The 2015/16 Premier League season is imminent which means it is time to look at City’s closest rivals around the top of the table to see where they are all at.
To start off, here’s the first part of our look at Tottenham. We spoke to friend of Typical City Jack Hussey who can be found on twitter and also on his youtube channel where he makes weird and wonderful videos about Spurs.
Hi Jack, thanks for coming on! Firstly, what are your expectations for the season?
Spurs to lose at home to Bournemouth and Norwich. Sergio Aguero to score against us at least twice. Loads to call for Pochettino’s head after we lose the opening game to Utd. More academy talent coming into the fold. Brendan Rodgers to coat us off in a press conference, only to end up with egg on his face. Loads of NFL enthused Tweets in the early hours from the Tottenham Twitter account. Losing 85% of domestic fixtures that follow a Europa League tie. Angry bloggers blogging angrily about the Europa League. Spurs to smash someone by three clear goals, playing beautifully en route. Spurs to get smashed by three clear goals, playing horrifically en route. Lovely little (probably League) cup run. Few glorious Eriksen free-kicks. Hugo Lloris to continue being Hugo Lloris. Spurs to finish 6th, or maybe 7th.
Your love for Harry Kane is well documented. His breakout Premier League season was astounding but there are legitimate questions as to whether he can repeat it. Can he do it again?
Entirely depends on what you mean by ‘it’. If it’s a question of scoring upwards of twenty league goals again, probably not. But is he a Marcus Stewart-esque flash in the pan? I think not.
Kane’s emergence took pretty much everyone by surprise, despite desperate revisionism from a few. “Oh you always saw a player there did you? Sure thing champ.” He was known at Spurs for a few years, but mainly as a figure of fun. Owing to his gormless expression and abysmal showings out on loan, he was cruelly sidelined into the ‘for bants’ category.
It’s worth mentioning that there have always been a few to champion his cause, most notably Chris Miller who from his time following the academy, has assured us that there has always been a player there. This gives me added confidence that this season wasn’t simply a flight of fancy.
Even after his impressive showings in the Europa League and super-sub heroics in the league, I was keen not to buy into any potential hype. But as the pressure grew, so did Harry’s stature and although it may sound like a ridiculous comparison, for a time he genuinely carried himself in a fashion akin to a certain Gareth Bale.
By this I mean that it didn’t feel like he was a player who was simply in a rich vein of form, happy go lucky and loving every minute of it until the goals dried up. It was the emergence of a young man who was keen to show everyone the fruits of his well documented labour and dedication to his craft. He was supremely confident, there was a clear purpose and real menace to much of his play, and most importantly he knew that he deserved to be where he was.
Toward the end of the season, as tired legs kicked in and defenders took extra notice of him, he did struggle and this is something we need to be very wary of. He’s not had much of a summer in which to relax after a pretty gruelling year, and at the time of writing this, Spurs are still yet to delve into the market for another viable striking option despite looking like we’ll be shedding both Adebayor and Soldado.
We saw enough from Harry to suggest that he’ll be more than capable of growing his game to cope with opposition teams taking him more seriously, but the club needs to ensure we’re not overly reliant upon what is still a raw and growing talent.
On a related theme, with Adebayor and Soldado off do Spurs even have enough players up front this year? Can your midfield and wingers pick up the slack?
Quite simply, no.
Bringing in someone like Llorente, to not only shoulder the task of scoring goals, but for Harry to learn from would be the dream. His experience and ability could make him a real asset for our side, whether or not he’s a realistic option for Spurs is up for debate however.
We’ve been heavily linked with Berahino, which probably makes sense in some respects. He’s young, English and could foreseeably command a higher sell on fee in a few years, thus fits into the revived Tottenham transfer modus operandi. As well as this, he has apparently forged something of a partnership with Kane during their time spent playing together at various levels of international youth football. How this would translate to the league, and where we’d get the chance to see it, is a pertinent question given that we normally play with one up front however.
Of course we’d need to contend with the inevitable hype that surrounds him, as it does any promising young English player, and this will lead to a wildly inflated fee were we to make a bid. But if the ever wily Daniel Levy can secure his signature for around the 15m mark, I wouldn’t be complaining.
There’s also the looming threat of Charlie Austin still hanging over us, which seems so completely and obviously Tottenham it’s almost a certainty, right? Which, if you can’t tell from my tone, I wouldn’t be overly keen on.
Christian Eriksen had a good year last season. Has he reached the ceiling or is there more to come this year?
I’ve always been a big fan of Eriksen’s, and I think it’s safe to assume that there’s definitely more to come from him. Many have questioned his habit of disappearing from games or looking a bit disinterested at times, which I’m not sure I buy to be honest.
It’s documented that he was one of our hardest working players last year, quantified in terms of distance covered. For a large portion of the season he was running himself into the ground, in a fashion you wouldn’t typically associate with a diminutive number 10 ‘luxury’ player.
Having come with a (mainly Football Manager/FIFA ultimate team/YouTube compilation built) hefty amount of expectation on his shoulders to perform from the off, many were on the fence about his ability to shine in the Premiership after his first year with us, forgetting that he was still essentially a raw talent adapting to life in a new country at a club in obvious turmoil.
This level of expectation has also certainly contributed to how few have lauded or at least noted his significant improvement last season, almost as if it were par for the course.
He’s by no means the finished article, but he’s one of the few players in our team that I’d say you could easily envisage playing at one of the four teams that finished above us, not to say he’d start every week mind you.
The Spurs academy is prolific. Any young players coming in this season who we should be looking out for?
The biggest certainty to feature will be Alex Pritchard returning from a highly influential season at Brentford. He’s another player like Harry Kane and Tom Carroll previously, who have been knocking on the first team door for a couple of years now, so it’s good to see that he’s at least fulfilled the promise to make the step up from academy to a viable Premier League option.
Remains to be seen if he’ll make a real impact in the side, or at this level, but it’s heartening to be even talking about it. He should prove a useful alternative to Nacer Chadli for Europa League, or League Cup fixtures at the very least.
Milos Veljkovic, having just won the U-20 world cup with Serbia, had been heavily tipped to start making inroads into the first team. He can play as a CB or a holding midfielder, but with talk of him now going out on loan for the season, this may not be the case just yet.
Midfielders Josh Onomah and the superbly named Harry Winks are two that you’re likely to see feature in patches this season.
There’s every chance as well that the English born, U.S. international defender Cameron Carter-Vickers may get a look in.
Finally, Pochettino seems to be having a huge influence on and off the pitch at Spurs. How important is he this season? What are your thoughts on him personally?
I’d personally always fancied DeBoer to take us on over Pochettino, but after the horror show that was Tim Sherwood, I was happy to have anyone (within reason) other than him in charge. However, over the course of the season I’ve become far more enamoured with the man.
You’ll see some bemoan his system, mainly because it’s reliant upon a similar inverted wing approach to that employed by AVB, but I feel that the similarities stop there (aside for them both being young and foreign innit).
Under Pochettino we appear to be a much more dynamic outfit, with suitable room for individual expression that is built within the confines of a very clear approach to each game. His heavy focus upon fitness training also gave us a clear advantage on numerous occasions last season, especially toward the tail end of games that may otherwise end in draws or defeats. Certain circles are oft quick to note him as being a ‘student of Bielsa’ like that really means anything other than trying to make themselves seem clever, but there’s little to suggest that he’s particularly radical.
For as long as I’ve been alive, Tottenham’s transfer policy has been slipshod to say the least, but with Pochettino it feels like we have a coach, and a system, from which you can clearly ascertain what types of players we need to make a tangible difference, which is pretty huge. Bringing in Southampton’s head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, along with his ‘black box’ system, is also a good sign that Levy is placing trust in Pochettino to expand his influence at the club, and barring any footballing cataclysms, should see us avoid yet another managerial axing and the subsequent upheaval it involves.
There are still question marks over his ‘lack of a plan b’, and as much as this is true in part, this also seems to be a criticism of pretty much every single top flight manager from their own fans, so it probably just proves that football fans spout the same endless clichés when things don’t go their way. Almost as fun as when certain football writers use the old ‘take away that player that scores all of their goals and they wouldn’t score as many goals’ hot take.
Big plus for me is his demeanour in press conferences, which is superb. It’s honestly a joy to watch as he refuses to take the bait from the baying jackals of the tabloid press, itching for a ‘Spurs in turmoil’ headline. If anything he’s usually batting leading questions straight back onto those asking them, making them look a right bell in the process.
All in all, seems like #decentbloke and a #properfootballman, despite being a clipboard, fancy Dan what don’t do 4-4-2.
Thanks again, Jack. Good luck this season… Though I hope Aguero keeps up his obscene record against Spurs and Lloris!
Interview by Alex Timperley