Premier League preview: Tottenham looks to close gap to the top, again

Tottenham Hotspur has finished in top four for four straight seasons, but the side led by the ambitious Mauricio Pochettino is in need of silverware.

Premier League preview: Tottenham looks to close gap to the top, again

Ever since Mauricio Pochettino joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2014 from Southampton, the North London club has been playing top-notch football. Spurs finished outside the top four in the Argentine manager's first season but hasn't looked back since.

Displaying an aggressive style of play, the side reached its highest points tally of 86 in the 2016-17 season. England striker Harry Kane has been leading from the front and Pochettino has given him the freedom to attack at will.

What happened last season?

Spurs finished outside the top three for the first time in four seasons due to a late stumble last season. However, that could have have been due to the club's push for UEFA Champions League glory. After a stunning semifinal comeback against high-flying Ajax, Tottenham reached its first-ever Champions League final but fell to fellow Premier League club Liverpool on the final hurdle.

Spurs finally moved into their new stadium in April last year after temporarily moving into the Wembley stadium since the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

A stunning Lucas Moura hat-trick - including a last-minute winner - against Ajax took Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League final.   -  Getty Images

 

Transfers finally secured, but are they enough?

The Spurs hadn't signed a single first-team player since securing a deal for PSG's Brazilian forward Lucas Moura in January 2018. But the clever tactician Pochettino, who has expressed the need for more signings in the past, managed to balance it by not letting go of any important player since Kyle Walker, two seasons ago.

The club finally heeded to its manager's pleas by securing a club record transfer deal for midfielder Tanguy Ndombele who joined from Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon.

Later in the window, Kieran Trippier joined Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal, which was surprising to some of the team's loyalists.

Only on Premier League deadline day, Spurs completed the signings of midfielder Giovani Lo Celso on a season-long loan from La Liga side Real Betis, and followed it up with full-back Ryan Sessegnon from recently-relegated club Fulham on a long-term deal.

Deadline day recap: Tottenham signs Sessegnon, Lo Celso

Once again, Tottenham didn't make much of an impact in the transfer window and its manager was rightfully disappointed with his bosses.

READ | Pochettino: Transfers not in my hands

Transfers

IN: Jack Clarke (£10m, Leeds United), Tanguy Ndombele (£53.7m, Lyon), Giovani Lo Celso (loan, Real Betis), Ryan Sessegnon (£25m + Josh Onomah, Fulham)
OUT: Kieran Trippier (£20m, Atlético Madrid), Connor Ogilvie (free, Gillingham), Dylan Duncan (free, QPR), Vincent Janssen (£5.6m, Monterrey), Jack Clarke (loan, Leeds United), Luke Amos (loan, QPR), Charlie Freeman, Thomas Glover, Fernando Llorente, Jamie Reynolds, Michel Vorm (all released)

 

Will Pochettino and Kane finally win a trophy?

Players like Kane, Christian Eriksen, Heung-min Son, Dele Alli and Moura can produce moments of brilliance and turn the game on its head in a matter of moments. But these players can be lethargic some times. Above all, there is no back-up striker for England captain Kane.

Spurs' depth in midfield is second to none in the league with an abundance of talent in various positions in the middle.

It also has one of the most disciplined defences in the league. The back line hasn't conceded 40-plus goals since the 2015-16 Premier League season. However, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and the others, have let down during crucial moments last season.

READ | Pochettino satisfied with injury hit Tottenham squad after late arrivals

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris is still one of the best in the league among his ranks, but was prone to errors last season. The team lacks a shot-stopper who will give the experienced Frenchman tough competition for his place.

Tottenham has the potential to challenge for the title, especially if the team finds a consistent form throughout the season. Pochettino's men will also be looking to win at least a domestic cup in the upcoming season and end an 11-year trophy drought.

Premier League Fixtures

August

10: Tottenham vs Aston Villa

17: Manchester City vs Tottenham

25: Tottenham vs Newcastle United

September

1: Arsenal vs Tottenham

14: Tottenham vs Crystal Palace

21: Leicester City vs Tottenham

28: Tottenham vs Southampton

October

5: Brighton vs Tottenham

19: Tottenham vs Watford

27: Liverpool vs Tottenham

November

2: Everton vs Tottenham

9: Tottenham vs Sheffield United

23: West Ham United vs Tottenham

30: Tottenham vs Bournemouth

December

3: Manchester United vs Tottenham

7: Tottenham vs Burnley

14: Wolves vs Tottenham

21: Tottenham vs Chelsea

26: Tottenham vs Brighton

28: Norwich City vs Tottenham

January

1: Southampton vs Tottenham

11: Tottenham vs Liverpool

18: Watford vs Tottenham

22: Tottenham vs Norwich City

February

1: Tottenham vs Manchester City

8: Aston Villa vs Tottenham

22: Chelsea vs Tottenham

29: Tottenham vs Wolves

March

7: Burnley vs Tottenham

14: Tottenham vs Manchester United

21: Tottenham vs West Ham United

April

4: Sheffield United vs Tottenham

11: Tottenham vs Everton

18: Bournemouth vs Tottenham

25: Tottenham vs Arsenal

May

2: Newcastle United vs Tottenham

9: Tottenham vs Leicester City

17: Crystal Palace vs Tottenham