Premier League Reload - Matchday 8Oct 10
Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.
Hope! It’s been a while. Nice to see you, old friend. That’s a bit unfair, there was briefly some hope under He Who Shall Not Be Named. At least, if you didn’t look too closely at the underlying numbers.
Nuno Espírito Santo has arrived with smiles and optimism and a clear plan. His early focus in pre-season has been on developing strength and intensity and his early tactics show a tendency towards 4-3-3 with spiky, aggressive attacking at pace.
The transfer business so far and links (which, admittedly, have yet to come to fruition in some cases) have all been promising and seem to address the squad’s key weaknesses, and the rumoured exits are all, bar the obvious, ones which most fans would happily accept.
And I think that genuinely does give us some hope. We have a talented squad and punching our weight should see us do okay. If Nuno Espirito Santo can have us doing any more than that then we might be in for a season which is more than just good vibes.
Harry Kane leaving would obviously be very bad news, but Harry Kane leaving late in the window would be even worse.
I think if you accept that Kane is leaving and build a squad around coping without him, you can get by. But we absolutely do not want the rug pulled from our preparation at the last minute.
That aside, whilst the Europa Conference League presents a good opportunity to win a trophy, the gruelling schedule will be tricky to manage unless Nuno indulges in some major rotation.
Last season some of our key players played match after match after match with limited rest; it really showed by the end and there were some noticeably tired legs.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was the player who this most obviously impacted and hopefully the re-introduction of Oliver Skipp will stop this reoccurring.
Most important player
Harry Kane is our talisman, best player, and he consistently delivers ridiculous numbers. We have a reasonable supporting cast, especially our beloved Son Heung-min, but those numbers would have to be replaced in some way were we to sell him.
We have other important players too, and I think Tanguy Ndombele is worth a mention here. We’ve seen glimpses of his ludicrous talent but he splits the fanbase.
My view is that he’s largely been okay-to-good, occasionally brilliant, but that last season’s system did not get the best out of him.
If Nuno can tweak things to better suit him, I truly believe he could become one of the league’s best players.
Oliver Skipp returns from his highly successful loan spell at Norwich, where he played at the base of their midfield: collecting the ball, distributing it efficiently, and helping to break up play when out of possession.
But Skipp is more than just a sitting player and he was often utilised in a box-to-box role in his youth career.
He’s a very capable all-rounder, and he returns from Norwich a physically stronger player who has more belief in his own capability. I expect a big season for him.
Things are really bright on the youth front for Spurs right now with Academy players Dane Scarlett, Alfie Devine and Nile John all showing enormous promise.
What I’ve missed the most
A pint at The Beehive, a couple more at the Antwerp Arms, the approach to the stadium, shiny and imposing.
The view of the pitch, the increasing hubbub as it fills up. And then, as the song goes: the whistle goes, the cockerel crows and now we're in the game, it's up to you, you lilywhites to play the Tottenham way.
The sound of the seats clacking as everyone stands to watch an attack and the roar as a goal hits the net; it’s been too long.
Much depends on the transfer window, but let’s go with 5th.
Manchester United seem to be strengthening well and they’ve had a continuous upwards trajectory whilst we’ve faltered, but we can give them a run for their money with some smart transfer business and a fair wind.
If Kane stays, we can absolutely take 4th.