Premier League 2019-20: 3 reasons why Tottenham Hotspur will finish in the top 4 this season
In this Premier League era where title challenges are made with near-perfect starts, Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur side are not doing themselves any favours with a stuttering start to their Premier League campaign.
Many had anticipated - not least Spurs fans themselves - that after a flurry of impressive transfer window transactions the Lilywhites would challenge for top honours again this season. After stumbling only at the final hurdle of the UEFA Champions League, Harry Kane and Co had a lot of expectations riding on them this season.
However, things seem to have unraveled a bit for the Argentine's men. After a fourth of the season, Tottenham lie 7th in the table - having amassed only 12 points in their opening 9 games.
With Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool setting the pace with 25 points and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City chasing the Reds with 19 points, there are plenty of nerves creeping in within the Spurs' fan base. Many are worrying about their chances of making the top 4 if the current run of poor results continues.
The recent 7-2 thrashing suffered at the hands of Bayern Munich, along with the freak 3-0 loss away to Brighton followed by a 1-1 draw against whipping boys Watford, have not done the side any favours either.
However, despite all the chaos and concern surrounding this normally buoyant Spurs side, there is sufficient reason for believe that Pochettino will mastermind a return to the Top 4 come season end. Let's look at three reasons why we can expect Tottenham to breach the Top 4 regardless of their uninspiring start.
#1 Players returning from injury and new signings settling in
There is no doubt that the current Spurs side is a competent one. And having consistently finished in the top 4 the last four seasons, Tottenham didn't have to deal with too many departures in terms of players this past summer.
That said, they've had some really bad luck with player fitness. Injuries to a slew of players has meant that the likes of Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele are returning only recently from a spell on the sidelines, with match sharpness still lacking.
Others like Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring strain), Giovani Lo Celso (hip injury) and Christian Eriksen (dead leg / dead soul depending on who you believe) are still struggling to prove their match fitness. Hugo Lloris will probably not return from his dislocated elbow till about next year but when he does, it would be quite a boost..
With key players still trying to get fit and new signings still finding their feet in Pochettino's rather demanding system, the turbulent phase is not entirely surprising. Unless the Spurs suffer another slew of injuries, we can expect the boys in white to find a sustained run of form when fit and firing.
The core of a team which has achieved a top 4 finish consistently in the recent past remains intact, and the new signings will probably have a say too once they get used to their new teammates.