Premier League 2020/21: Tottenham Hotspur season preview
Last season finish: 6th in Premier League (16W-11D-11L, 59 points)
Head coach: Jose Mourinho
2019-20 top scorer: Harry Kane (18 goals)
Other Trophies in 2019-20: None
There are two names that stand out as we start our discussion about Tottenham Hotspur. One of them is their star striker Harry Kane and the other is their manager Jose Mourinho. Needless to say, the club's fortunes in the 2020/21 Premier League season are heavily reliant on these two men.
All of Tottenham's strategies over the years have been pretty much centred around Kane and it didn't change even when Jose Mourinho took over as the Spurs manager midway into the last season. The English forward did have to sit out for a long duration due to injury and it can be said that Mourinho did a fair job to alter his gameplan without Kane. But such is the influence of the striker on this club that he still finished as their top scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League season despite missing so many games. So it goes on to say how important Kane is going to be for Spurs this year as well.
Speaking about Mourinho, what he guarantees is an organized and solid defence. How he unlocked Serge Aurier's full potential last season and the way he found a completely rejuvenated Eric Dier at the back can be considered to be a defensive masterstroke. Not only that, but he also introduced the world with the talent of Japhet Tanganga as well.
It's still controversial, though, how he handled Tanguy Ndombele and his offensive strategies are something that will be under the spotlight this season. But Mourinho is one of the best tactical minds in world football. He had a lot on his plate to deal with when he joined the club in their chaotic condition last season. This will be his first full season as Spurs' manager and the fans would be expecting the same thing that he has been always associated with -- TROPHIES!
Issues they faced last season
Mourinho brought some much-needed organization in a leaky Spurs defence once he took over the charges as their manager towards the middle of the last season. But there was still some improvement left to be made as far as Tottenham's offensive play was concerned.
Their forwards and midfielders often appeared directionless in absence of Kane. Although the likes of Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn came up with flashes of brilliance from time to time, the forward lines still lacked the cohesion that is generally seen in Kane's presence.
The Englishman's fitness is once again going to be a concern this season and Mourinho needs to devise good plans so that the team doesn't lose their scoring efficiency in Kane's absence. Son, Bergwijn and Alli can be world-class when used properly and that's why Mourinho needs to figure out the way with which he can bring the best out of all three of them.
Also, they lacked a creative force in the midfield once Christian Eriksen left the club. So that is another area that requires attention.
Have the Issues been fixed?
Mourinho is well aware of their need for offensive improvement and that's why he has bolstered the squad by signing Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton respectively. Doherty has been one of the best wing-backs in the league in the last couple of seasons. He has scored and assisted on multiple occasions for Wolves and Mourinho will be eager to see him performing in a similar role for Spurs as well.
As far as Hojberg is considered, Mourinho would want him to be the man who would help in forming an organized link-up between their attack and defence. Hojbjerg is expected to sit deep inside the midfield, doing the holding job mainly. But he can be a major creative force during counterattacks as well. Such qualities fit Mourinho's bill perfectly and the manager would have high hopes from him this season.
Apart from these two, Joe Hart has also been brought on a free transfer. The Englishman serves as a quality backup for Hugo Lloris with the keeping gloves. We might see Hart playing a lot of cup games as well and that might help Mourinho in easing up Lloris' workload.
Predictions for 2020/21 season
Mourinho did a pretty good job to guide Spurs to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season considering the condition the club was in prior to his arrival. They are in much better shape now if the latest acquisitions are anything to go by. But since beating the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title will be a tough job, Mourinho won't settle for anything less than a top-four finish. However, winning at least one silverware will be one of his season objectives and he will go all out for it.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Ian Kington