Despite dining at the top table of English football for generations, Tottenham have often been derided as the perennial ‘bottlers’ of recent times.
Under Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs finished in the top 4 of the Premier League and in 2019 made it to the Champions League final but their last trophy win was the League Cup in 2008. Sir Alex Ferguson’s quote of ‘It’s only Tottenham’ continues to hang over Spurs, as their habit of starting the season well but fading at the crunch end of the campaign haunts them.
However, with Jose Mourinho at the helm, serious investment in the summer of 2020 and a stellar new stadium, could this be the year Tottenham finally win the Premier League.
The special one
When Jose Mourinho took over at Tottenham in the Autumn of 2019, opinion was mixed as to whether he was the right man for the club. His tenure at Manchester United ended acrimoniously and he was tasked with picking Spurs up off the floor. Initial performances didn’t inspire, and Spurs laboured to a 6th place finish–40 points off the pace to runaway leaders Liverpool. Mourinho set about the transfer market in the summer, signing Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg to bolster the midfield, Sergio Reguillon and Matt Doherty in defence and Carlos Vinicius up front. And if that wasn’t enough, the romantic return of club legend Gareth Bale on loan, appears to have revitalised the squad. Tactically, Mourinho has displayed in the first 9 games that he is up for the challenge and he now looks to have the personnel to do the job for him too.
Successful attacking partnerships have long been the fabric of the Premier League: think Yorke and Cole, Lampard and Drogba, Henry and Bergkamp. Tottenham have long been searching for players to help an often isolated Harry Kane in forward areas and in Son Heung-min they look to have found their man. The pace of Son and his willingness to run in behind, is the perfect foil for Kane–who is playing as a traditional number 9, holding up the ball and occupying both central defenders. Whilst old-school in its approach, it has been hugely successful with Son bagging 9 goals with Kane netting a further 7, in just 9 games–to underline Spurs’ attacking potential.
With 9 games played, Tottenham are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League. They have won every away game played this term, suffering their only loss to Everton on the opening day of the season. Last weekend’s famous 2-0 win over Manchester City was a clear indicator of the progress made by Spurs this season and they will be looking to maintain the excellent start they have made.
The Premier League is a results business though and tests against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea will give them a real examination, but Tottenham fans are starting to believe that this could be the season they end their 60 year wait for an English First Division title.