· May/June 2019 figures
· Last Year's figures
2018-19 - Expectations met. Hopes dashed.
In my preview of our first Premier League match of the season at Newcastle I wrote the following:-
“I'll take City and Liverpool to be one and two in this season's Premier League, but I still think we will be scrapping it out for the remaining two places.”
My expectations of another top four place were therefore met, although we certainly did not make that easy at the end of an arduous season which included no less than 20 Cup matches, 13 of which were in the Champions League. No Spurs fan in their right mind expected us to be in the showpiece finale of club football in Europe, but that is what happened, although our hopes of beating Liverpool were not met.
Other hopes – of a domestic trophy – were also not met, but for as long as Mauricio Pochettino remains in charge, and let’s hope that is for a considerable time yet, we have to accept that his priority is to challenge for the Premier League title and/or the Champions League. We spent most of the season in the top four, and indeed all of it after October.
After beating Newcastle at home (just) on Saturday lunchtime 2nd February, we went second, and mathematically at least remained in another title race until a rotten defeat at relegation-threatened Burnley, followed by an away defeat against Chelsea put paid to any hopes of challenging Manchester City and Liverpool, who remained neck and neck to the finish with City beating Liverpool by one point. City’s 100 points last year; their 98 this year, and Liverpool’s 97 this year are the three highest Premier League point totals in the 27-year history of this competition.
The fact that Spurs finished with 71 points indicates the chasm that separated us from the top two. Bearing in mind we have been hampered this season by no incoming transfers, by playing most of the season “away from home” at Wembley, and by several absences through injury or International duties of key players such as Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama is both an indication of the achievement of the squad and the ability of Mauricio Pochettino to manage his limited resources in times of difficulty.
Even skipper Hugo Lloris missed 6 games near the start of the season, and another encumbrance was the fact that 9 of our players were involved in last summer’s World Cup semi-finals, and were surely debilitated for quite a while, and perhaps even affected for much of the season after little rest from football.
Lucas Moura starred at the start of the season, scoring two goals in a fantastic win at Old Trafford on August Bank Holiday Monday night. We won’t forget Lucas’s equaliser at The Camp Nou, Barcelona in December, and he made his mark in Spurs’ history with that second half hat-trick away to Ajax in the Champions League semi-final. That has to be the most memorable night of the season, and we will always remember the emotion shown by our much-loved manager, together with the sheer joy of the players; the squad, and indeed all the staff including the Chairman. We were all pretty happy too!
Harry Kane was once again our top scorer with 24 club goals (his fifth successive season with over 20 club goals), but he missed a total of 18 games (10 in the League) which prevented him challenging for another Golden Boot. That was shared by Salah, Mane and Aubameyang.
Other top scorers were Son (20), Lucas Moura (15) and Christian Eriksen (10). Dele Alli hasn’t has such a good season in terms of scoring, but he does usually look “the man most likely” to do something special, either by scoring, or offering an immaculate piece of skill. Class is permanent and so on. Dele captained the side when we played a League Cup “home” game at his old haunt of Milton Keynes, and he scored too. He scored in our 3-1 home win against Chelsea, and a wonderful goal in an away win against Arsenal in the League Cup quarter-final. Sadly, Chelsea prevented us from reaching the Final, but it did take penalties to beat us.
Moussa Sissoko has gone from strength to strength this season with his power-house performances. He hasn’t scored, but he has won the hearts of the fans now, many of whom would give him the Player of the year accolade. Both senior and junior club members gave that award to Son, who scored plenty of goals, including a goal of the season contender in the 3-1 home win against Chelsea, and the first competitive goal in our new stadium when we hosted Crystal Palace (at last) on 3rd April. We subsequently hosted a Champions League quarter-final and semi-final in the “Tottenham Hotspur Stadium”, which is indeed a magnificent edifice.
The Spurs Odyssey player of the season award goes once again to Jan Vertonghen, who averaged 6.82 over his 34 games. Technically Paulo Gazzaniga (now officially our number two keeper) once again finished top but I can’t give him the award for 11 games, despite the fact he does give us all confidence when called upon.
We lost Mousa Dembele mid-season when he left for China, and his ball-carrying skills were no doubt missed. Michel Vorm is the only other senior player whose departure has been officially announced, although others such as that of Fernando Llorente may follow. We have to live with the fear that Toby Alderweireld will be snapped up for that £25 million clause, and Christian Eriksen is being linked with a move.
Already several names are being linked with Spurs, and there must surely be some quality added to the squad this summer. With a strengthened squad and a whole season in our new home, we can surely be optimistic about 2019-20!
The season ended with one devastating piece of news. That was the passing of Justin Edinburgh, at the age of just 49. Justin was one of a line of legends who travelled to Madrid; who entertained hordes of Spurs fans in the Fanzone, and who watched the game from Block 214 at the Estadio Metropolitano. Justin fell ill on the Monday after returning home from the Champions League Final, and sadly never recovered. Justin had led Leyton Orient back into the Football League as National League Champions, and in Madrid had been full of joy and vigour. One can only wish strength and love to all his family. Justin’s premature passing puts life into perspective and makes football a distant second. The message is clear – enjoy every day you live with all your being.
Remember, there are 24 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 19 years!