May 19, 2016

Tottenham Hostpur 2015/2016 season review

The Barclays Premier League season ended yesterday and was very notable for three things:
  1. Leicester defying all odds (well, odds of 5,000/1 actually) and winning the league
  2. Aston Villa having the shittiest performance ever seen in the league and deservedly going down, hopefully never to be seen again
  3. Tottenham Hotspur being Spurs and handing the runners-up place to Arsenal on of the last day of the season
Obviously, yesterday's match against Newcastle was a horrible way to end the season but the overall performance through the entire season is still excellent. Most fans would never have dreamt of a top four finish this year, especially given the focus on the stadium and the fact that the squad is the youngest in the league. The fact that the team performed beyond expectations and played such thrilling football (most of the time) speaks volumes about the work accomplished by Pochettino since he joined Tottenham.

The counter-argument is that the team has performed horribly over the last four matches but that should not detract from the amazing results the teams got throughout the season and the fact that Harry Kane ended up as top goalscorer when he could not find the net in his first matches. There are many positives to take from this season and some negatives.

The positives 
  • The third position - yes, the drop from 2 to 3 was a huge blow but third position and automatic champions league qualification should not be scoffed at
  • The football - best goal difference, some absurdly brilliant football at times, there's a lot to like here
  • Outstanding performances from Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli, Moussa Dembele, Harry Kane and to a lesser extend Kevin Wimmer who was perfect when called upon
  • The team spirit - something which seemed to be lacking under previous managers but which fans can feel now
The negatives
  • Alli's and Dembele's red cards - they effectively ended Spurs' title charge which means Pochettino must find adequate players to cover them when they cannot play
  • No plan B - Pochettino is very good at coming up with plan A but still seems unable to tweak his tactics if the plan does not work
  • Jaded squad by the end of the season - new players are a must especially given Champions League football in the upcoming season.
One thing that baffled me during the last matches was fans constantly criticizing Mason when Spurs did not win. This is crazy because Mason was never deployed in his favorite position and this is why he could not perform as well as one might expect. In fact, Pochettino should be the one to blame here for not trying to buy players that could provide adequate cover in areas where the squad is still lacking such as centre forward and defensive midfield (although Bentaleb's injuries must have been a big blow). Hopefully, the automatic Champions League qualification will enable Spurs to buy the players they need to compete properly in Europe and in the domestic competitions.