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With the transfer window now firmly shut until January, we can now fully assess teams and their chances this season.
Obviously, everyone is talking about who will win the Premier League and which teams will get into the top 4.
Many pundits are 50/50 on Spurs’ chances of getting into the top 4 this season, after their remarkable season last season.
In this article, I’ll be looking at the arguments for and against Spurs getting into the top 4, and then make my own decision and whether they will or not.
Pro: Adding good signings to a strong squad
People have been saying that Spurs have had a quiet window, and automatically assume that, therefore, they’ve had a bad window, which is absolute nonsense!
Spurs didn’t need to strengthen too much as they already had the best starting eleven in the Premier League. Yet, the signings they’ve made have been very good ones.
Davinson Sanchez is one of the best signings this window. The young Colombian is coming off an incredible season with Ajax, and joins Spurs with a £42 million price tag.
Sanchez was named Ajax’s Player of the Season last year, and when you consider that Ajax possess the attacking talents of Kasper Dolberg, Hakim Ziyech and Amin Younes, the fact that a defender was named their player of the season speaks volumes of his ability.
Now that he will be playing alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, and he’s being managed by a fellow South American in Mauricio Pochettino, Sanchez will quickly become one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.
Spurs also signed Serge Aurier from PSG for £23 million.
When you consider a year ago that Aurier was linked to the likes of Juventus, Manchester United and Barcelona, this is a real coup for Spurs.
Especially with Kyle Walker leaving the club, the Ivorian is the perfect replacement. Though he’s only slightly slower than Walker, his strength and stamina is certainly better than Walker’s.
Fernando Llorente is a good signing.
A veteran when you look at the age of the Spurs squad, when you consider what Llorente has done in his career, he will certainly be and influential figure in the dressing room, and a person who can help Spurs push on this season.
Llorente is a natural goal scorer, and when Harry Kane is injured or unavailable, Llorente will be a perfect replacement.
You add these signings to the likes Kane, Alli, Eriksen, Dembele, Wanyama, Rose and Lloris, this Spurs team is certainly far better than last season’s squad.
Spurs fans are probably sick and tired of people going on about this ‘Wembley factor’ or ‘Wembley hoodoo’ that’s affecting the Spurs squad, but it’s a problem!
They’ve already dropped more points at ‘home’ this season than last season. Yes, against Chelsea, you could say that you would expect it to be a closely fought game and that it could go anyway, and Spurs were unlucky on the day.
Against Burnley however, it was an inexcusable performance. After Spurs went ahead through a scrappy Dele Alli goal, they switched off, and let Burnely get back in the game.
Teams like Burnley wouldn’t have gotten back into that game if it was at White Hart Lane, and of course, there are reasons behind this.
The seats are very far away from the pitch compared to the Lane, and that takes away a fear element that teams would have when they came down to Tottenham.
Secondly, the pitch is far wider. Though Tottenham play a rather wide formation with the wing-backs bombing up and down the wing, a wider pitch will inevitably favour the more attacking teams.
When the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City visit Wembley, they’ll be licking their lips at the thought of exploiting the wide areas with the array of attackers they have.
Spurs must find a way to stop this from happening, otherwise they’ll be losing points left, right and centre at Wembley, and this will certainly prevent them from getting a top 4 spot.
Pro: The Run-In
When you look at the final few games of the season, you pinpoint tricky games and it’s a time to make or break your season.
After a tough January and February, where Spurs play the likes of Manchester United, Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal, things are looking up for them.
Though they will still need to play Manchester City and Chelsea, there are a lot of likely mid-table teams that might be on the proverbial beach by the time that Spurs play them.
The likes of Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Stoke, Watford, West Brom and Leicester are all teams that might not need to look over their shoulders anymore and can relax, which will be of a big advantage to Tottenham.
Especially when you look at the other title contenders and their run in, they all need to play against each other or teams that will be battling relegation and will have everything to play for.
The run in might be an ace up the sleeve for Spurs.
Con: Champions League
Though everyone wants to be in the Champions League and it’s a great feeling to be playing in Europe’s elite competition, you also need a bit of luck.
Unfortunately for Spurs, they drew the short straw in this season’s competition. They’ve been drawn against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia in Group H.
Though many British pundits believe that Spurs can pip Dortmund to second place, it simply won’t happen. The way Dortmund have recruited over the summer and the style of play that Peter Bosz has bought back to them, it will be too much for Spurs to handle.
Which will leave Spurs in the dreaded third spot, as I believe they will be too much for APOEL to handle.
Europa League football after Christmas will be a nightmare for Spurs.
They’ve got a better squad this season compared to last season, and when you look at the teams already in the Europa League, there is a chance that Spurs will go far in the competition.
Obviously, that would be a brilliant achievement for Spurs, but it would be a hindrance to their Premier League preparation and this might go against them in their ambition to get into the top four.
When you look at all these factors and all the other teams around them who will be challenging for the title, I can see Spurs just missing out on top 4.
Though they still have the best starting eleven in the league, Wembley, whether you like it or not, is a big negative.
Teams will see it as a big day out and won’t fear playing Spurs, and the width of the pitch will be something that goes against Spurs.
But, why not put in a Europa League run?
With the quality of the teams in the Europa League, and the teams that are likely to drop down from the Champions League, Spurs’ squad will be far stronger than any other team, and that will be their ticket back into Europe’s elite competition.
Written by Sion Misra
Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra
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