Are Spurs title contenders or pretenders?

The most “spursy” thing possible would be to go on one of the greatest unbeaten runs in the premier league and still finish fifth

Jordan Collard
28th November 2023
Image Credit - X @Squawka
It’s that time of year again, where we all begin to make our way-too-early premier league predictions. There are some opinions that can be shouted from a soap box quite safely and probably without any side-eye: Jude Bellingham is probably the best player in the world right now, Ten Hag will probably be sacked by the end of the season and Man city can lose all their best players and still be ridiculously good. To say that Spurs can win the premier league isn’t anywhere near as safe of an opinion as any of these.

It was just 6 or 7 months ago that we all thought that Cristian Romero was quite possibly the luckiest centre-back in the world, by virtue of being born in the same country as that special little boy from Rosario, because he couldn’t possibly get any worse. It was an astounding feat of herculean brilliance that Romero had managed to win a World cup and simultaneously be one of the worst premier league defenders of the season. Now that spurs have gone on this ridiculous run, are we now willing to forget those dreadful performances of last season, and willing to lull ourselves into this belief that Romero is going to be able to pull out performances against the teams that will determine the difference between 1st and 2nd. Haaland, Isak, Toney, Diaby, so on and so forth. For there to be any hope of Spurs winning a title, come February 1st, Romero cannot still be a starting centre-back.

The issues with Spurs winning a title, aren’t simply an ill-equipped defence, however. As Arsenal showed last season, it is all fine and well getting goals from every position on the pitch but without a recognised number nine who can get 25 goals a season, disregarding Man City’s false 9 season because of the pure tactical brilliance that got them over the line, it is nigh impossible to win the league. There must be a player in that position of the park, who is willing and able to turn losses into draws and draws into wins, without that natural born goalscorer, who else do you have to rely on. Son is probably still one of the best talents in the league, but he has an Asian cup to play in that will see him miss most of January and the first week of February. Therefore, who takes over? Is it Richarlison? If it is, then Spurs fans better hope and pray for a ten point gap to open up before the Asian Cup begins to give themselves enough breathing room, because he isn’t good enough. On the other side of the park, Kulusevski hasn’t hit the ground running this season and now Brennan Johnson appears to be favoured over him. Whilst Johnson is an exciting young talent, he’s only 22 and just joined the club from a team that marginally missed out on relegation last year. Is this a duo that can realistically win the premier league? Probably not, or at least not this season.

With this lack of reliability in certain areas of the pitch, it would appear that the onus is on both Chairman Daniel Levy and Manager Ange Postecoglou to both strengthen the squad and use the squad to the best of its ability if they desire to win a title. In the case of Levy, he hasn’t been known to open the club’s coffers too much in the past and the constant bickering over the price of Harry Kane for around half a decade shows his unwillingness to negotiate with clubs over the prices that he feels are correct. Therefore, how much can we really expect a man to pay for fresh transfers when the club has already spent around 250 million on transfers this season(150 million net when adding in Kane’s departure to Bayern in the summer)? It is completely possible ,if Spurs are still in the position they are in now, that Levy may think it is worth a punt and invest another 100 million in January to bring in these much-needed reinforcements.

If he does this, then the focus must shift to Ange and his tactical know-how and ability to get the team over the line.

As such, the questions around his hyper-aggressive style of football become the focus, and we must ask the question as to whether it is possible to win a title with this style of football. The most ardent critics of “Ange-ball”, as it has become known, may say that it is impossible purely out of principle, before a ball has been kicked. The style of play is so aggressive, that the top teams, such as Man City, Villa, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool etc. will inevitably find the weaknesses and use them to their advantage. One of the criticisms of Jurgen Klopp in his first few seasons with Liverpool, was his perceived arrogance and belief in his Heavy Metal football that led him to not believe that he needed to bring in a defensive midfielder or a top centre-back. After a period of realisation that it would be impossible to win a league without either, Liverpool went out and paid a lot of money for both Fabinho and Van Dijk. The latter of which has become one of the best centre-backs of all-time. Therefore, whilst “Ange-Ball” may be a great watch, it will be virtually impossible to get a title over the line without some balance.

It will become a question of philosophy for everyone involved with the club as the season continues. 

What is more important to Levy, protecting club money and not haemorrhaging more money when no success is guaranteed, or club unity that can probably only be achieved by investing even more money, and possibly resulting in heavy losses? After the environment over the past few years had become so toxic that the atmosphere had become spoiled milk, this may not be as easy of a question as one might think.

For Ange, what is more important, his self-belief in the football he believes in playing, or becoming the first manager to bring a title to the club since Bill Nicholson in 1960-61? The answer to this question may lie in the answer to what is most important for Spurs fans themselves.

So, finally, what is most important for Spurs fans, belief in their manager, and a willingness to potentially give up silverware in order to back him to the hilt, or are they willing to sacrifice their current cult following of the Australian for the trophy they so deeply desire?

These are all questions that need answered, and inevitably will be answered, whether it comes in the form of boos, cheers or jeers, a splashing of cash on January 1st, or a deafening silence from the offices of Levy and owner Joe Lewis. For the sake of a club in desperate need of some respite from the bad times, one would hope that Big Ange is as great as the cult would suggest.

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AUTHOR: Jordan Collard
Film is the easiest and best access for civilization to use to disseminate messages. It is a window to our soul, our cultures and our beliefs. How we perceive each other and ourselves, is best seen inside of a 2 hour movie.

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