Tottenham: Four ways it could all go wrong

Everything seems to be going swimmingly for Spurs right now. However, their fans will still have some worries at the back of their minds.


It’s been a roller-coaster of a season for Tottenham fans so far. 

While their league campaign started slowly enough with a couple of poor home fixtures against Chelsea and Burnley, Spurs now find themselves comfortably in the top four in the Premier League. 

With Manchester City putting fresh air between themselves and the rest of the teams in the league, Mauricio Pochettino will be happy that his team are fighting it out for a second place finish with Manchester United.

To top it off, a win at home against Real Madrid – even a beleaguered Real Madrid – makes it feel as though the club are on the cusp of something really special.

Spurs wouldn’t be Spurs, though, without there being a cloud to shadow the silver linings. Jon Mackenzie has picked four ways that the wheels could come off for Spurs in the near future. 

  1. 1 Injuries to key players


    There are few people who would argue that Spurs have one of the most exciting squads in the Premier League right now - if not the world. With Hugo Lloris in goal, a defence containing Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in midfield and Harry Kane up front, it's hardly surprising they are flying.

    What is worrying, though, is that each of these players is integral to the way Mauricio Pochettino's team plays and, with a couple of injuries to these players, the finely-tuned mechanisms can quickly grind to a halt.

    The difference that Harry Kane makes offers a case in point. Compare, for instance, Spurs' 4-1 demolition of Liverpool against their cagey loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford the following week. 

    Whilst it may have looked like Tottenham would have been bereft of ideas even with Kane in the side, it is easy to overlook how important he is to their forward play. His movement, for one, is impeccable - opening up space on the pitch for Eriksen and Alli to exploit.

    Last season's title push saw Pochettino employ a core of no more than 16 players. It is unlikely he'll be able to rely on a fully fit squad for two seasons in a row. If the injuries do start rolling in, the wheels could come off quickly for Spurs. 


  2. 2 The Wembley hoodoo is still a thing


    It's easy to point to Spurs' Champions League victory over Real Madrid as evidence that any Wembley demons that remained have been exorcised. One only has to look across the city to West Ham, though, to see how difficult it can be to settle into a new home.

    Looking at all of Tottenham's home fixtures so far makes for grim reading for their fans though. The Liverpool rout aside, the only other wins that they have managed have come from Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, both of whom were in the relegation zone at the time. 

    On the other hand, a loss to a Chelsea team who went on to capitulate in future games alongside draws to Burnley and Swansea are even more worrying.

    If the Wembley hoodoo proves more difficult to shake off, then Spurs could be looking forward to a season-long struggle which will only end with a return to the New White Hart Lane where they will have to go through the whole process all over again.


  3. 3 'Spursing it up' could happen again


    The phrase 'Spursing it up' is perhaps overused, particularly in the last few seasons where the club have consistently performed to a high level. 

    That said, there is a tendency for Tottenham to fail to kick on when the chips are down in such a way that some people have questioned whether or not they have what takes to challenge at the highest levels.

    This is not to say that Spurs aren't good enough to reach those levels. But there are a number of examples where they have fallen away at points in the season where they needed to stand up and be counted.

    Crashing out of the Europa League and Champions League in the past few season, Tottenham have also had poor runs at the end of their league campaigns in the past two seasons - most famously in the season where Leicester City won the Premier League.

    Truly great sides have a habit of avoiding these mini-collapses and, until Pochettino wins something, there will be those who question his team's mentality.

    

  4. 4 The whole Spurs Project could collapse at any time


    There is a habit amongst up-and-coming clubs like Tottenham to speak about their progress in terms of a 'project'. Mauricio Pochettino has spoken in these terms himself and, whatever else it is that he and chairman Daniel Levy have achieved, it is certainly impressive what the club have done in the last few years.

    However, at each level of the hierarchy, it seems as though there are key individuals without whom the whole project would come crumbling down.

    Of course, it is easy to speak of the players in this regard what with the rumours about Harry Kane and Dele Alli's imminent departures always flying about in the media. Given the fact that none of the players are particularly well paid in the current market, there is always the worry that a big club could swoop in and pick up players without much fuss.

    Pochettino himself is also a target. One of the best young managers in the world, it is hard to see him staying at the club throughout his career and so, like it or not, Spurs fans will have to admit the possibility that he could leave at any point. Without their leader, the whole project would likely come crashing down, leaving Spurs back at square one.

    And then there is Daniel Levy, the chairman who was fundamental to the rise of Spurs in its current iteration. Lose him and it's hard to see what the future would look like.

    Whatever happens, though, it wouldn't take much for the whole Spurs edifice to collapse. And the only way to avoid this is to make steps for the future.

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Jon Mackenzie

Jon Mackenzie is the Football Editor at RealSport.

Regularly appearing on talkSPORT radio, his work has also featured in The Economist, The Blizzard, Tifo Football and on the Futbolgrad Network.

A UEFA and Premier League-accredited journalist, Jon also founded A Team of John O'Sheas podcast and hosts it every week.

Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Mackenzie

 

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