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What Is Going Wrong at Tottenham Hotspur This Season?


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The 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers the day before Valentine’s Day was the third consecutive loss for Tottenham Hotspur, and the second time this season, Spurs had lost three on the spin. The loss was the first time a side managed by Antonio Conte had lost three straight games since he was in charge of Atalanta in November 2009. What has gone and is going wrong at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?

 

Wrong Managerial Appointments


Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Few people believed Jose Mourinho was the correct man for the job when Daniel Levy appointed him as Spurs manager in November 2019. Few tears were shed when Levy sacked the self-proclaimed “Special One” a week before the 2020-21 Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. If Mourinho was the wrong appointment, then what do you call Nuno Espirito Santo, a coach infamous for playing a defensive style of football who struggled with Wolves after a solid start to his managerial career.

 

Espirito Santo lasted ten Premier League games (17 games in all competition), winning five and losing five. Spurs only scored nine goals during those ten fixtures but shipped 16. Again, Levy wielded his axe and brought in Antonio Conte, who everyone, even non-Spurs fans, hailed as the club’s saviour. Even the best sportsbooks online thought Conte was the answer and quickly made Spurs one of the favourites for a top-four finish. It appears everyone was wrong, or at least the current run of form suggests that.

 

Conte’s record across his first 12 Premier League games is won six, drawn three, and lost three, for an average of 1.75 points per game, only 0.25 points more per game than Espirito Santo. Sure, Spurs have scored 19 goals and only conceded 11 during those 12 fixtures, but the team has a look of one that will struggle to finish in the top eight this season, never mind the top four. If a manager of Conte’s evident ability, a manager in his pomp, cannot get a tune out of this squad of players, there is something seriously wrong.

 

A Lack of Investment or the Wrong Investment?

 

Tottenham has a net spend of almost £220 million since the 2019/20 season, but the squad is hardly any stronger than it was at the beginning of that campaign. Some fans even argue the team is weaker following the departures of Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, and Toby Alderweireld.

 

Barcelona had Levy’s pants down when Spurs paid £25.8 million for Emerson, and while Cristian Romero is undoubtedly a solid defender, he seems the type of player who needs other good defenders around him.

 

The Conte-era signings of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski during the January transfer window got tongues wagging because of their Juventus background. Still, Kulusevski seems to lack pace, while Bentancur’s highlights so far are two bookings in his first three appearances. It’s early days for the new boys, but you get the feeling both will need some Conte magic to become key players in the final third of this season.

 

The problem lies in having four different managers in three years. There are players Mourinho wanted rid of from the Mauricio Pochettino days that are still getting game time today, or at least still hanging around on the fringes of the matchday squad. Spurs are crying out for a central midfielder, maybe two, because teams cut through the middle of the park for fun right now.

 

The Kane Saga

 

It surely is not a coincidence that Harry Kane is enduring one of the most barren seasons of his career after the speculation of him leaving before the campaign began. Kane has a mere five goals in 21 Premier League games this season, having scored 23 in 35 last season. The only time he has done worse is scoring twice in 13 games for Leicester City on loan in 2012-13 and three in ten for Spurs in the 2013-14 season.

 

The talismanic striker has 15 goals in 33 games in all competitions, plus another six in five appearances for England, so he still knows where the back of the net is, just not in the Premier League for some reason. He had 14 league goals at this stage last season, that is nine less, and nobody has stepped up to replace those missing goals. You can see the lack of ammunition he receives is frustrating him fully, and nobody would be surprised if he made a painful exit before the start of the new season. It could be a blessing in disguise because the current Spurs squad needs an overhaul, and Levy is unlikely to put his hand in his pocket to fund one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Please note the words on this page are the opinion of the topspurs columnist and are just that, opinions, not facts and are nothing to do with Tottenham Hotspur Football club PLC. Just a supporter having his say nothing more nothing less. Any commentary on betting is meant for discussion purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation.