Heading into the new season, a major question has started to circulate amongst Tottenham and Premier League fans alike.
And though the latter will be both hesitant and reluctant to admit just that, it is thoroughly lodged in the depths of their idea of true despair.
Could Tottenham Hotspur win the Premier League?
To successfully answer this question, there is a definite need to debunk the two main arguments that would counter such a bold claim.
Let it be known, that irrespective of one’s views on the issue, these are valid points that when analysed bring further truth to a seemingly distant feat.
Counter Argument Number 1
“Spurs simply do not have enough squad depth in their wing-backs or with their forward options, there will be injury worries.”
“Especially this year when they’re going into the Champions League and are aiming to have a competitive run in the Carabao Cup and/or the FA Cup.”
“The World Cup is in the winter, Spurs will struggle with always having their best players on the pitch.”
“Antonio Conte struggles with versatility, there is no way he can keep a high-level game in game out.”
Granted, there is surely some credibility to the argument of Spurs potentially having a few injury struggles, as it is expected that they will average roughly 5-6 games monthly.
But in hindsight, it is a flawed viewpoint of the bigger picture.
No one team is exempt from the plague of injury.
It would be foolish to idly indulge in an ‘issue’ that represents the bare minimum for any team that intends on challenging for the title.
Another issue speaks to the fact that all of Tottenham’s attacking options (barring Lucas) are evident starters in the World Cup.
Son for South Korea, Richarlison for Brasil, Kane for England and Kulusevski for Sweden. Perisic, Romero, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, and Lloris are also all starters for their respective teams.
Once more, it is imperative to acknowledge that this will be the scenario faced by every top 6 team.
In essence, Manchester City and Liverpool will all be latitudinally affected by the hosting of the World Cup, which is truthfully not enough grounds to ultimately affect the title race.
And though there is circumstantial evidence to support a case of City’s squad depth being more robust than that of ours, it’s surely negligible to think that Liverpool’s depth is several orders of magnitude above Spurs’.
Man City may have excellent squad depth, but some of their benched players will also be heading to the World Cup, technically balancing the odds even further.
Could the World Cup effect an unlikely burst into the top 6/7 from an unsuspected top 12 team? Maybe.
Will it ultimately affect the title race? No.
This point is also applicable to the Champions League and domestic titles theories respectively.
After Spurs’ final day in the transfer window, the significantly huge gap in both Man City’s and Liverpool’s squad depth will diminish. With the likes of Richarlison, Bissouma, Perisic, and Lenglet all adding incremental depth to their positions.
The final argument is also easily rebutted. To loosely claim that Conte struggles with playing multiple matches a week, and isn’t a great coach when handling squad rotations is absurd.
If the past is anything to go by, Conte has already shown at Spurs that he is adept at handling situations that may not involve him having his preferred starting 11.
Listed below are three separate scenarios where Antonio had to be fluid and adapt to missing a few of his key players.
Match 1: Tottenham 2–2 Liverpool
Notable players missing: Skipp, Hojbjerg, Reguilon, Romero
In the eyes of most, this game was a definite win for Liverpool knowing the limitations that Tottenham had faced at the time.
And though there was little to work with, and a forced change in formation, Tottenham deservedly managed to get a draw versus their title contenders next season.
The game truthfully swung in the balance considering the chances Kane, Son, and Dele had all missed.
Tottenham could have won the game.
Liverpool notably also had players missing, but 7 of the players that represented their club that day will be in the starting lineup come next season.
Match 2: Leicester 2–3 Tottenham
Notable Players missing: Dier, Romero, Sessegnon, Son
Yet again, Conte lacked options, but was still able to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history.
Lucas Moura was also asked to play a new role in a front 2 for the first time in his professional career.
Above all, your first instinct would be to reflect upon the comeback, which is understandably normal based on the precedent that was set.
You may even consider it to be lucky.
But in reality, the xG amassed by Spurs reflects how truly dominant they were that day.
4.68 xG is one of the highest xG values created by a team in recorded history, and rightfully so.
Spurs stamped their dominance over The Foxes, limiting them to only a few clear chances.
Not bad for a manager who is thought to be achilles’ by his lack of versatility.
The only true weakness lies in the unfortunate possibility of Kane or Son getting injured.
Richarlison may don a similar silhouette to Son’s output, but no one is truly capable of replicating Harry Kane.
Counter Argument Number 2
“Spurs lack the know-how of breaking down teams that sit back”
“They might beat Liverpool, City, and Arsenal but they will have a hard game against Brighton, Wolves, Nottingham Forest, Fulham, etc.”
“They might win a few of these games, but they will lack the consistency to challenge for the league.”
This argument would have had more sustenance the previous season, but serves very little purpose currently.
Conte now officially has the tools to play in a solid 3–5–2 system. Bissouma allows for Bentancur-Skipp to be a successful midfield 3 in the defensive 5–3–2 formation.
The 3–5–2 / 5–3–2 allows for more controlled overloading of certain areas than the usual 3–4–3.
The 3–4–3 will be decisively better at playing in between the lines, whilst simultaneously manipulating high lines into making possible mistakes.
Make no mistake, I wholeheartedly agree with the gaffer’s decision to bring Lenglet in on a season-long loan.
I also understand the reality of the situation, he isn’t highly rated due to his recent history of uncontrolled errors.
But considering that neither Davies nor Romero is exceptionally good with the ball, a ball-playing CB would be ideal for teams with a shadow pressing mid-block.
In games where Tottenham face particularly excellent attackers, usually in a high line, the trio of Davies-Dier and Romero can start.
Playing in between the lines as they always do.
In the games where they face teams that cover their link-up play options in midfield, Lenglet can be started to readily find options higher up the pitch.
In these games Lenglet will certainly play in a back 5, ultimately facing weaker attackers, so his defensive frailties should be close to none existent.
This Spurs team is a lot stronger than everyone is willing to admit, and should be considered as serious title contenders.
Would I be surprised if they won the league? No.
Do I personally think they will win it? Not this season.
Where condor is concerned, Spurs may need to win more than 24 games, with 11 or so being consecutive wins.
I see them finishing 2nd, with a domestic title win.
The Champions League for me, a mystery.