As usual, I was asked to submit my comments to the World Soccer Magazine Football 2017 Special, which will be published very soon.
These are my updated and edited comments in reply to the specified questions: -
1) Last season was...one which ended in a sorely disappointing fashion because of our last day thrashing by relegated Newcastle; our terrible final four results in what had been a title chase, and the surrender of second place to Arsenal, when we had at least looked certain runners-up to Leicester.
However, we have qualified for this season's Champions League for only the second time, and this time we don't even have to take part in the play-off round. Harry Kane scored 25 league goals and won the Premier League Golden Boot. Spurs finished in their highest ever Premier League position. The team; most players, and the manager (no longer known as "head coach") improved dramatically over their performance last season, winning six more points; scoring 11 more goals; conceding 18 less goals, and climbing two precious places in the league.
2) This season will be...more difficult for Spurs to repeat or improve upon their position because of the new high profile managerial appointments at both Manchester clubs and at Chelsea. All three have been splashing the cash, and they will all be chasing the title, not to mention Arsenal, and Liverpool. Then there is the Koeman project at Goodison Park, not forgetting defending champions Leicester. It all makes for a very exciting season ahead for fans and viewers!
3) Our biggest hero was Toby Alderweireld, signed from Atletico Madrid, after his successful time on loan at Southampton. Alderweireld was a rock at the heart of the defence, and started all 38 Premier League games, only missing added time at Chelsea due to injury. Alderweireld is a Ledley-esque defender with style, skill, class and good discipline to match. He even weighed in with goals in four of our biggest league games of the season.
4) Our biggest villain was Federico Fazio, who made only one Spurs appearance all season, and that was a shocker in a league cup defeat to Arsenal. Fazio was shipped out on loan to Sevilla, where he also made few appearances, but he did pick up a Europa League winners’ medal as he was one of Sevilla’s unused substitutes in their Final victory over Liverpool. Fazio has already left for a season-long loan with Roma.
5) Our best terrace chant last season without question was: -
"We've got Alli,
"I just don't think you understand.
"He only cost 5 mill,
"He's better than Ozil,
"We've got Dele Alliiiiiiii…"
6) Our youngster to look out for is not a new face, but he is still only 19. Josh Onomah made his senior Spurs debut in January 2015 in an FA Cup game against Burnley, but had plenty of exposure under Mauricio Pochettino’s guidance last season. As an example of the faith placed in Onomah, he played 90 minutes in Spurs’ Europa League game at Dortmund, and was arguably Spurs’ best player on the night. Onomah and full back Kyle Walker-Peters were selected for the England U-19 squad this summer.
Other players being given favour are Harry Winks, Cameron Carter-Vickers and striker Shayon Harrison. 17 year old Marcus Edwards has signed a professional contract, and travelled with the squad on tour to Melbourne, where he made a couple of substitute appearances, impressing sufficiently to suggest he will get first team experience in the coming season.
7) Which game are you most looking forward to, and why? I am eagerly anticipating our opening game at a very partisan Goodison Park, and looking forward to the debut of Victor Wanyama in tandem with Eric Dier. Striker Vincent Janssen has been signed as much-needed back-up for Harry Kane, but I doubt we will see the two strikers in tandem on many occasions.
8) Are there any games you are dreading, and why? I dread none, but Chelsea away in November will be interesting, bearing in mind May’s “Battle of Stamford Bridge”
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