Harry got his boot. A rare moment of foolishness from Vertonghen cost Hugo his share of a glove. Arsenal missed out but Wenger is probably in. And Spurs simply ended a campaign where they will be remembered as one of the very few runners-up that would have won the title most years. It matters little except to our pride that these last two affairs were such stompings—Leicester and Hull had already checked out on holiday. The point about how this team was different and would not collapse as last year’s did had been made weeks before—these two were simply the exclamation point.
The superlatives are everywhere—Kane outscored Boro and matched Sunderland, despite playing 8 fewer games than those XIs from the Northeast. Spurs conceded the fewest goals, scored the most, had the best goal difference, went unbeaten at home, and on and on. And lost to Gent. And played a series of forgettable games at the place they must call home next August.
So the narrative is simple. Team on the rise but can they weather the storm caused by transfer vultures and Wembley wobbles? Who will stay and who will go? Kyle Walker seems headed elsewhere, but unless the player forces Spurs’ hands, I don’t see Eric Dier joining him. One of Sissoko and Janssen will probably depart, but Spurs will need at least one and probably two replacements up front. Harry Winks will return and should continue to contribute—will Erik Lamela join him? Have we seen the best of Danny Rose, and will the 8 or 9 month layoff correspond to a loss of pace, and form? Will Pau Lopez graduate to first team and Michel Vorm be dispatched for some extra coin?
We are curious but hardly worried. The manager will be here. The stupendous spine of the team will too. There is young talent blossoming wherever one looks—just how good was Ben Davies these past four months? They have time and desire to figure out the key to the Wembley lock. Consider the opposition: Chelsea will lose Costa and must guard against another hangover season, this time with European games to distract. Arsenal are consigned to Europa and still have a managerial problem and will surely lose their best player. Liverpool must also compete in Europe with a team that lacks the depth of their competition and paid for it this last season. And the two Manchester coaching giants have uncertainty all around them—Mourinho must find goals, and Guardiola must find a workable system and some younger replacements for key aging parts.
August can’t come quick enough. What a glorious, if still incomplete season. The best is yet to come. COYS.
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