Opinion: Three overachievers and three underachievers for Spurs this season

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

After returning from the international break, a dominant 4-0 victory versus Crystal Palace preceded a lethargic 2-2 draw in Greece to begin the Champions League campaign. Spurs now sit third in the table on eight points through five matches, and as the squad prepares for Leicester City on Saturday, let’s take a look at three players who have overachieved, and three players who have underperformed thus far.

Overachievers –

Harry Winks – Has cemented his place in the starting XI with his composure in central midfield. Wink’s passing range is exceptional, his pirouettes almost Mousa Dembele-esque, and he never stops running. The knock on him has always been his lack of end product, and we’ve seen him work to be more positive in possession, as evidenced by his play against Crystal Palace and Arsenal. Despite his smaller stature, he’s not afraid to get into it. Spurs’ best player at the midweek. Bleeds Tottenham, and at 23, his best is yet to come.

Erik Lamela – A divisive squad member amongst fans, Lamela has put his head down and gone to work. Not his best game versus Olympiacos, but the same could be said for every player. Starting all five Premier League matches thus far, Erik has contributed two goals and an assist, plus the shot which lead to Christian Eriksen’s goal at Arsenal. Though he may not be a starter in our best XI, Lamela will have a significant role to play so long as he remains healthy.

Son Heung Min – Picked up right where he left off following his two-match suspension. Top work rate, and so positive and direct on the ball. Times his runs behind the defence impressively, and can score off both feet once in range. His attitude and commitment endear him to fans, teammates and Pochettino. Spurs clearly missed his energy in the first half Wednesday. A world-class player in top form right now, simply undroppable.

Underachievers –

Davinson Sanchez – While the RB experiment was destined to fail (something Pochettino needs to realize), Sanchez has performed competently at CB alongside Alderwiereld this season. Not exceptional, not egregious either. However, their partnership just isn’t at the level of Toby and Jan Vertonghen. There is a reason Crystal Palace was Tottenham’s first clean sheet of the season. Sanchez is talented and will have his opportunities, but he isn’t part of Spurs’ best XI right now.

Eric Dier – Once a near undroppable name, Dier has been unable to find game time of late. A stop-start year consisting of hip issues and appendicitis has forced him to the sideline for most of 2019. With Winks and Sissoko performing admirably in central midfield, Oliver Skipp stepping up to the first team, and the additions of Ndombele and Lo Celso, competition is as tough as ever. Pochettino loves Dier’s versatility to play CM, CB and RB, and while Spurs could really use his help to shore up its suspect defence, he’s yet to play minutes or find form this season. Has a tough road in front of him to break back into the first team.

Danny Rose – Another divisive figure, Danny has not had the best start to the season. Despite rumours of his imminent exit over the summer, Rose has started five matches thus far. However, his performances have been far from assured, with poor decision making leading directly to goals. With Ben Davies now healthy and Ryan Sessegnon being integrated into the first team, Rose will find his starting spot up for grabs if his form doesn’t improve.

Have something to tell us about this article?


  1. How Dier can be an ‘underachiever’ when he’s not played a single game is something only the author can explain (maybe), and how the hopeless Lamela gets a positive rating is another mystery. As for Sanchez, he’s clearly suffering because of Pochettino’s stupid and stubborn decision to play him out of position, but the truth is that he’s been a disappointment wherever and whenever he’s played – for £42 million (close to a World Record fee for a defender in 2017) we thought we were getting a new Ledley King, but he’s been more like Anthony Gardner and at 23 should really be the finished article, not ‘one for the future’. Yet another dud to add to Pochettino’s growing list, and there’s plenty of room for improvement from Ndombele too!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.