It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.”
A frustrating end to the campaign dampened the mood and the celebration of what has been really a superb season for Spurs. A title race, high-scoring wins, the introduction of youth, English talent, the top goal scorer, a fantastic manager and further negotiations ensuring that the stadium is edging ever closer surely equals the best campaign Spurs have had since the days of Harry Redknapp. The disappointment of finishing behind Arsenal shouldn’t stain the major success this season has been; after all, it was Arsenal who led at Christmas and Spurs for only 15 minutes so who really ‘bottled it’ and lost the league?
Alan Smith of Sky Sports recently said that he believed the table lied for the first time with Leicester emerging as champions at the end of a thrilling season. Spurs had the best defensive record, the joint-top scoring record and a far superior goal difference to the other teams before their annual end of season collapse. The team will be rueing some disappointing results at the beginning of the season as well as the lack of the killer instinct, too many games ended with the points being shared.
An Improved Defence
The signing of the summer, Toby Alderweireld, has brought defensive solidity to the Tottenham Hotspur side and formed a superb partnership with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen to provide the North London club with the best defence in the Premier League. Alderweireld’s influence shouldn’t be underestimated as the introduction of young Kevin Wimmer was seamless following Jan Vertonghen’s injury and this must have partly been because of Alderweireld’s leadership. Wimmer has proved himself ready for the Premier League with faultless displays and saved Spurs some points, most notably his last ditch tackle in the North London Derby.
The acquisition of Kieran Trippier to challenge Kyle Walker in the right back position was another masterstroke by Mauricio Pochettino. The challenge has really brought out the best of the long-serving fullback, and his performances have been recognised by his inclusion in England’s Euro 2016 squad. Similarly, the challenge Ben Davies poses to Danny Rose at left back has brought out the best in both players with all Spurs’ fullbacks barring Kieran Trippier travelling to France with their respective nations.
Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier represent two key members of Spurs’ strong core, protecting the centre-backs and doing the dirty work. A key part of Pochettino’s teams in the past has been strength in the defensive midfield position, with Victor Wanyama at Southampton and now Dier and Dembele at Spurs.Embed from Getty Images
Dynamic forward play and attacking flair have been what Spurs teams of the past have been associated with and this team is no different. Christian Eriksen is superb from dead-ball situations and Dele Alli has had the season of his career in his debut campaign at the Lane. The Spurs faithful have seen many spectacular goals this season: Alli against Palace, Kane against Arsenal, Chadli against Palace, Son against Leicester; indeed, Alli’s goal was named as Match of the Day’s goal of the season.
Harry Kane has also been pivotal in Spurs’ title charge. His 28 goals for the season was three goals fewer than what he achieved in 2014-15 but his striking capabilities have firmly put to bed the suggestions that he was a ‘one season wonder’. Kane will surely lead the line for Roy Hodgson in France at Euro 2016 this summer, the Premier League’s golden boot winner ready to perform on the international stage at a major tournament for the first time.
Season 2015-16 will live long in the memory of each and every Spurs fan and, with Champions League football to look forward to, bring on 2016-2017!