Tottenham Hotspur Season Preview: Where will the Lilywhites finish in 2017/18?
For the first time since Arsene Wenger took over Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur managed to finish above the Gunners last season. Spurs have proved that they mean business and after many presumed they'd wither away after finishing third last year, they were the only side who pushed Chelsea last season.
Although the Lilywhites did not win any silverware to show for their efforts, they should not be disheartened and continue on the same track.
Champions League proved to be a disappointment for the North London outfit last season and they'll be hoping for a better run this season.
Despite all the talk, Spurs are going to find it difficult with all the clubs splashing money to get the players they want. Manchester City, in particular, have already spent more than £200m so far and they could end up spending more before the transfer window shuts.
Transfers so far
Mauricio Pochettino's side are yet to sign a player in the transfer market this summer. Although they have been linked with some players, nothing concrete has happened.
Spurs do not believe in spending massive money on a single player. They have successfully promoted a few talented youngsters in the last few seasons and have managed to keep the core of their team despite losing Kyle Walker to Manchester City. It looks like this season too, they will rely on their youngsters.
Outs: Kyle Walker (£50m, Manchester City), Federico Fazio (£2.72m, Roma), Clinton N'jie (£5.95m, Marseille).
The main business Tottenham have done so far this summer was to sell Walker to Manchester City for £50m. As the Premier League was drawing towards the end last season, there were rumours that Walker had fallen out with Pochettino.
Kieran Trippier did his best to make himself the club's number one choice for the right-back position. Subsequently, Walker made it clear that he wanted to leave and having sold him for a whopping £50m, Spurs would be the happier of the two clubs, I reckon.
Tottenham also decided to get rid of Federico Fazio, who didn't have the best time at White Hart Lane. Last season, Spurs sent him on loan to AS Roma with the option of making the deal permanent at the end of the season. The Serie A side were impressed with his performances and signed him permanently at the end of the season
Clinton N'Jie also had a similar situation as Trippier. The player was injured in December and returned to make an appearance in May. He was then sent to loan to Marseille with the option of making it permanent at the end of the season.
Probable starting XI
Lloris; Rose, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Trippier; Wanyama, Dier, Alli, Dembele, Eriksen; Kane
Spending money does not always guarantee success and no one knows that better than Tottenham. In the last couple of seasons, the big money signings have failed to impress.
The club is yet to get good value from their big signings which will be a cause of concern as last summer's signings -- Moussa Sissoko and Vincent Janssen -- have failed to make a mark at the club. Meanwhile, Eric Lamela, another big signing a few seasons ago, missed almost the whole part of the last season, and seems a long way off full match fitness. Having said that, Spurs have a strong starting 11 and a couple of good back ups who did a decent job when called upon last season.
The team's average age is pretty low, which means the young squad can last longer in the gruelling season than some of the more deeper and older squads in the League.
There is no reason why the players cannot play another season with each other. They know each other, they have good chemistry amongst themselves and most importantly, they are getting better.
The arrival of new players will only make things more complicated for Spurs. The players will take some time to settle down and getting used to each other.
While some fans may not be happy with the lack of the club's transfer activity, it is a sign of strength for the club.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been the standout players for the club. Kane, the club's youth player who emerged into the teams first 11, won the Golden Boot last season.
Dele Alli has won the PFA Young Player of the Year twice since signing for the club. In 2016, he was ranked 8th in the Gazzetta dello Sport list of the 50 best U20 footballers. In October, same year, he was ranked as the best U21 player in the world by FourFourTwo.
This shows the strength of the squad. There are more such players in the club's academy who are waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves to the world.
Spurs do not have any weakness as such. The centre-backs are strong, Trippier has emerged as a fine replacement for Walker. However, the club does lack experience in the squad.
The main concern for Tottenham would be playing at Wembley, though. The club does not have a good record when it comes to playing there. They have won just 2 games out of the 10 they have played.
Another worry for Pochettino would be the away form of the club. His side won only 9 games out of the 19 last season. Surely, if Tottenham want to challenge for the title yet again this season, they would have to improve their away form.
I can see Tottenham giving the other clubs a run for their money. They will look to challenge for the title this season as well. I expect them to finish in the top four and go further in the Champions League this season.
But a lot will depend on how they play at home this season. If they are able to change the history they have at Wembley, surely they will finish in the top 4, else I don't see them finishing even in the top 5.