After a 2-1 loss at the hands of Leicester City on Tuesday night; the pressure is mounting on Pochettino and Tottenham, who have only one win from their last five Premier League outings.
Although the team have been putting on reasonably good performances, they have struggled to stimulate any form of return. This is a squad who have dominated a tough Champions League group this campaign, having topped the group ahead of Champions League experts, Real Madrid and German outfits, Borussia Dortmund, but their recent performances have not mirrored their Champions League performances.
Although Spurs have been the most consistent team over the last few Premier League seasons, it can’t be forgotten that even with these consistent performances, they have nothing to show for it. The big problem at Spurs is their lack of trophies to show for their so called ‘good form’. Tuesday night, echoes of ‘Jamie Vardy, he’s won more than you’ bellowed around the King Power and at times against Leicester, Spurs looked lost and struggled to get anything going in the way of performances and impressive play.
But, are these current problems easily solvable? 90MAAT takes a closer look into the reasons behind Spurs lacklustre performances of late.
- Absence of Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama. Toby, sitting in front of Lloris has been the heart of the Spurs defence through previous seasons and this campaign too. His absence against Leicester was clear and questions were asked as to whether Vardy’s goal would have been scored had Alderweireld been playing. Also, Wanyama is a huge loss for Spurs. They started with Dembele and £30million Moussa Sissoko agsinst the Foxes and questions still loom over Sissokos’ transfer fee and as of yet, he’s not really returned. Wanyama is a demanding and controlling centre midfielder and without him and Alderwiereld, Spurs are missing a vital core and these two players are of paramount importance to a good Spurs performance.
- Sale of Kyle Walker. As mentioned, Spurs are lacking trophies and on the basis of recent Premier League campaigns, should be pushing to win the league. To sell one of your best players to title rivals is ludicrous. Yes, the player might have wanted the move but the main reason behind this is firstly the lack of a pay package and secondly, the lack of trophies which brings this article to an important point.
- Will Daniel Levy spend the money required? The above point brings us to this – in all respect to the Tottenham chairman, he has done an incredible job with Spurs. However, his generosity with regards to transfers and wages is well outside the top 5 bracket – look at how much City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are paying in terms of transfers and wages – it makes it difficult for Spurs to hold onto players who have the sheer quality some of their players’ posses.
- Do Spurs seize a valuable bench in order to succeed? A side from Son, who deserves a place in the starting squad, do they really have better players to bring on? Upon the final whistle against Leicester – Kane, Alli, Son, Llorente and Lemela were on the field of play and these substitutions failed to produce anything special.
- If Kane doesn’t score, who scores? This is a big factor, especially in the last 5 games. Spurs have only managed to find the back of the net on three occasions in their last five games. Kane with two of these goals and Son with the other. Kane has scored 10 of Spurs 22 Premier League goals, with Alli and Eriksen joint 2nd on goals, with three each. Pochettino bought Llorente in to find the net, and although he hasn’t been given a major chance, when he has had his opportunities, he has not taken them.
- Alli and Eriksen’s performances have not been up to scratch. The above point would be solved by these two in previous seasons but they are just not performing to the standards that we are all used to seeing. Although they have provided 6 goals, questions have been asked around their performances. Eriksen has failed to produce any form which we have seen recently in his International performances and there may be simply too much pressure on young Deli Alli.
- Do Spurs turn up to games complacent? Due to recent top 4 success, Spurs and fans alike turn up to games expecting to win but this is the Premier League and winning doesn’t happen easy. They drew 1-1 with an out of form West Bromwich Albion side last weekend and lost a North London derby 2-0 the weekend before. Crystal Palace gave them a scare after their loss to title rivals, Manchester United and the team should know by now, in order to win in the Prem, you must win the hard way.
- Lack of a leader and lack of fight. I’m not sure whether there is a natural leader in the Spurs side, watching against Leicester nobody took control and guided their team – and it looked as though they weren’t up for the fight when they went 2-0 down. On both Leicester goals players just stood lifeless and disheartened after the ball hit the net and a leader is missing alongside a passion and desire to win a performance.
- Problems playing at Wembley? This season, Tottenham have lost to Chelsea and lost points against Burnley, Swansea and West Bromwich at home. There have been constant questions asked about their ability to play on a Wembley surface and the results at Wembley have been far from pretty, aside from a 4-1 victory against Liverpool.
Spurs and Pochettino currently sit 7th with 24 points after 14 games. Spurs certainly do have the squad to perform in the Premier League as we have seen in recent campaigns. However, with their current lack of goals and lack of fight, they are not sitting pretty currently and their next three performances, against Watford, Stoke and Brighton respectively are a great chance to get their campaign back on track and back into the top 4, where they are so used to being. If they continue to struggle, they may find themselves on a constant downward spiral and finishing out of the top 4, only time will tell in North London.
Written by Eamon Kitching.