European turmoil: can Tottenham Hotspur turn it around?
Tottenham Hotspur may be fairing considerably well in a Premier League season that promises to be hotly contested but it is in Europe where after 3 games they're clinging on to dear life. Despite last season's heroics in the UEFA Champions League, which saw them get a credible four points from eventual winners Real Madrid, Spurs have only managed a single point after a somewhat nervy draw away to PSV Eindhoven.
They still have 3 games to turn it around starting with the reverse against the Dutch champions but will need to dig deep and show some of the pure determination that saw them pip Los Blancos to top spot in group H last season.
Most fans will be anticipating a comeback but will also be cautious with the unsatisfactory group exit of two years ago still fresh in the memory. Despite being paired with Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and regular Russian participants CSKA Moscow, the Lilywhites could only muster two wins against CSKA either side of two home losses against Monaco and Leverkusen respectively.
The task this season is a lot more sizable considering that they'll need to get maximum points from games against the aforementioned PSV, Inter Milan and a trip to the Camp Nou against Barcelona, which is never an easy task.
Spurs' recent home form domestically could stand them in good stead, and in recent times their European form at Wembley has been decent, barring the Lionel Messi materclass a few weeks ago.
The completion of their new stadium early next year may also require the team to undergo a bit of a bedding in period, but whether that would include Champions League football or the lower tier Europa League come February 2019 remains to be seen.
The complete lack of signings has shown to be detrimental to the team when it comes to squad depth, with the absence of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen starving the team of a bit of creativity and verve going forward.
Their absence also left talisman Harry Kane starved of service and isolated in certain matches. But with the Danish player's return in the Netherlands and the expected return of the languid English playmaker will hopefully bring with it a change in European fortunes.
The return to fitness of Eriksen has proven to be a much-needed fillip as he provided a superb assist for their 2nd goal in the Netherlands. Kane is gradually getting back among the goals and Alli should be fit in time for the visit of Inter to the Wembley Stadium.
Spurs can at least take some solace in the fact that since the 2003 edition, seven teams have advanced despite having an inauspicious start, with three of those teams coming from England (Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle).
This could go down as one of the greatest European comebacks of all time or it could be just another blot in the North London club's modest but laudable recent European record.