Can Tottenham get back into the top four? Here's the lowdown on what's new at White Hart Lane...
With Tim Sherwood dispensed with, Mauricio Pochettino steps into the Tottenham hot seat and is the man now tasked with making sense of the undoubted talent on the books at White Hart Lane. Spurs finished sixth in a fraught season last time out that saw Andre Villas-Boas lose his job in December and with Manchester United expected to bounce back, a top-four finish won’t get any easier. Can Pochettino succeed where those before him failed and keep Daniel Levy happy?
Spurs look to be leaving their business late in trademark fashion, although several low-key signings have been made with Michel Vorm joining from Swansea. Ben Davies has also made the switch from the Swans and should be first-choice left-back, allowing Jan Vertonghen to move inside, while England Under-21 international Eric Dier – signed from Sporting - is a defender of some promise. Pochettino is the biggest factor though and much will depend on how he can change things.
Erik Lamela was signed last summer from Roma in a £30million deal and was widely expected to be the key acquisition as the man asked to fill Gareth Bale’s position with his more subtle brand of skills. For a variety of reasons, Lamela’s impact in his debut season was minimal and Levy will be hoping Pochettino can justify the significant investment in the gifted Argentine. At just 22, the Spurs No 11 certainly has time on his side.
For all the focus on a lack of goals from Roberto Soldado, the defence proved a particular problem at key points last year – conceding six against Manchester City and five versus Liverpool under Villas-Boas. Despite decent results, the problem was never fully solved by Sherwood – as shown by a 5-1 home defeat to City – and Pochettino will be relying on similar personnel. He will need pressure on the ball in midfield if he is to protect a shaky back line.
Sky Bet Title odds – 66/1
- Tottenham saw more players net a Premier League goal for them than any other side last season (18).
- Christian Eriksen provided more PL assists (8) and created more chances (68) than any other Tottenham player in 2013/14.
- No side recovered more points from losing positions in the Premier League last season than Spurs (17).
I keep reading that Mauricio Pochettino says there won’t be any more comings and goings but this is Tottenham we’re talking about. There’s no way Daniel Levy won’t get involved in the transfer mix-up by the deadline. They’ve got some good players but after letting Gareth Bale go last summer they bought a mismatch of players and no one replaced him. Erik Lamela was one of those who failed to live up to his price tag - although, I don’t know how they got up to a valuation of £30m for him – but he has everything there for him now. He’s got an Argentine manager, so there’s no language barrier, and a year’s experience in the Premier League. I’m looking forward to seeing him this year. I’m not convinced Spurs can break the top four though. They’ve only done it twice in 23 years and it’s getting harder and harder to do it.
Possible Spurs XI