Opposition View: Tottenham 17/18 Season Preview

ARSENAL

It’s been funny watching Spurs this summer-  it feels a little like watching an Arsenal summer from a few years ago. It’s your turn to pay for a new stadium, with all the budgetary restrictions that brings.

The difference is that when Arsenal moved to the Emirates, they had an ageing team at the end of a cycle. We moved grounds in 2006, and the likes of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell and Thierry Henry all left between 2005 and 2007.

Spurs, by contrast, have a young team who they look capable of keeping together. The loss of Kyle Walker is not a substantial one, especially with Kieran Trippier in reserve. From the outside, however, it does look as if they could do with a reliable upgrade on Vincent Janssen as Kane’s understudy.

The x-factor is Wembley—how will Spurs cope with being away from home for an entire season? For that reason, I’m inclined to think they’ll have a little dip from last season, although I don’t think it’ll be sufficient from them to drop out of the top four.

Prediction: 4th

James McNicholas @Gunnerblog

 

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

Brighton v Spurs is a fixture that has rarely happened in my lifetime. One FA Cup third round game at White Hart Lane when Robbie Keane's brilliance denied us a deserved replay at Withdean, and one League Cup match when Mauricio Pochetino sent out your first team. Given we had Sami Hyypia in charge at the time, he could've played your under 8s and we'd still have been hammered.

So it's a step into the unknown. Much like your move to Wembley, which is going to be make or break as far as I can see. Tottenham have been excellent at home in your last few title pushes and that advantage has gone now.

From a Brighton point of view, Spurs away is probably one of our most anticipated trips. We haven't played at Wembley since 1991. Hardly any of our squad have either having mostly come from the lower leagues or abroad. The Wembley factor could add 5-10% to our performance levels and if that happens for every club - ie, the ones better than us as well - well it won't be as easy as playing at the Lane.

Prediction: You'll miss out on the Champions League because of that Wembley factor. But you'll still finish above Arsenal. You'll do the double over us and we'll sneak a 17th placed finish.

Scott McCarthy @WeAreBrighton

 

CHELSEA

Out of all the top six, Spurs probably needed the least amount of investment to take themselves onto another level this summer. Adding a few key pieces to the starting XI and some depth would have solidified Tottenham as a perennial contender under Pochettino.

However, the lack of investment (even in squad level players) means I am unsure what to expect from Tottenham this season. There is no denying that Spurs have a great 1st XI, but beyond that, the drop-off between someone like Trippier and Walker-Peters is significant. That will always be Tottenham’s Achilles heel.

I think the move to Wembley is going to be a tricky one to navigate. It certainly does not carry with it the weight of White Hart Lane and I would imagine away sides being comfortable, possibly even inspired, playing there.

Lastly, maybe not so much this season, but certainly going forward, can Daniel Levy really justify the wage structure he has in place? Dele Alli could be earning triple what he does at Tottenham, Harry Kane is easily a £250k a week centre forward and I would gladly give Toby Alderweireld £150k a week to play centre half for Chelsea.  You can bet that Kyle Walker is certainly promoting that the grass is greener on the other side to all his ex-teammates.

Prediction: Insofar as the season goes, it is difficult to call. If Tottenham adjust to Wembley, I think a top four finish looks achievable. Injuries will determine whether that is a title challenge or top four challenge. I think finishing 3rd and an FA Cup would be a solid season given the changes around the club. Ideally relegation followed by liquidation though. I wasn’t going to be reasonable for an entire paragraph…

Joe Tweeds @JoeTweedie

 

CRYSTAL PALACE

From a distance, it looks a very odd summer so far for Spurs. Loads of rumours but no signings. As a Palace fan I was delighted that the Zaha interest wasn't reignited, but expected more - if you don't invest in the Premier League you go backwards.

Spurs undoubtedly have a strong squad anyway but I feel without freshening up the forwards and replacing Walker, it would be a big ask to challenge right at the top again.

I’m looking forward to our games, it will be particularly interesting to see how our new style under De Boer fares against strong opposition. I still think that Spurs will invest towards the end of the window and finish top. Palace won't be challenging them, yet!

Prediction: 1st

Chris Hambling @Hambo1980

 

EVERTON

I've not really got much of a clue who Spurs have bought with the money they stole off Man City for the player Evertonians once thought of as "The wrong Kyle from Sheffield" - when we saw how bad Naughton was for you, we were made up, though.  Selling a defensively poor right-back to one of your (and hopefully our) main rivals has to be a stroke of genius though.

I like that Spurs will be playing at Wembley next season, and not just because Arsenal haven't lost there in, like, forever, or because Spurs seem to hardly ever win there, but because we'll get a massive ticket allocation and absolute smash it in Silverspoons at least once this year!  Won't have that "exclusive bakery" feel to it, though, will it?

Spurs are who Everton need to target either over-taking or at least emulating this season though, but you'll most likely beat us at Goodison as we suffer a European hangover, again.

Prediction: Top 4, while we stumble around fifth to seventh again. Be nice if we could play you in a Cup Final as well, we'd have a decent chance of winning against you lot at Wembley!

Simon Paul @nsno

 

LEICESTER CITY

Mauricio Pochettino probably had the hardest job of any Premier League manager this summer. Spurs' first team has been good enough to win the league for two years and needs very little tweaking to make that three in a row.

Depth is the obvious issue here, though, and convincing players who are as good as or close to what you already have, within the restrictions of a Daniel Levy environment, isn't easy. Newcomers know they're likely to be benched. Mercenaries won't get paid enough.

I do think the Wembley thing might be an issue this season, though, and rivals have invested well (it looks like at this point anyway).

Prediction: 5th, but at least to the knockouts of the CL this time.

Joe Brewin @JoeBrewinFFT

 

LIVERPOOL

As it stands thus far in the early days of August, lack of additions mean that Tottenham's 2017/18 season banks on internal player development and luck of the Irish granting an injury-free season to the existing squad.

Realistically, however, should things remain the same, Spurs may find themselves coming short of Top 4 as their contenders have added at least some quality to their respective squads. Fans may be left with the hope that "less is more" proves to be true.

Prediction: 5th

Leroy Mah @LFCImpulse

 

MAN CITY

I'm going to be brutally honest. I hate Tottenham. Tottenham have been absolute bastards to Manchester City down the years and, but for a few seasons under Roberto Mancini and the early days of Manuel Pellegrini's reign, there's been nothing but misery and despair whenever City have faced Tottenham, home or away. For about a decade, every meeting went the same way - Spurs scored early, City levelled close to half time and then Robbie Keane won it in the second half. It was entirely bleak for bloody ages.

It says something, then, that under Mauricio Pochettino, I kinda like Spurs. They've been great to watch and have played some very entertaining football in the last few seasons - which is also why I find it a bit odd that the club hasn't had a very good summer window so far. Kyle Walker is a loss, even with Kieran Trippier in reserve, and he's looked impressive in pre-season for City so far. Why hasn't the squad been built upon? Surely a bit of investment to a team that mounted title-challenges in the last two years could be enough to tip the balance?

Given how City have strengthened this summer, I'm again feeling confident (more fool me, this happens EVERY summer) that Pep Guardiola's side can finish top of the table. Spurs have humiliated City in the past, they've been tough opposition in the last few seasons, but it looks like they're treading water while everyone else is getting stronger.

They're not to be written off, but unless the thinness of the squad is addressed, they could struggle to keep up - especially with the demands of both the Premier League and Champions League.

Prediction: 4th and a cup final.

David Mooney @DavidMooney

 

MAN UTD

I'm on the fence about Tottenham this season. Personally, I think they have the best XI in the league when everyone is fit (even without Walker), but the lack of investment is alarming.

Signings are not everything, but only a fool would deny that Spurs would benefit hugely from three of four squad players, people like Nathan Redmond or even Solomon Rondon, to take the burden of unnecessary minutes off the star players.

Clearly Poch has been scarred by the likes of Sissoko, Njie and others, but he needs to make some additions.

The Wembley move has been highlighted as a potential issue, but I think it's been given too much importance. I feel the momentum carrying on from last year, and the fact they've played there before, should rule out any "Wembley-itis".

As with last year, I think Poch will and should focus on the league over everything else, but a few signings can at least push them into the first knockout round, which I expect would be enough for him.

Something which will work for them is the fact that they have a settled first team that is cohesive and comfortable with one another. They play the sort of football United fans (like me) wish we could play, and have a togetherness that is admirable.

Prediction: This season won't be easy for them, but providing they sell no one else, get in a couple of recruits and suffer no serious injuries I think they'll seal a top three finish at the expense of United, Arsenal and Liverpool, providing the perfect springboard for their return to White Hart Lane.

Wayne Farry @WayeFarry

 

NEWCASTLE UTD

Listen to Taylor's thoughts on this week's podcast.

 

SOUTHAMPTON

Hang on? You're saying Spurs have actually had a summer? In all seriousness, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have been so quiet over the close season, as it perhaps means that the desperate deals for wasters like Sissoko might be a thing of the past (I guess we wait until 1st September on that front), and that the squad you have is pretty strong in all departments.

The dilemma now is that without spending silly money, you're going to struggle to bring in better players than you already have, and we all know what Daniel Levy is usually like when it comes to writing cheques.

Kane needs some proper backup, but you're not going to find anyone who's good enough to fill that role who would also be happy to play second fiddle to him. Not a bad problem to have, mind you…

Prediction: 3rd

Steve Grant @SteveGrant1983

 

SWANSEA CITY

Spurs summer has so far been underwhelming. No new arrivals and Kyle Walker has departed, my major concern would be that if Harry Kane is injured your back up isn't sufficient. I'm surprised you didn’t go for Javier Hernandez, at £16 million you should have tried to sign him in my opinion.

I think it'll be harder for you this term. the Wembley factor will be a hindrance, you'll be everyone's cup final.

Prediction: 4th

 

WATFORD

I find Spurs a tricky one to call this season. The main talking point from their summer of course is that they haven’t brought anyone in, which nowadays is unusual, with the season just days away. It seems strange that they haven’t at least brought in someone, even more so when you consider the £45m sale of Kyle Walker to Manchester City, not to mention the rumours that Barcelona are sniffing around for the exceptional Dele Alli

Regardless of the lack of transfers, Spurs still have one of the best squads in the league. However, I can’t tip Spurs for the title due to one major reason… Wembley. The home advantage is spoken about in sport all the time and having left White Hart Lane last season, I worry about how Spurs will adapt to their new home.

We saw last season the difficulties that moving into a new ground can create with West Ham and Spurs didn’t exactly instil a mood of confidence with their Champions League fixtures at the Home of Football. It will really be interesting to see how they cope, if they hit the ground running at home and keep hold of Alli then there’s no reason why they can’t win the league.

From a Watford perspective, I’m thoroughly looking forward to an awayday at the Home of Football and it’ll be refreshing to lose to someone other than Crystal Palace at the new Wembley for a change.

Prediction: 4th and the FA Cup.

Andy Lewers @HornetsNestWFC

 

WEST BROM

It's been a pretty quiet summer for Spurs really but I'm not sure that's all that bad. Despite not winning the league, they were the best team I saw Albion play last year.

You perhaps need some more depth, but finding good players to sit on the bench is difficult. I don't expect there to be any competition between our 2 teams this season, although the games at The Hawthorns are normally entertaining.

Prediction: 3rd and League Cup winners.

Matt Evans @MattEvansWBA

 

WEST HAM UTD

It has to be said, until they came unstuck in East London (again), Spurs were pretty impressive last season.

At their best they were probably the most impressive team in the league. In fact, if it wasn’t for Chelsea’s remarkable consistency under Conte, they might well have done enough to ruin my life, given that I sit next to a very Spursy Spurs fan at work. They did of course fall just short, but surely now the only real progression would be winning the title.

I don’t doubt that Pochettino will make some additions before the end of the window, but he has a difficult job to improve his squad. He’s clearly settled with his first eleven, but it’s pretty tough to convince anyone to sign if first team football is not on the table.

Of course, the added factor of playing at Wembley will make life more difficult as well. Their form at White Hart Lane was as key to their success last season as their Wembley form was to them going out of Europe. They’ll need to get a big win early doors if they are to avoid this becoming a lingering problem mentioned on MOTD every weekend.

I expect them to be amongst it again, but at this stage other clubs seem to be making big improvements to their squads while they are not.

Prediction: With the squad they currently have I would probably have them at fifth or sixth, but I would expect Pochettino to make the necessary improvements to hit the top four again. I'm sure they'll be delighted with fourth as long as Arsenal are fifth.

Freddie Harding @freddie7h