· May 2018 figures
· Last Year's figures
2017-18 - Steady and sound, with disappointments
The 2017-18 season saw us finish in the top three of the Premier league for the third consecutive season, thus qualifying for a third consecutive Champions League. It was the first time we had finished three successive seasons in the top flight in the top three since the four seasons surrounding the magnificent Double season of 60-61. That was between 1959 and 1963, when Bill Nicholson's side finished third, first, third then second, winning four major trophies in that period. Incidentally, in 1963-64 Spurs finished fourth which these days counts as a major success too.
Mauricio Pochettino has just signed a new contract potentially keeping him at the club until 2023. He is already our longest serving manager of the Premier League era, and since the great Keith Burkinshaw (8 years). With the new contract and clear faith in him from Chairman Daniel Levy, "Poch" is likely to become the longest serving Spurs manager since the legendary Bill Nicholson (16 years).
The "project" continues with Pochettino's Spurs targeting the two major trophies in European Club football i.e The Premier League and The Champions League. Manchester City were head and shoulders above everybody this season in the Premier League breaking several records, such as points (100), goals scored, wins, goal difference and winning title margin. Spurs were a full 23 points behind in third place, and unlike the previous two seasons we were never truly challenging for the title. In truth, nobody was truly challenging City this year!
So, to win the Premier League would be a massive leap, and as Pochettino seems to have communicated to Levy, would require investment in players on a level we have not seen despite the success of recent years. We will wait and see regarding that point. Already the rumours are rife of Toby Alderweireld going to another one of our rivals - Manchester United - perhaps for a massive fee. Like last year's transfer of Kyle Walker it would be a major disappointment, whatever the fee, to see one of our best players go to a rival English club.
On the other hand, bearing in mind that during this season we not only beat both this season's Champions League finalists, but beat them exceedingly well, who is to say we could not reach a Champions League Final in the next year or two? The way we lost at "home" to Juventus was one of the major disappointments of the season, but we did make it to the knock-out stages of this elite competition. This represented progress on the previous season's failure to progress further than the group phase. There are several factors regarding the status of other teams qualifying progress (one of these is Liverpool, so come one Real Madrid!), but Spurs do stand a good chance of being in Pot Two in next season's Champions League draw.
The other major disappointments came in our lack of commitment to and performance in the domestic cup competitions. Getting knocked out of the Carabao Cup at Wembley by West Ham who nearly had such a disastrous season was a major blow to our pride. Although we reached the FA Cup semi-final for a second successive year, we didn't exactly grace the competition when we struggled to beat lower league opposition. Yes we swaggered past Swansea (ultimately one of the three relegated teams) in the quarter-final, and we took an early lead against Manchester United, but Mourinho knows how to win big matches, and "Poch" didn't play his best goalkeeper, so we lost an eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-final. Most fans wanted more than "top four" this year.
At the start of the season I wrote "Personally, I think Spurs face a struggle to match last season's achievements in terms of points gained (86) and position (2nd). I do think that we will once again challenge for a top four spot, but I want a trophy and I want us to improve our performance in The Champions League."
We did improve our Champions League performance, but we won three less games; lost three more; scored less goals and managed less points. It was however a great achievement to get that top three place at our temporary home of Wembley. In summary, I would describe this season as steady and sound, but less exhilarating than the previous season when we scored so many goals and had so many big wins.
I'll leave it to you to review the season match by match, month by month, but for the record, these are my selected games of each month:-
Spurs kick off at Newcastle and exorcised memories of their last game of the 2015-16 season with a 2-0 win. Dele Alli scored (Spurs have never lost a Premier League game in which he has scored) and Ben Davies scored in a second successive Premier League game, having scored one of our seven goals at Hull at the end of 2016-17. Harry Kane maintained his record of never having scored a Premier League goal in August. There's another record to be broken this year Harry!
Spurs ended the so called Wembley hoodoo with a cracking 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund, who included Aubameyang, who would be playing down the wrong end of the Seven Sisters road in 2018. Harry Kane scored twice and hit no less than 11 goals this month in all competitions, including a perfect hat-trick in our second Champions League game away to APOEL.
My game of the month was not the magnificent 1-1 away draw against Real Madrid in which Fernando Llorente partnered Kane and showed all his experience and expertise at this level. I have to choose the exhilarating 4-1 home win against Liverpool who were simply over-run by "Storm" Tottenham!
Spurs took their eye of the Premier League ball, slipping to seventh place after defeats to Arsenal and Leicester away, but they not only led, but were favourites to win their Champions League group with a fantastic 3-1 win at Wembley (in front of nearly 84,000 people) against the reigning Champions of Europe, Ronaldo and all! Real manager Zinedine Zidane said “Tonight we lost to a better team – in all aspects of play they were superior”. We also beat Borussia Dortmund away this month.
I've chosen the 5-1 win over Stoke (another relegated side) this month. It was the fourth consecutive game in which we beat "The Potters" by four goals. Kane scored two in this one and scored 39 Premier League goals in the calendar year 2017, beating the previous Premier League record held by Alan Shearer (36 in 1995). We confirmed first place in our Champions League group with another win against APOEL in which Llorente scored his first goal for Spurs.
We waited till the very last day of the month for our best game, which was a superb performance and a 2-0 home win against Manchester United. Christian Eriksen's goal after only 11 seconds was the fastest ever Premier League goal conceded by Manchester United in the Premier League.
By February we were back in the top four to stay. The away game at Anfield was pretty dramatic with Kane missing one penalty; eventual Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah thinking he had scored the winner, before Kane did score from the spot to grab a last gasp equaliser! Victor Wanyama scored the goal of the month and arguably goal of the season too! However, the real performance of the month came in Turin where Spurs were the heroes of the Allianz Stadium, coming back from a two goal deficit to grab a precious and hope-giving draw.
Harry Kane had been injured at Bournemouth, and didn't score this month. There was a feeling that he never regained his true form for the rest of the season, but he did score six more goals. Son Heung-min came to our rescue with 5 goals and a player of the month vote. Two of those goals came in my chosen game of the month which was the 4-1 win at The Vitality Stadium. That win followed our Champions League exit after a 2-1 home defeat to Juventus when Higuain and Dybaa sealed our fate. My headline was "Gone in 169 seconds".
There is no question regarding our best game in April It came on the first day of the month when we finally ended the Chelsea Hoodoo with a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge which included Eriksen's cracker and two fine goals by Dele Alli. We never reached such a pinnacle of form in our remaining 8 games of the season, and while we didn't exactly stumble over the Champions League line, we were kept in suspense until the penultimate game of the season. Christian Eriksen emulated Son's achievement of scoring in four consecutive games.
Champions League football had been secured when we played Leicester on the last day of the season in front of another massive crowd at Wembley. We had broken Premier League and club records with progressively bigger crowds against Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal (we won all three games), but the Juventus game was watched by our best "home" crowd of the season (84,010). The crowd for the FA Cup semi-final was bigger - 84,667.
77,841 came for that last game against Leicester which featured crazy football but we came back from 3-1 down to win 5-4 and secure third place above Liverpool! This was the highest scoring game of the season in the Premier League after Man City's 7-2 win over Stoke in October, and has to be my game of the month!
The ever reliable and supremely consistent Jan Vertonghen was our player of the season. Jan also won the club's official player of the season vote. The loyal Vertonghen, and we fans deserve a trophy next season!
Spurs were the top team in London for the first time since the 1994-95 season. We finished above Arsenal for the second consecutive season. That hasn't happened for 35 years. Spurs finished above Liverpool for the eighth time in nine seasons. We have finished in the top three in the top flight for a third consecutive season. This is only the second time we have managed this in the top flight. The only other occasion included our Division Two title win in 1949-50, and the 1950-51 League Championship.
Harry Kane scored 30 Premier League goals in a season for the first time in his career and became the first Englishman to complete the feat since Kevin Phillips in 1999/00. He scored 41 club goals and is now our sixth highest club goalscorer. See the full list of Harry's current standings in the various goalscoers' charts at the Spurs Official website.
Harry Kane was selected by Gareth Southgate as England's 2018 World Cup captain. This is the first time a Spurs player has captained England in the finals. Four other Spurs players were selected for the England squad of 23 - Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli.
Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele were selected for the provisional 28-man squad for Belgium, to be reduced to 23 on June 4th. Hugo Lloris is in the French squad, whilst Moussa Sissoko was named as a stand-by player. Christian Eriksen will represent Denmark, and Son Heung-min will represent South Korea. Davinson Sanchez (who has already signed a new club contract) was named in Colombia's provisional squad.
With our wonderful new stadium nearing completion and opening in the new season there is so much to look forward to in 2018-19! Spurs Odyssey will continue to follow the journey. My thanks go particularly to Ray Lo (Development and Youth squad reports) and Declan Mulcahy (Statistician) for their assistance as always, but especially to you, the reader for the support shown in this age of vast multimedia and social networking.
Remember, there are 23 years of archives at Spurs Odyssey, where you can find reports on our games at all levels, including our under-21 and under-18 teams.
Don't forget to check out the players' current figures re. appearances, cards, goals scored and accumulated ratings to date below.
...if you want to read reports of the matches played during this season, then links are on the Spurs Odyssey Fixtures/Reports page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over 18 years!