"if luck favours them even a top three finish is achievable"
Hopes and Fears
It is Martin Jol’s worst nightmare. Well, not really, but the Dutch coach won’t appreciate that so many people seem to be linking Tottenham with a top four finish. Of course, he’ll know fully well what this team can achieve - if luck favours them even a top three finish is achievable – but he doesn’t want others putting pressure on his largely young squad.
That is, however, inevitable given the number of players (and money spent) coming in during the summer. In Gareth Bale they should have a player capable of excelling in the left back role – something that they struggled at last season – whilst the returning Ledley King should take up the partnership at the back with Michael Dawson. If Pascal Chimbonda and Paul Robinson can improve on last season when both where below their usual standards they will have one of the best defences in the Premiership.
The same goes for attack where a fully fit Dmitar Berbatov is a guarantee and the supporting acts of Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane each have at least ten goals a season in them.
Where Tottenham might be lacking is midfield. If Aaron Lennon can regain full fitness and consistency he’ll once again be prominent on the right side of midfield. In the centre of midfield too there is plenty of talent – Didier Zokora, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas and Kevin Prince Boateng – but perhaps not enough experience for Spurs to really impose their games. Then there’s the left of midfield about which so much has already been said elsewhere that it doesn’t really need repeating here.
Many expressed their surprise at Spurs’ insistence to sign Darren Bent not only because the transfer fee was deemed excessive but also due to the presence of Keane and Defoe in the squad. But if Bent can score in a side hurtling towards relegation, his abilities are bound to flourish in a team with Tottenham’s attacking instinct.
Something to Prove
Two seasons out on loan haven’t really enhanced Wayne Routledge’s reputation: if anything he has confirmed that during his debut Premiership season with Crystal Palace he had over-achieved. Tottenham, however, have resisted the temptation to sell him and for that he should be grateful. Despite his preference to the right side of midfield, Routledge has played on the other side in the past and it is there that his biggest opportunity in this side.
One to Watch
There’s much excitement about the potential of young Frenchman Adel Taarabt who, back home, has been compared to Zinedine Zidane. No one at Spurs would dream of adding to such hype yet, secretly, they’re confident that in him they have not only the solution to their problematic left side of midfield but also one of the future stars of the game.