Season Preview: #17 Tottenham
Despite finishing fourth last season – their second top four finish in three seasons – Chelsea’s Champions League final victory in Munich meant that Spurs missed out on a place in this season’s competition. Much has changed since the final day of last season as it is a case of out with the old and in with the new. Harry Redknapp was sacked following a breakdown in contract talks as well as a break down in relationship with Chairman Daniel Levy. Redknapp has been replaced by Andre Villas-Boas who gets the chance to redeem himself in the Premier League after he was sacked by Roman Abramovich earlier this year.
Spurs endured a torrid time, particularly in the second-half of last season, when Redknapp was involved in a court-case along with having his head turned by the England job which became vacant. At that time, Spurs were the closest team to Manchester City and Manchester United and were almost considered to be title challengers. Redknapp and his squad then began to lose focus, surrendering 3rd place having been ten points clear only to finish the season one point behind London rivals Arsenal.
Villas-Boas’ ill-fated spell at Chelsea did not deter Daniel Levy from employing him as the man to take Spurs forward and to build on what Redknapp left behind. Redknapp believed that he has left the Portuguese with a squad that can still challenge for the title in the coming season. Spurs do remain short up-front – Jermain Defoe is currently the only recognised striker with two day to go to the start of the season. A move for Emmanuel Adebayor looks to have stalled while the club have had a bid rejected for Valencia striker Roberto Soldado, although the manager has said that he will move Harry Kane into the first team. Only Jan Vertongen and Gylfi Sigurdsson have arrived, while Ryan Nelsen, Vederan Corluka, Niko Kranjcar, Steven Pienaar, and Louis Saha have all left the club this summer and in the next couple of days Luka Modric should become a Real Madrid player. After a 13 year playing career, Ledley King has retired.
Having had a relatively slow start at Chelsea last season coupled with his breakdown in relationship with players, it will be imperative that he gets off to a strong start with Spurs this season. Levy has put his faith in the Portuguese and another 4th place finish will be first aim (if not higher) but also a good run in the FA Cup or League Cup. Spurs might even be an outside bet for the Europa League – a trophy Villas-Boas won during his time at Porto.
Opening five games: Newcastle (A), West Brom (H), Norwich (H), Reading (A) and QPR (H)