It appears Tottenham are repeating the same mistakes made last season, but will they suffers as a result come next May?
Between the start of September and the end of April last season, Tottenham Hotspur won 19 and drew nine of their 31 Premier League matches, giving them a points-per-game ratio of 2.13.
Had Mauricio Pochettino’s men been running at the same rate across all 38 matches, they would have finished the campaign on 81 points — or, in other words, the same amount as champions Leicester City.
Despite Tottenham exceeding the expectations of everyone, even their own supporters, last season it would’ve been a disappointment to finish behind Leicester City after coming so close, especially after finishing above the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea so comfortably.
Five points from their opening three games is not a bad return given the fixtures they were presented with, facing Everton, Crystal Palace and Liverpool but the more worrying matter is the manner of Tottenham’s performances, looking flat and far from the energetic side that looked like potential title winners at times last season.
Everton were the better side on the opening day for 70 minutes at least before they ran out of gas. Crystal Palace were defeated at White Hart Lane through a late Victor Wanyama header although the Eagles were unfortunate to leave the game empty handed after pushing Tottenham to the very end before Liverpool let Tottenham off the hook and should’ve left with all three points.
Despite being undefeated and finishing each of the three games strongly they haven’t been able to put on a performance for 90 minutes.
The form of Harry Kane is a concern given the fact he is the club’s main goal scorer. He looked well off the pace at the Euros and again for England during the recent international break and the fact he has failed to find the net this term will be a worry for Spurs supporters especially with it taking seven games to score his first last term.
The likes of Vincent Janssen, Christian Eriksen, Deli Alli and Erik Lamela will have to fill the void while the Tottenham number 10 finds his feet again, but they as well as Spurs fans hope this is a quick process.
Another factor could be the absence of Moussa Dembele in the Spurs midfield due to suspension. His energy and ability to glide past players in the middle of the pitch is a massive asset. Manager Pochettino joked in the past week saying “without Dembele we don’t exist.” And whilst it was tongue and cheek, there is an element of truth in it.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see an upturn in results if they are able to get a fit and ready Dembele back in the side as soon as possible.
Pochettino’s style of play demands intensity on and off the ball, but this will also lead to burnout so after a summer of international tournaments and a packed pre season schedule that saw trips to Australia and Norway, could the team be feeling the effects already?
The short term pain is for the long term gain, so players may be drained as they work towards getting to the kind of fitness and energy levels that saw them chase every game until the final minute.
But they will need to be quick about it as their rivals won’t hang about waiting for them. The likes of Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea have all taken maximum points whilst the improvement in squad of the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool means that the title race and race for top 4 will be harder than ever and you won’t want to be playing catch up so early.
Last season Leicester forced their way to the top table as the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea sat by and watched outside of the top 4. This year both will be looking to not only break the top 4 but also challenge for the title.
Places are getting scarce in the top 4 and having only just made it back in, Tottenham won’t want to be the ones to miss out.