This may sound ridiculous, but I genuinely believe that Manchester City And Liverpool will be joined in the title race this year by Tottenham Hotspur, and I think there are some good reasons to believe this.
Firstly, our team last year already had the potential to be in the title race. After beating Bournemouth 5-0 on Boxing Day 2018, we were 2nd place in the league table on 45 points, 1 point above centurions Manchester City and 6 points behind Liverpool. We were genuinely in the title race. Why did we drop out so quickly?
Fatigue, injuries and the sale of Moussa Dembele.
Our squad had 8 players who made it to the semi-final stage of the World Cup and thus didn’t have much recovery time before pre-season. This eventually caught up with the team. You could see that fatigue in the squad in our 1-3 defeat to Wolves and our 0-1 loss to Manchester United, both at home, which all but killed our title ambitions.
Key injuries also played a huge part. Harry Kane got injured during the Manchester United match and virtually missed the rest of the season apart from a few games in March and the Champions League final.
Kane is noticeably better after longer recovery periods compared to other players so the 2 injuries he suffered killed his form and our ability to score.
It wasn’t just Kane either. Virtually every player in our squad suffered one time or another with injuries at key points. Our central midfield area was so bare that Oliver Skipp was in contention to start.
This wasn’t helped by the sale of Moussa Dembele. While the sale was understandable (he was picking up more injuries than ever and he was starting to decline physically), the lack of a replacement in January led to players such as Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli being forced to play deeper because of the threadbare depth in the central midfield position.
So, what has changed from last season that will make us title contenders?
Firstly, a full season in our new stadium. We know how our form at Wembley affected our league position last season. The new stadium, with its design making for an enhanced atmosphere, was vital in our Champions League campaign last year when we beat Manchester City 1-0. With a fully fit team, it will be a lot more difficult for us to suffer home defeats compared to the last 2 years.
Greater luck with injuries is also likely, meaning that we will able to field full-strength sides more often in the big games this season.
Lastly, our good transfer business and increased squad depth allows for us to be more competitive across more tournaments than ever. The signing of Tanguy Ndombele was the central midfielder we have desperately needed since Dembele left last January.
He already impressed in his debut game against Aston Villa by scoring a brilliant equaliser from outside the box, and his potential was on full show. The signings. of Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon will add much-needed depth to the attacking midfielder and fullback positions.
To conclude, being champions of England shouldn’t be an expectation, however, that 26 point gap between us and Manchester City last season could be cut significantly this season if things go our way.
Have something to tell us about this article?