Premier League 2019-20: Is it the end of an era for Tottenham Hotspur?
- Spurs seem to have hit a dead end. Is it time for Mauricio Pochettino and The Lilywhites to part ways?
Five years ago, Mauricio Pochettino joined Tottenham Hotspur when the club was going through a bad phase. They had failed to qualify for the Champions League and their squad looked bad even after the heavy investment made using the money from Gareth Bale's sale to Real Madrid.
Since then, Pochettino has transformed Spurs. In his five seasons at the club, he has finished in the top four on four occasions. Spurs challenged for the title in 2015-16, something the club had not done since the 1960s. In 2016-17, they finished as runners-up in the title race and collected a club record 86 points. Last season, he led Spurs to a Champions League final.
This season was supposed to be the next step in their progress. They had finally got themselves a new stadium and signed exciting young players like Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon during the summer transfer window. It looked like Spurs were finally ready to make a push for the Premier League title again, but things have turned out in a different way.
Tottenham's bad form can be judged by the fact that their last away win in the league came in January 2019. Since then, they have failed to win a single game away from home. Even last year, after a good start, Spurs finished just a single point ahead of Arsenal in 4th place.
After 12 games played in the league, Spurs are languishing in 14th place with 14 points. They have not won any of their last 5 league matches and have struggled for form, whilst their star players are not performing and look disinterested. Pochettino's rigidness with his favoured diamond formation has become evident during this rough phase. He has made his team play the 4-4-2 formation even though the players he has at his disposal don't really seem to be getting to grips with it.
Tottenham's squad has also been struggling with injuries to multiple players which has been accentuated by the intense work rate Pochettino demands of them in training as well as during the game.
Another major cause of such a dismal run is the lack of investment made over the last couple of years. Tottenham's core has remained the same for the last four years. They finally made good signings this summer but these signings seem to have come a year too late. This summer, players like Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderwield wanted to leave with their contracts running down.
Their desire to leave can be attributed to the feeling that they have not been rewarded properly by the club for their efforts. Tottenham have a very tight wage structure due to which they are not paying their important players the kind of salaries other big clubs pay.
This seems to have finally affected the team morale which is reflected in their disjointed performances. They did not get their desired moves and that seems to have impacted their performances this season. Other important players like Dele Alli, Eric Dier, and Davinson Sanchez seem to have stalled and haven't kicked on a lot.
The squad needs an overhaul to compete again and it remains to be seen if Daniel Levy will be open to financing such a major operation.
Tottenham have undoubtedly made huge progress under Pochettino in the last five years. But, now they seem to have come back to where they started from. It will be interesting to see which direction they decide to move in now.
The coming months will go a long way in deciding whether they fade away or they come back fighting, as it looks like this era may be coming to an end. Tottenham Hotspur's fans must hope that a new one begins soon.Published 19 Nov 2019, 15:12 IST