What is Different About Spurs this Season?

"Tottenham Hotspur Stadium" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by diamond geezer

The new season looks totally different for Tottenham Hotspurs fans who had lost all hope six months ago. Spurs are not involved in any European assignments this season after their dismal finish last season, which saw the sacking of the outspoken manager Antonio Conte and his replacement Cristian Stellini. 

The Pre-season was full of speculations about who would replace Conte as a permanent manager, but part of it was also about whether the London outfit had what it takes to keep their talisman Harry Kane from the jaws of Bayern Munich. Fans were hoping for the likes of Julian Nagelsmann or Luis Enrique, two managers with top European pedigrees.

Eventually, little-known Australian Ange Postecoglou from the lower Scottish league would arrive and take the hot seat. Postecoglou had just won the league with Celtic, but few were convinced he was the right person to steady the ship, given his inexperience in the Premier League. Soccer Betway fans were betting on the new man not to last a season at Spurs.

Ten matches into the 2023/24 league season, Spurs were unbeaten and top of the table. Postecoglou was the man who was making Spurs fans believe again. Harry Kane was no longer the main man. It was a solid team of men marshalled by new captain Heung-Min Son. There was belief in London. Silverware was coming. Fans had fallen in love with football again, and Postecoglou was quickly becoming a cult. 

Hell broke loose

It was all systems go for Spurs, until two red cards saw them lose their first game of the season to Chelsea. It wasn’t the loss that worried Ange the most, but the loss of his new defense kingpin Van de Ven, and playmaker James Maddison to injuries in the first half. 

The 22-year-old Van de Ven has been a revelation since arriving at the Tottenham Stadium in a 43 million pound deal, partnering Argentine Cristian Romero. Spurs had the meanest defense into the Chelsea game, but his absence, or rather the interrupted rhythm, saw them lose three matches on the trot, conceding 11 goals.

Korean captain Son is the Betway favourite to emerge Spurs top scorer this season and may have taken centre stage player as a centre forward in Ange’s new setup, but credit to the playing unit that has seamlessly embraced Ange ball. Maddison has slotted into the team well after his move from relegated Leicester, but players like Yves Bissouma, Destiny Udogie, Kulusevski, and Pedro Porro deserve credit as well.

Ange Postocoglou emphasized the need for teamwork and self-belief among players after their 3-3 draw against Manchester City on Sunday, saying that he encourages his players to “take risks” in difficult circumstances. All that was evident during the match at Ettihad where Betway and other bookmakers favoured City to win easily amid the Spurs injuries.

Spurs better without Kane?

The season’s biggest question has been whether Spurs relied too much on Kane that they forgot to play as a unit. This argument holds a lot of water, given how well they have been playing without their former topscorer. Not to take anything away from Kane, but it is clear that players believe more on their abilities rather than looking for Kane to finish the job even in difficult situations. The recent draw with City was a testimony that Spurs can match any team, not only in the Premier League, but also in Europe.