “a few signings.” The Independent have suggested they are interested in Riyad Mahrez, Ross Barkley and Jeremy Toljan with Football Espana suggesting they are tracking Valencia right-back Joao Cancelo.
All of these players would improve Tottenham’s overall squad but it does not seem as if Pochettino is looking to spend huge amounts on a guaranteed first team player. He seems relatively happy with what he has, and as I said I think it’s great to see a manager stick rather than twist.
Pochettino has done a brilliant job at Spurs and proven himself to be one of the best managers in the world. However, with a much tighter budget than other sides as well as a lack of strength in depth, I think Spurs might fail to improve on last season’s second and finish this season in fourth place.