Spurs 2017/18 Highs and Lows
Spurs had a third successive top three finish to the season, and many feel they should have achieved second place above Man United, although no team looked like catching a rampant Manchester City. But, once again there was no silverware for the trophy cabinet at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. An FA Cup semi-final was the closest they got.
Having finished the previous season unbeaten at White Hart Lane in the final campaign in their old home, many feared the worst for Spurs in 2017/18 playing all home games at Wembley. They didnít have the best record at the national stadium, having lost twelve of their fourteen previous games played there. It was believed that the fans being further from the pitch, as in at Wembley compared to The Lane, might have affected the team morale.
Also, when the draw for the Champions League put Spurs in the so called ďgroup of deathĒ with, Borussia Dortmund, APOEL Nicosia and holders Real Madrid, it had the sceptics writing them out of the competition before they even started But Spurs proved the doubters wrong .......eventually!
Not counting the victory over Juventus in the pre-season friendly, their first ďhomeĒ games, a loss to Chelsea and a shaky draw against Burnley, didnít bode too well. However, a convincing 3-1 home win over Dortmund silenced the critics (or at least shut them up for a while) and brought new hope to the fans.
Spursí League Cup campaign got off to a dodgy start, scraping a 1-0 home win against Barnsley. However, their European odyssey continued in fine form with a Kane hat-trick sealing an away victory over APOEL Nicosia. They followed that up by holding Real Madrid to a draw at the Bernabťu.
Returning from Spain on a high, they saw off Liverpool with a sound 4-1 thrashing. But then, just three days later they threw away a 2-0 half-time lead to be dumped out of the League Cup by West Ham with a score of 3-2. After that, their impressive away form came to an end with defeat at Old Trafford.
November began with Spurs hosting the mighty Real Madrid at Wembley. A rousing game saw Tottenham proving their European credentials with a superb 3-1 win over the holders. They were briefly brought back down to earth by defeat in the North London derby at The Emirates Stadium before once again showing their class by coming from a goal down to beat Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
In December, another emphatic 3-0 win over APOEL Nicosia saw Spurs finish top of their Champions League group to go through to the knockout stage. They seemed to be getting into their stride and, although they suffered a disappointing defeat to Man City, they then went on to a seventeen game undefeated run. This still involved ups and downs, with a hard fought draw with Juventus in Italy in February tempered by both Newport County and Rochdale forcing FA Cup tie replays.
With Juventus coming to Wembley level pegging, hopes were high for Tottenhamís progression to the Champions League quarter final. They took a 1-0 first half lead, but two Juventus goals in a five-minute second half spell ended Spursí dream of European glory for this season. But there was still the fight for the FA Cup and a top four finish to qualify for next seasonís Champions League.
They bounced back from the Juve defeat to trounce Bournemouth 4-1, dump Swansea out of the FA Cup sixth round to reach the semi final, and end their twenty-eight year run without a win at Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 victory. After another win at Stoke, Man City ended Spursí winning streak with a 3-1 defeat at Wembley.
The FA Cup semi final against Man United at Wembley was essentially a home game for Tottenham but, despite them taking the lead, United went on to the final with a 2-1 win. The last four league games included defeat at West Brom and a nail-biting 5-4 finale win against Leicester, but Spurs had secured third place and a third consecutive season of Champions League football.
For the first time in twenty-three years Tottenham are Londonís top team, and also the only London club in next seasonís Champions League.
Whatís in Store for 2018/19?
Spurs will be hoping for a little more consistency in the coming season and, with Mauricio Pochettino signing a new five year contract, there are signs of stability. The new state of the art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host its first game in September and is a home of which the club can be proud for many years to come.
Tottenhamís five England players, including Captain Kane, will be returning from the World cup disappointed at not making it to the final, but with their heads held high after putting in some great performances to get to the semis. Spurs will of course be represented in the final by French goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris.
The pre-season trip to the USA for the International Champions Cup presents some tough matches against Roma, Barcelona and AC Milan. Preparations will be completed with a friendly against Girona in Spain.
Spursí Premier League opener is on 11th August and, as with last season, is against Newcastle at St Jamesís Park. The first match in the new stadium will be against Liverpool on 15th September when Tottenham will be hoping to christen the ground with a repeat of last seasonís 4-1 home drubbing of Jurgen Klopp's team.
After some superb Champions League results against some of Europe's finest teams, and bearing in mind that Tottenham comprehensively beat both of last yearís finalists, they will be relishing the challenge of a new European campaign.
And if their top players can remain free of any potentially damaging personal injury, the club is poised to build on the last few seasons to finally bring home some silverware.
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