Wembley a hindrance for Premier League’s most balanced team – Tottenham 2017/18 Season Preview

Having produced back-to-back Premier League title challenges, all eyes are now on whether a talented young Tottenham side can kick on once more.


When we play them: February 3rd (home); October 21 (away)

Last season: Won 2-0 (home); drew 1-1 (away)

Spurs have made giant strides under Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine making them the Premier League‘s most balanced team.

Third and second-placed finishes have been achieved in the last two seasons—they were the second-best team the first time around, too—and they are a young side full of potential.

The experience of Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen is vital at the back, while the creative magic of Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli helps feed the relentless Harry Kane.

A one-year move to Wembley Stadium could definitely be an issue, as well as a complete lack of summer transfer business, although they should be written off at your peril.

It may be tougher this time around, with rivals strengthening, but they are a superb team when they click.

 

Tottenham

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 11, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Players IN: None

Players OUT: Kyle Walker, Nabil Bentaleb, Clinton N’Jie, Federico Fazio, Josh Onomah (loan)

Best XI: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane


We spoke to Tottenham supporter George Lacey to get his thoughts on Spurs’ 2017/18 campaign, and how highly he rates Liverpool’s chances.

How optimistic or pessimistic are you for the new season, and why?

As of today, Spurs haven’t signed a single player—we’re the quietest of all the Premier League teams this transfer window.

After a very impressive season last term, Mauricio Pochettino and his staff are obviously convinced by the talent already at their disposal—and with money invested in the new stadium project, I don’t expect much more activity in the market.

If the window shut tonight, however, I’d have some concern as I do think Spurs need cover for Kieran Trippier at right-back.

They also need someone to play on the right wing unless Georges-Kevin N’Koudou is given a fair shot this season after showing early promise last year.

That said, Spurs will have to end their Wembley hoodoo quickly with Chelsea up first, as we move into our temporary home in Brent for the coming season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 11, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In addition, our title rivals have strengthened their sides, in particular Manchester City, who have assembled the most expensive defence of all time—signing Kyle Walker, France international Benjamin Mendy and Real Madrid’s Danilo.

Spurs will be fighting against the tide again as the big boys spend, spend, spend, but I have faith in Pochettino and his philosophy.

Aside from a slow start last year and enabling Chelsea to build on their early season advantage, Tottenham looked superior to the other 18 Premier League sides and can only build and take confidence from that.

What are your aims for the season?

The aim for this year has to be to maintain a title challenge after going so close in the past two years. However, I do think, as it stands, we’ll come up short due to the spending power of our rivals.

This is also the season Pochettino needs some silverware to show for all his hard work and endeavour since arriving in 2014.

A solid run in the Champions League is a must after a disappointing spell in Europe last year, too.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2016: Liverpool and Manchester City supporters walk up Wembley Way before the Football League Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Anything else that’s new for you this summer?

We’ve signed a sponsorship deal with Nike which is very unusual to see after years of watching the sports manufacturer support our rivals Arsenal.

As Spurs have stepped it up on the pitch, though, they’ve attracted lucrative sponsorship off it and our new-look kits and merchandise have proved a huge hit with fans already.

The sense of the club venturing into the elite is evident with better quality football, stadium and ethos now established after an agonising wait for Spurs fans.

This year we’ll be playing all our home games at Wembley as work on the Northumberland Park project continues. A brand new 61,599-seater stadium awaits Spurs when they move back to N17 for the 2018/19 season.

 

Wembley Stadium

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2016: The Bobby Moore statue before the Football League Cup Final match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 90,000

Away fans’ pubs: Fans often drink in central London, at pubs dotted along the many underground stations en route to Wembley Park and Wembley Central stations, and Baker Street is a good example of this.

Many fans also enjoy the many pubs near to London’s mainline railway stations, before making their way to Wembley nearer to kickoff time.

 

Liverpool

BERLIN, GERMANY - Saturday, July 29, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during a preseason friendly match celebrating 125 years of football for Liverpool and Hertha BSC Berlin at the Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How do you rate Liverpool’s chances heading into the season?

Liverpool obviously mean business having thrashed out money on the signing of Mohamed Salah, who I think is a top player. He can make the difference in any game and did so on many occasions for Roma.

If Liverpool sign Virgil van Dijk to shore up the back line, they’ll be major players in the title race, but I definitely see them finishing in the top four.

Keeping star man Philippe Coutinho at the club is a must, and equally important is getting Daniel Sturridge back to his best, who is as good as anyone around when he’s fit and firing.

If you could sign one Reds player to improve the Spurs side who would it be?

I’d have to say Coutinho. While Spurs are very strong in the attacking areas, I’d have to make room for the Brazilian, who is a very special player.

He could play for any club in world football.

 

Predictions

TIA’s Tottenham Predicted Finish: Fifth

Where George says Tottenham will finish: I think a top-four finish is where we will end up but I do worry about the strength of our rivals.

We have to turn Wembley into a fortress quickly and adapt to new surroundings to stand a chance of showing the same levels of performance as we did last season at White Hart Lane.

Where George says Liverpool will finish: Liverpool and Spurs will have very similar aspirations for next season. Realistically, both should be finishing in the top four.

I see it going: 1. Man City, 2. Chelsea, 3. Spurs, 4. Liverpool.

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