Thursday, June 1, 2023

Tottenham Hotspur 2016/17 Season Preview: Can They Better Last Season’s Heroics?

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Yash Shah
A skeptical mystic who likes to channel his inner loneliness into drumming and dissection of football games. Dreams of watching Tottenham play at the new White Hart Lane. Has spent a majority of the last two years on foul-mouthing Moussa Sissoko and worrying about his receding hairline.

Tottenham Hotspur were left to pick up the pieces of what could have been the title winning season for the North London outfit as they finished third in the Premier League table. They mounted a Premier League title challenge only to surrender it in the last few games with some mediocre performances which highlighted the lack of experience in the team. After a heated Chelsea game, Tottenham lost Mousa Dembele to suspension after which they lost their way as the misery culminated in the most woeful fashion with a disappointing 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United on the last day of the season. Tottenham would surely be looking to replicate the achievements of last season and it will be difficult for the Lilywhites with the distraction of the Champions League.

Pochettino has undoubtedly built an excellent squad full of energy and hunger around a young squad and enabled them to play a really attractive brand of football. Toby Alderweireld’s arrival helped Pochettino shore up Tottenham backline. In addition, the emergence of Dele Alli to has been a huge plus for Spurs whose benefits have been reaped by Harry Kane. For the first time in years, Tottenham have managed to fire on all the fronts and have rarely put in as comprehensive performances as in last season.



Vincent Janssen – AZ Alkmaar, £18.6m

Victor Wanyama – Southampton, £11m


Federico Fazio – Roma, Loan

Grant Ward – Ipswich, £0.7m

Christopher Paul – QPR, free

Filip Lesniak – Slovan Liberec, loan

Emmanuel Sonupe – released

Alex Pritchard – Norwich, £9m


Tottenham have acquired the services of two really good players in the form of Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama which suggests a shrewd and measured approach by Mauricio Pochettino in the transfer market. Tottenham now has almost every position covered up by a decent backup option. In addition, there are no particularly weak players but there are some areas which can be upgraded upon with some investment.

Wanyama’s signing will bring much-needed depth to the midfield which Tottenham sorely missed last season. The fact that he knows Pochettino well can prove to be another big factor in the player’s development and can enable the Kenyan return to form after having a lackluster season at Southampton. Although he will not be a natural replacement for Mousa Dembele, he can be a decent defensive backup for the Belgian and can rotate with the current set of midfield. He is surely an upgrade over the current options available in the midfield.

Janssen too could prove to be a vital player for this Tottenham side. He could not only ease up the pressure on Harry Kane but also provide the England International some competition which could promote growth for both the players.


Pochettino probably won’t experiment with the formation after successfully using the 4-2-3-1 for the whole of the last season despite their being implications of a two striker system from the gaffer in the preseason. The Argentine will continue his brand of possession-based attacking football with intense pressing.

Hugo Lloris is the undisputable number 1 between the sticks for Tottenham although Spurs have a good cover for him in the form of Michelle Vorm.

The defensive setup will probably remain the same with Pochettino occasionally opting for Trippier over Walker to outwit the oppositions tactically in accordance to the need of the hour. The Belgian centre-back pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will remain the same with a worthy backup in Kevin Wimmer. The competition for the left back spot is also more or less settled but Pochettino may opt for the more defensive option in Ben Davies in some of the games over Danny Rose. The onus of width creation will rest on the full-backs to complement Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen playing through centrally. Harry Kane’s season will be highly dependent on Dele Alli’s who will be deployed as a fake number nine just behind Kane.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: Tottenham Team Manager, Mauricio Pochettino speaks to his team during a Tottenham Hotspur training session at AAMI Park on July 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 25: Tottenham Team Manager, Mauricio Pochettino speaks to his team during a Tottenham Hotspur training session at AAMI Park on July 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

It will be interesting to see whether Victor Wanyama manages to break into the first team on a permanent basis after having an impressive preseason. It is likely that he will partner Eric Dier in forming the midfield pivot for Spurs in the absence of Dembele but will have to work really hard to replace Dembele permanently.

The duo of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela will keep their place in the attack. Eriksen’s effectiveness is mitigated by playing him wide but the 24-year-old often drifts in and both Alli and Eriksen constantly interchange positions which make them quite lethal on the counter.

Despite two decent strikers, I expect Pochettino to stick with a single striker system which will probably be rotated in accordance to the difficulty of the game. Both the arrivals will enable Pochettino with good flexibility in terms of squad selection. Vincent Janssen’s will not only provide Kane with some much-needed rest but also a good option in case the England International shows some dip in form.

The young squad is now a year wiser and Pochettino must see to it that they don’t make the same mistakes again.  They must learn to grind out results when required and not venture to score more goals just for the sake of it.


The expectations will be running quite high among the Spurs fans. After finishing 3rd last year, fans will at least be hoping for a top four finish and maybe even the Premier League title after their failed bid last season. Champions League title will be a far-fetched dream but will surely prove to be a valuable experience for all the players.

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