Football's fine line between love, hate and sarcasm

A flood of arrivals guided by the godly hand of Daniel Levy (at last in his own mind, I’m sure) caused virtual devastation to North London last year, and put paid to the leadership of Andre Villas-Boas and then Tim Sherwood. A lowly sixth place finish saw Mr Levy looking jealously up at Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City’s new messiahs with envious glances. Life was always going to be hard off the back of the loss of former saviour Gareth Bale – to Real Madrid, lest you forget – but £100 million is a lot to waste, which is what Spurs did last season, and disappointment wept from the stands at White Hart Lane.

TRANSFER ACTIVITY
Anyway, it seems as the Levy has now found a new messiah, and he will send him out on the water, expecting more than just an olive branch. To do this, Mauricio Pochettino has decided to bring players on board, two by two. Ben Davies and Michel Vorm came as a pair, but won’t be any/minimal improvement on Danny Rose and Hugo Lloris - a pair of keepers and a pair of left backs.

Eric Dier has also joined Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen, who are already in residence along with Younes Kaboul (barring injury) and Vlad Chiricheș; therer doesn’t appear to be space for the young defender from Sporting Lisbon. Dier will either be hoping for Vertonghen to move on, or will be looking at some serious time in the under 21 team; there just isn’t enough space on the boat for Dier, with two pairs of centre backs already there.

Aside from that, it’s all been relatively quiet for Tottenham. Though it perhaps shouldn’t be; with the failure of Roberto Soldado and the inconsistency of Emmanuel Adebayor (re-watch the City vs Arsenal game, he looks like the best player on the planet), another pair of strikers for MPoch to play snap with probably wouldn’t go amiss, though the emergence of Harry Kane last season might mean only one arrival up front is required.

It’s in midfield where Tottenham fans should really be troubled, with a lack of creativity from the central midfielders Etienne Capoue, Paulinho, Mousa Dembélé, Lewis Holtby, and Sandro, who did more loafing around than produce, and the wingers Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela, who were more flop than flip flap. Undoubtedly, Levy will look to strengthen in this area (and has began to, signing American midfielder DeAndre Yedlin from MLS outfit Seattle Sounders), though Pochettino insists there will be no more comings or goings; regardless of that, MPoch will be looking to turn these five loaves and two fishes into enough to feed the 5000 (or more Spurs fans - probably more), or these proverbial water carriers into wine merchants.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

He hasn’t been mentioned yet, because it would do Christian Eriksen a disservice to mention him alongside the failure of Spurs' previous season. A wonderful ball player, he will look to dominate matches even more this season. Their driving force, set piece taker and inspiration, Eriksen will be pivotal for Tottenham to make good on their ambitions. Pochettino’s white dove.

AMBITION

Ambition is a cruel word for Tottenham fans. They have been stung one to many times by Levy’s ways – and one time by a lasagne – to be fooled into thinking anything other than “let’s see how it goes”. Pochettino was brilliant at Southampton last season, and bringing him in without thorough Premier League testing was either a master stroke by Levy...or he will be gone by Christmas. You generally don’t get a middle ground. With the players they have lost, though, and with Manchester United probably going to be more competitive this season (they can’t get worse anyway), the top 5 and a good strong cup run would be great. For more practical fans, though, perhaps your ambition should just be for your team to play as well as Southampton did last season.

Finishing above Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and a newly reformed United? Well, in North London dialect: Nah mate!!! To finish above one of those, sure.

PREDICTION: 6th, good football and no sackings. Hallelujah.

 

       

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