Tidigt på lördag är det dags för ligasäsongens tredje raka bortamatch och det är inget enkelt motstånd vi ställs mot, det är förra säsongens ligatrea Tottenham Hotspurs som står på andra sidan. Efter två matcher har de tagit fyra poäng, bland annat efter en premiärmatch i Liverpool, mot Everton, som slutade 1-1. En som följer Spurs är Kevin DeVries(@kevrov), ledare för eminenta podcasten EPL Round table(@eplroundtable). Vi kontaktade honom för att få veta mer om var laget står i dagsläget:
1.Looking back at last season, what made you a champions league team?
Frankly, we took advantage of a down season in the Premier League where many of the big clubs fell short of the mark. Terrific timing aside, most of the credit should go to manager Mauricio Pochettino. He is known for his tough training sessions and through them was able to pull out the best from most of players like Harry Kane, Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose who all had career years.
2.The transfer window is about to close, how satisfied are you so far and do you think more players will come in?
I love the business we’ve completed thus far! I was a little concerned when we were priced out of a deal for Michy Batshuayi as we’d spent a lot of time scouting and recruiting him, but we were able to add Vincent Janssen with relative ease. Janssen won the Johan Cruyff award for best talent in the Eredivisie last season and is a terrific two footed goal scorer. Victor Wanyama was a significantly underrated signing by both fan and rival alike. He has been one of the most consistently good defensive midfielders in the league ever since he joined Southampton and his knowledge of Mauricio Pochettino’s style and tendencies has helped him settle in quickly.
3.How do you rate your chances to make top four this season?
Not very highly. The additions of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, and Antonio Conte to the already strong managerial ranks of the Premier League will make this season one of the toughest ever. We, at Tottenham, had a dream season last year with seven Tottenham players having their best ever season which is obviously unsustainable. Champions League football will be a delight, though it will also be a drain on our squad which will likely see us finish top six rather than top four.
4.You have four points so far, what have you learned about Tottenham 2016/2017 from the two first games? What do you think will be your strengths and weaknesses this season?
That’s a tough question as we have yet to really hit our stride thus far. Creativity has been an issue but I would assume the likes of Eriksen, Lamela, and Alli will get back to their 2015/16 form at some point this season. Our biggest strength will be our depth and flexibility. We managed to weave our way through last season without any serious injuries which was fortunate as we lacked adequate cover at several key positions. The additions of Janssen and Wanyama combined with the ever improving youth class (Onomah, Carter-Vickers, Winks, etc) means we will have our deepest squad in recent memory.
5.Last season we saw Dele Alli break through, who will it be this season?
Despite being at the club for several years now, Erik Lamela looks set to truly breakout in 2016/17. He was underratedly good last season with 5 goals and 9 assists and looks to be in fine form from the brief glimpse we’ve seen the last two weeks. The Champions League should provide the perfect platform for Lamela to establish himself as one of the most talented wingers in Europe.
6.It´s been a few years since Bale left now, looking back, how do you think the club handled the sale and the money coming from it?
Poorly. While it was an incredible amount of money to make off of a single player, I’d still contend that Bale was worth more than his selling price to Tottenham and less to Real Madrid. That to the side, Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini panicked in that transfer window spending the the first half trying to keep Bale and the second half trying to replace him. Soldado, Chiriches, Capoue, and Paulinho were unmitigated disasters and have all already departed the club. Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela were both terrific signings and are part of our core for both present and future so while we wasted most of the Bale money we did at least make some meaningful additions to the squad.
7.What are your thoughts on Liverpool and the game on Saturday?
It will be an interesting one for sure! Both managers prefer to play a 4-2-3-1 with a high press so both teams may largely neutralise each other as we saw in our match last April. The addition of Janssen has allowed Tottenham more formational flexibility so it is possible we could see a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 at the weekend. Mousa Dembele is out until September 18th due to suspension and will be deputised by the ever improving Victor Wanyama. Liverpool have been incredibly inconsistent despite the season being relatively new, while Spurs have yet to make it out of first gear. Due to the expectations of both clubs, one set of fans will leave this match with serious concerns about the outlook for the 2016/17 season