Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tottenham are not a top-echelon team

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 14 Jan 2019

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On Sunday, Tottenham suffered a 1-0 home defeat against in-form Manchester United. I billed this game as the first big test of United since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United’s interim boss. However, United showed great determination and a brilliant second-half display by David De Gea sealed the points for the visitors. For the home side, the defeat continued a worrying trend.

Tottenham have a tendency to slip up

I really like Tottenham and boss Mauricio Pochettino, before anybody labels me a Spurs-hater. In fact, I would really like them to win the Premier League title in the near future.

However, I do not believe they will. They are a team with the potential to challenge at the top of the table but have never really gone the full distance. The team from north London always seem to ‘bottle it’ for a want of a better word.

They tend to lose games they should not and slip up at the worst of times, with the home defeat against Wolves a few weeks ago the perfect example.

A poor recent home record against their rivals

Tottenham have lost three of their four home games against fellow top–six teams this season. The only top-six team that Spurs have beaten at Wembley this season is fourth-place Chelsea.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United have all went to Wembley and came away with maximum points. All three defeats were by a single goal and in hindsight, Spurs could have yielded points from all of the encounters.

However, they failed to do so and that is why they are not currently a top-echelon team. Teams that win titles and trophies grind out those points, even when they play badly. Spurs attempted to go toe-to-toe with their rivals and simply were not good enough to take anything from the matches.

You could say that David De Gea had a great game for United. However, you could also say that Tottenham’s big players wasted good opportunities to beat the Spaniard. It could be said that Spurs only have themselves to blame for the defeat.

City and Liverpool ground out results at difficult grounds, that is why they are the two teams most likely to finish the season as champions. For a short time prior to the Wolves defeat, Spurs looked like they could be in the title race. That notion was short-lived, as they typically let their fans down. Despite claims of fatigue, again top teams find a way. Tottenham do not seem to have that quality within their team.

Top-four may not be enough for some

Considering the fact that Tottenham have a much smaller wage bill and have spent much less money on players in recent years, staying in the top-four in recent years has been a big achievement.

Spurs look set to claim a Champions League spot once again, with the north London club currently odds of 2/11 to clinch a top-four berth this season.

However, boss Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that the club needs to start doing things a different way. Many assumed that the Argentinian means that the club needs to spend money to progress. When pressed on what he means by that, Pochettino refused to clarify the statement. The fact that he has had little backing in the transfer market in the last few windows hints that he was asking for a bigger budget.

Pochettino is a bright boss and he has some bright players in the Tottenham squad. The Spurs boss recently committed his future to the club, but some of the current Spurs squad may get frustrated by the team not winning the big titles and decide to move on.

What would it take for Tottenham to become a top-echelon team?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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