Transfers, Strengths/Weaknesses & Prediction: Tottenham 2014/15 Season Preview

Tottenham have such huge potential as a club, but have failed to fulfill it under several different managers. Harry Redknapp has been the most successful in recent seasons, qualifying for the Champions League and consistently challenging for the top four. Although the last two managers Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood had impressive win percentages, they failed to make Spurs a force to be reckoned with. The former was unlucky considering he was given little time to adjust after the huge influx of players after selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

Last season Spurs had an uncomfortable campaign after spending upwards of £100m on new players. A lot was expected quickly, but the players never settled and two managers were dismissed for the performances on the pitch. The players should be more settled in the league now and should be a lot better as a result. Also the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino will be positive as he will be able to get the best out of the squad with a style of football better suited to the players than the slow play of Villas-Boas or the gung ho approach of Sherwood. The Argentine did well at Southampton and his methods influenced by Marcelo Bielsa will lead to Spurs playing a high energy pressing, passing game, leading to attractive football which should lead to the fans giving him more slack.

They have had a decent pre season, but it’s difficult to judge a side in transition on a pre season. It’s even more difficult to predict on where they will be aiming to finish. Pochettino led a Saints side, filled with a lot of the players that played for the club in League 1 and Championship, to an 8th finish in the Premier League last season. That shows his ability at getting the best out of a squad and you would think at Tottenham he could lead them to the top four or higher, but he will need time. A season of stability, a cup run and a top six finish would have to be considered a success this year.

Strengths/Weaknesses

The midfield is Tottenham’s main strength as they have quality and strength in depth. Pochettino will look to play with two holding midfielders, and he has plenty of options there with Moussa Dembele, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Sandro, Nabil Bentaleb, Tom Carroll and youngster Ryan Mason all capable of playing there. In the more offensive positions, he could call upon the likes of Aaron Lennon, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Andros Townsend and Lewis Holtby. The options in midfield show the depth Spurs have, which will allow them to rotate the squad and compete in all four competitions they are in this season. Another strength is their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who is one of the best in the world. They have depth in that area too with Brad Friedel and Michel Vorm, who are both Premier League quality stoppers.

The defence may prove to be an issue as the players get used to Pochettino’s pressing style. Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul are experienced players, who may be unable to get used to the way the Argentine will want to play. Jan Vertonghen and Vlad Chiriches may be better suited, but to drop the captain and one of the vice captains would be a huge call from the new manager. Another weakness is their front line. Roberto Soldado has yet to get to grips with the English game, Emmanuel Adebayor is very inconsistent, while Harry Kane is still very inexperienced. The quality is there in all areas, but as yet nobody has managed to put them all in the team successfully.

Transfer Business

This summer has been quiet for a change at White Hart Lane. They have signed Swansea pair Michel Vorm and Ben Davies. Although they come with less fanfare than last season’s signings, they are solid additions who add depth to the squad and have Premier League experience already. Vorm will have to settle with starting the season at number two but he has the quality to challenge Hugo Lloris, while Davies will be favourite to claim the left back spot ahead of Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton. They have also brought Eric Dier in to add depth to the defence and he has potential to become a top player in years to come. They are likely to make one or two more additions with DeAndre Yedlin, Mateo Musacchio, Loic Remy and Memphis Depay all linked in recent days.

On the departures front, Spurs uses Gylfi Sigurdsson as a makeweight in the deal for the Swansea pair so the Icelandic international will be returning to ply his trade in South Wales. Iago Falque has left permanently for Genea, despite featuring early in pre season for Spurs, while Jake Livermore has made his move to Hull City permanent for a fee in the region of £8m. Gomes has also left the club, which isn’t shocking considering he would be 4th choice keeper going into this season.

Head Coach

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino is one of the brightest young coaches in the game, having been linked with the Real Madrid job in the past, it’s clear he is heading to the very top of the sport. The Tottenham job won’t be straight forward, given their underwhelming campaign last season, but the tools are there for him to be a success. He will look to play attractive, high intensity football. Record signing Erik Lamela is likely to play a huge part under his fellow countryman, while Lewis Holtby and Etienne Capoue both look like they will be brought back in from the cold. There is a lot of talent at White Hart Lane, they just need somebody to find the style of play to suit the squad, Pochettino could be that man.

Key Man

There is no one player that stands out at Tottenham and Pochettino will seek to make them work as a collective, making them difficult to beat and moving as one on the pitch. Although Emmanuel Adebayor, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris will all be key figures for the side, it’s Christian Eriksen who could shine this season. The former Ajax player had a very good debut campaign in the Premier League, scoring seven goals and assisting eight times, showing how crucial he is in the final third. It’s likely that Pochettino will play him in an offensive position, possibly the number ten role, allowing him to get up and support the lone front man, whether that be Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Dane improve on his figures from last season, especially under a coach like Pochettino. Eriksen’s strengths lie in his passing range, defence splitting through balls and his intelligence to find space in the final third.

Verdict

It will be a year of transition for Spurs, as the players get used to Pochettino’s style of play and the Argentine gets to know the players and his best eleven. They will be a lot better than last season and the players will be improved after a year in England, but a top four finish will be beyond them. They will certainly be challengers this season though. I expect Liverpool and Everton to suffer from European competition, which will give Spurs more of a threat for a top four finish. The creativity of Eriksen and Lamela will be key in their surge. The Europa League may become a serious competition for Pochettino as this year is the first that the winners will be awarded a Champions League place for next season. They will be challengers in Europe and they could even win a domestic cup, but a 5th/6th finish is the most they can expect in the league.

Prediciton: 6th

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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