The last few days have been extremely tough to stomach for Tottenham Hotspur. Losses at home to Liverpool and away to Brighton in the space of four days makes for poor reading, and their next fixture is not an easy one, hosting Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea this Thursday.
That Premier League clash will be a key one, although if the Lilywhites are to lose it then all hope won’t be lost. It can be easy to be negative in times like these, but that’s why we’re here on this dreary Monday to find you some reasons to be more optimistic.
We’ve dug out four things that should keep fans from getting too down about the awful football that the club is currently producing, which would be forgotten for even a day or two should a positive result against Chelsea be achieved later this week.
If there is any one reason to smile at the moment for Tottenham Hotspur then it is absolutely Tanguy Ndombele.
The French maverick, despite his underwhelming debut season in north London, has become everything that Spurs fans wanted in he second season.
Whether it be his fantastic first-time turn against Liverpool, making treble-winner Thiago Alcantara look silly, or his goals from the bench against Wycombe, he’s shown that he can be a real player in a Jose Mourinho team.
This may come as a surprise to many though, especially after his aforementioned first season in England. In a recent interview with Telefoot (via the Daily Mail), Ndombele admitted to wanting to leave Spurs after just one season, before adding:
“My first season was tough, I questioned myself a lot, now the page is turned.
“It is true that at a certain moment I wanted to leave, I didn’t feel in the right place. I told them I wanted out. They didn’t want me to go.”
What a decision it was from the club to ensure that Ndombele would stay too. The former Lyon man has been a standout for the Lilywhites, and his underlying numbers really help to hit that fact home.
The key stats that highlight Ndombele’s game are almost undoubtedly his dribbling numbers. In the Premier League this season he’s averaging 2.3 dribbles per game and is being fouled 1.7 times per game (WhoScored), demonstrating his ability to relieve pressure by taking the ball out from deep midfield positions.
When coupling that with his 0.7 key passes per game, 1.4 tackles and 0.8 interceptions (WhoScored) the Frenchman was proven that he can be a smooth, dynamic midfield operator when facing both his own goal and the oppositions, something that has made the last few weeks at least bearable for fans.
This may not be what many fans would expect to have come after reading about Ndombele’s brilliance. However, the Lilywhites’ new Welsh defender has the potential to be everything that Jose Mourinho wants at the heart of his defence.
Against Liverpool last Thursday it was the ex-Swansea man’s error that led to the champion’s scoring their third decisive goal in the 3-1 home loss, but that shouldn’t discourage the fans from supporting the youngster.
After that performance against Liverpool, Jose Mourinho was keen to provide assurances that Rodon is very much part of his plans. The Portuguese went as far as to guarantee that Rodon would start against Brighton (The Evening Standard), and the young Welshman should expect many more starts in the week to come.
So far in the Premier League this season the 23-year-old has put up impressive numbers, his stats of 1.1 tackles and 2.3 clearances per game show his defensive capabilities, not to mention his 1.3 interceptions which ranks him 2nd amongst the Tottenham squad in that metric (WhoScored).
In a season where both Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier have made some high profile errors it very much looks like Rodon and Toby Alderweireld, who made a sublime goal line block to deny Brighton a second last night, could be the first choice pairing going forward.
What Rodon also brings is the ability to play competently in both a two man and a three-man defensive line, as he showed against Brighton in the first half playing alongside Alderweireld and Sanchez before Mourinho reverted to just the Welshman and Alderweireld in the second 45.
Now, if Joe Rodon was a shock inclusion for you in this list of reasons to be cheerful, the Kane may also come as a surprise. Against Liverpool last week the England skipper suffered not just one but two ankle injuries having been challenged by both Thiago and Jordan Henderson in the first half.
It appeared, at first, like this could be the beginning of the end of Spurs’ season, and with good reason. This is the 5th consecutive season in which Kane has missed games with an ankle problem (Transfermarkt), and when the 27-year-old often carries the Lilywhites in attack that is a worrying statistic.
However, the reason why Kane finds himself on this list is because Jose Mourinho gave us an update on the striker’s fitness, and it’s a surprisingly positive one just days after the fans will have been coming to terms with their key man’s absence.
The update, found on the club’s website, claims that Kane could be back in just a couple of weeks. With Jose Mourinho saying:
“The news is pretty good news,
“Harry is optimistic, he has the experience of some injuries in his ankles and in Harry’s mind, it’s a couple of weeks, so let’s see if he’s right.”
This may be an easy one to forget, but the first major piece of silverware up for grabs in the 2020/21 season is going to be won by either Tottenham or Manchester City. Jose Mourinho will do battle with Pep Guardiola once again, and it’s all to play for.
The Lilywhites have been waiting for 13 years to win a trophy, with their last success coming in this competition back in 2008 under Juande Ramos, and now it’s time for the fans to celebrate something.
Premier League glory is almost guaranteed to remain elusive for the north Londoners, despite their early season form which had the club at the top of the league, but with this trip to Wembley on the horizon, on top of their continued progression in both the FA Cup and Europa League, a trophy is very possible for Spurs.
Having the aforementioned Kane back to fitness for the April 25th final will be a huge boost so long as he can avoid a relapse of the ankle injury that currently has him side lined, and whilst a lot can change in the next couple of months, the Lilywhites have a strong record against City.
Spurs have won their last two meetings against Manchester City, winning both 2-0 at the new White Hart Lane, and prior to that was the famous Champions League quarter-final clash that saw the Lilywhites progress in dramatic fashion (11v11), so there’s no reason why we can’t see another Spurs triumph at the expense of Pep’s juggernaut.