Tottenham Mid-Season Review: Should Spurs Fans Be Happy Or Worried?
Tottenham are currently placed 4th in the Premier League and in the Champions League knockout stages, yet some fans are still finding ways to feel an existential sense of dread.
Antonio Conte has faced criticism thus far for the way his team have played at times, in particular the first half performances of late.
Spurs have usually taken pride in playing an entertaining style of football, which was delivered particularly well under the reign of Mauricio Pochettino.
However, with Conte’s tactics delivering results more often than not, are fans’ fears irrational and does the Italian have the ability to bring the club long-awaited success?
The first thing to consider is that injuries have not been kind to the North London side this season. Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison, Heung-Min Son and Cristian Romero have all faced time away from the squad in what has been a packed fixture schedule.
The recent return of Kulusevski demonstrated just how much the Swede has been missed, with two assists in the two games he has featured in.
The former Juventus winger joined Spurs in January of this year, along with Rodrigo Bentancur; one of the club’s best ever double transfers since Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles.
A similar level of transfer window may be required for Tottenham in the upcoming January window, with multiple areas of the pitch in need of improvement.
The likelihood is there will also be some outgoings in January, with Bryan Gil and Djed Spence potentially being loaned out to get more game time under their belts.
New signings in the summer have certainly played their role in getting the Lilywhites into the Champions League knockout stages, notably Clement Lenglet and Richarlison in both legs against Marseille.
The focus in the last transfer window was quantity but now the former Inter boss will insist on more quality being added to the squad.
This could be a make or break window for Conte, as his contract expires with the club in June 2023, something that could also apply to those higher up at Tottenham.
When Mauricio Pochettino was on the brink of major success, Daniel Levy and ENIC failed to invest any money in the adjacent transfer windows. If the same were to happen here, some supporters may demand a change in ownership.
This being said, the previous transfer window resulted in over £100 million being spent rejuvenating the squad, something that was a need more than a desire. With Champions League progression and general league success, investment is bound to continue.
Antonio Conte is one of a select few managers in the world who could deliver the results he has so far this season, many with last minute winners.
The style of football may be pragmatic and not as expressive as Spurs fans desire but the points tally is a testament to how effective Conte’s tactics have been over the years.
Personally, it feels as if the concern from supporters comes from the team over the road doing incredibly well this year, especially when they are playing at home.
Arsenal have failed to finish above Tottenham since 2015/16 and it has become a matter of immense importance ever since.
If the Gunners were not top of the table and were below the Lilywhites, there would be a lot less cause for concern in the Spurs camp.
However, Antonio Conte’s men have struggled against the top teams this season and it is certainly an area for improvement.
It is also important that players do not get injured over the World Cup period so the team can gain momentum sooner rather than later.
The unprecedented nature of the World Cup being in the middle of the season will cause problems for many teams; it will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.
As a fan, if you are worried about the direction of the team at this stage, just remember Antonio Conte is a world-class manager and Harry Kane is still chasing Alan Shearer’s record at Spurs.
The best is yet to come under Conte. With a transfer window approaching the squad is bound to improve and achieve the best it can with the Italian at the helm.
It would also be a fitting metaphor of their season so far if Tottenham were to have an even better second half of the season.