P W D L F-A GD Pts
12 3 5 4 18-17 1 14
+5 Cup matches
P W D L F-A GD Pts
26 13 6 7 43-30 13 45
+9 Cup matches
P W D L F-A GD Pts
38 16 11 11 61-47 14 59
· June/July 2020 figures
+14 Cup matches
· Last Year's figures
Not so magic. Not so special.
Amazon Prime’s forthcoming “All or nothing” fly on the wall documentary was supposed to chart Spurs’ whole season. Whenever it does appear it will be a programme for Spurs fans to watch between closed fingers, or from behind the sofa, as I can see very little potential for it to enlighten or entertain us. Arsenal fans and others who don’t like us will probably watch with glee. As I understand it, the series will only start at the moment Mauricio Pochettino departed and Jose Mourinho arrived. I also believe the series ends with the commencement of the Covid-19 lockdown. In the very brief trailer the camera focuses upon Christian Eriksen who bears a look of total bewilderment when he sees the new manager arriving to be introduced to the squad.
Our whole season might be encapsulated in those three names – Pochettino, Mourinho and Eriksen. I do not believe the programme will reveal anything about the reasons behind Pochettino’s departure, or the fall from grace of last year’s Champions League finalists, whose form after all had been deteriorating long before the end of the 2018-19 season.
Readers might be mystified about my inclusion of Eriksen in my review of the season. After all, he left in January and Inter paid a fee which amounted to more than we had paid for him in 2013. That profit will have pleased the chairman and the club’s accountants. Eriksen had made clear he was not going to sign a new contract, and ideally would probably have liked to leave in the summer transfer window. He played in 20 Premier league games for Spurs before his departure, starting half of those. His record is similar at Inter, which suggests that his form has not improved.
Eriksen soon became a hate figure for many Spurs fans. His best performance was in our first game at home to Aston Villa when he came off the bench and changed the course of the game. Harry Kane scored his first two goals at the new stadium and was man of the match. Eriksen was marginally behind him, but by the time he left Spurs Odyssey voters had given him an overall grade of less than 5 out of 10. Christian never matched the heights of that first game although he was our man of the match when he scored his last Spurs goal at Norwich on 28th December. A month later he played his last game for us, also against Norwich, when he came off the bench.
When we lost at home to Newcastle late in August I wrote, “Something is seriously wrong in the state of Tottenham”. Manager Mauricio Pochettino had been prickly with the press. Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen couldn’t get into the team. No-one could put a finger on why our form would be so inconsistent at best and poor at worst.
Big signings had been made in the summer, chiefly that of Tanguy Ndombele, who did score on his debut and was even our player of the month in August. Personal fitness and injury, plus his apparent inability to “settle down” have hampered his progress, but the word is that Jose will persevere. After all, Jose even gave Ndombele personal tuition during the Covid-19 lockdown, which was not our only transgression of the rules. Ryan Sessegnon was signed from Fulham, but he has hardly featured all season, although he did score a great debut club goal in our Champions League game at Bayern Munich.
Giovani Lo Celso was our other big summer signing, initially on loan from Real Betis, but made permanent in January. Gio wasn’t getting much game time in his first three months. He too had injury niggles, but when he made his first start for the club in November away to Crvena Zvezda and scored one of our four goals Gio was man of the match and would soon become a favourite, firmly replacing Eriksen as our playmaker in the new year. Lo Celso was even a very close contender for our player of the season vote. This was the game where Spurs fans sang “He’s magic, you know” regarding Mauricio Pochettino for the last time. Little did we know that our next game – a home draw against Sheffield United – would be Mauricio’s last in charge of the club he loved (and still loves).
A week after that game I wrote and published an essay about Mauricio’s time at Tottenham. Little did I know that he would be dismissed and that within 24 hours the “Not so special one” (as Spurs fans had branded Mourinho in recent years) was appointed. I was even interviewed by Sky Sports news, when I said I was Astounded, but not astounded .
Jose won his first two league games 3-2 and in between we beat Olympiacos 4-2 to ensure our qualification for the Champions League Round of 16. We lost 2-1 at Old Trafford to Jose’s previous team and beat Burnley 5-0, during which Son Heung-min scored a sensational end to end goal which rightfully won Match of the day’s goal of the season. (Son's goal also subsequently won the Premier League's goal of the season award)
Jan Vertonghen was the hero when he scored an added time winner at Molineux in mid-December. Jan would score his last goal for us in our home FA Cup defeat against Norwich. Jose had taken us from the bottom half as high as fifth, but our form in the next 8 games dipped to the extent that we failed to score in four of those games, dropping to eighth place.
We were back in fifth place after a terrific 2-0 home win against the mighty Manchester City when latest signing Steven Bergwijn cemented his relationship with the fans with an excellent debut goal. Bergwijn subsequently became the first Spurs player to score in his first three home games since Rafa van der Vaart 10 years previously. Steven’s third such goal came in our first post-lockdown game against Manchester United.
The theory that Mourinho has little regard for youth did not hold water when he gave Japhet Tanganga his Premier League debut against Liverpool. Japhet can play anywhere across the back four and has acquitted himself well in his 6 Premier League appearances to date, being awarded a new contract at the end of the season. Jose has also given youngsters such as Harvey White and Dennis Cirkin bench appearances.
Our injury crisis was well-documented and our form took a downturn pre-lockdown culminating in that penalty shoot-out FA Cup exit to a team that would be relegated with a terrible defensive record, and a convincing Champions League exit to an exciting Leipzig team. We did benefit from the three-month lockdown as it enabled Harry Kane, Son, Moussa Sissoko, Ben Davies and Steven Bergwijn to play a full part in our 9 post-lockdown games (played behind closed doors of course) when we lost just one game. That defeat was at Sheffield United and performances in a goalless draw at Bournemouth and a tepid 1-0 home win against Everton did not encourage us to think of any form of European qualification.
We have qualified for Europe, although not at the elite level we crave and where have played for four consecutive years. Thanks (well no thanks actually) to Arsenal’s FA Cup success, our Europa league campaign has to start in the second qualifying round which will be a one leg affair and is scheduled to be played on September 17th, less than a week after the Premier League reconvenes. It is doubtful that fans will be viewing games in the early stages if the season, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic crisis. Until then they might prefer games such as the ones at Casinos not on Gamstop.
Harry Kane did not play between New Year’s Day and June 19th. Hugo Lloris also had his injury troubles during the season. Both were among the post-lockdown ever-present players. Hugo made some great saves, and Harry scored 7 goals. Both overtook Lo Celso in our player of the year stakes, and it was 24-goal Harry who edged our player of the year vote, although “Sonny” scooped up all the club’s official awards.
The figures above give team and coach performance figures for both Pochettino and Mourinho. The overall improvement in results and performances can be seen. However, with incredibly few highlights it is safe to describe our season as "Not so magic and not so special".
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 20 years!