Courtesy of: The Telegraph UK
The 2019/2020 season for Tottenham Hotspur so far has been a mix of good and bad. Before the season started, it looked to be a new fresh start for Spurs as new transfers, like Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, and Ryan Sessegnon, joined the club. The squad had finally settled in their new and dazzling 1 billion pound stadium, and it was going to be their 5th season under head coach, Mauricio Pochettino. The team was looking to improve from last season by winning a trophy and advancing on from their Champions League final loss against Liverpool.
On paper, Spurs were a threatening team; however, on the field, the players didn’t show their quality. The same players that performed incredibly during the 2015/16 season, started to decrease in form. Dele Alli was lethargic and slow in the midfield, Christian Eriksen had a massive dip in form as many people started to question his loyalty to the club, and the entire defense was disorganized, letting in goals left and right. The start of the season was one of Spurs’ worst starts in the Premier League season as the team only managed to pick up 17 points out their first 14 games. They dropped to 14th place in the league table, which was 10 places away from where they finished last season. Other teams continued their form from last season like Liverpool, who comfortably gathered 40 points in their first 14 games, winning all of them and drawing once against Manchester United. Spurs’ shocking form did not only happen in the Premier League, but it continued in the Champions League and in the League Cup. Spurs tied to Olympiacos and shockingly lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich. In the League Cup, they lost to a League 2 side, Colchester United, on penalties. Fans and the public started to question what was happening behind the scenes, and no one was sure what started the fall of Tottenham Hotspur.
Kelvin Le (22’), a Manchester City fan, has his own view on Tottenham’s downfall. Le says, “[Spurs] weren’t able to replicate their form moving to the new stadium and managerially their coach was not doing very well.”
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Tottenham Hotspur announced the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, the head coach who had managed Spurs for 5 years, bringing a Spurs side that lacked character and ambition to making them title challengers and Champions League finalists. Despite Spurs’ atrocious form, everyone was appalled and shocked by the decision of the chairman, Daniel Levy. Many fans felt that Pochettino should have been given more time to work with the team.
However, Levy certainly felt that the decision was needed. In a club statement, he told the press and the public, “Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and the beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing” were the main reason why he and the board decided to fire their head coach.
After only a day, Levy hired José Mourinho, one of football’s greatest managers, who has won 20 trophies all across Europe. Mourinho has won 3 Premier League titles with Chelsea, 2 Champions League titles for FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. Mourinho had recently left Manchester United after a run of poor results, but even at United he won trophies, the Europa League and the League Cup.
Despite Mourinho’s success, there are still skeptics. Le says hiring Mourinho “is actually pretty detrimental considering they were a team with a bright future but have hired a declining washed up manager with a bad style of football.”
After the appointment of Mourinho, Spurs had a game against West Ham. Spurs won that game 2-3, picking up their first Premier League win in over 2 months. The best moment of the season came during the Olympiacos game. Spurs were down 2-0 , but Dele Alli tapped the ball into the back of the net right before the half ended. At the beginning of the second half, quick thinking from the ball boy and Lucas Moura combined to force a goal. The comeback was made complete when Serge Aurier smashed the ball in the back of the net. And finally Harry Kane finished the game with a header to make it 4-2.
Speaking of the Champions League, Spurs have recently drawn with Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig, who are number one in their league. However, the knockout stages of the Champions League won’t start until two months later on February 19th.
This past Sunday, Spurs came back in the 91st minute from a Jan Vertonghen header to win the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers. After 5 league games, Tottenham has jumped from 14th place to 5th place. Spurs’ next game is against Chelsea, who are only 3 points ahead of them. A win against José Mourinho’s former side would mean that Spurs would return to the top four. The game between the two London sides on Sunday is bound to be packed with action and excitement. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out for Tottenham under Mourinho.