Tottenham are improving season on season, and once more look like being a key contender for the Premier League title, in 2017/18. With the North London club bereft of a top flight title since 1961, the more cynical Tottenham fan would see Chelsea’s unassailable haul of 93 points last term as a typical turn of fate for the Lilywhites. However, bookmakers appear to have more faith than ever in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, even with the club now playing full time at Wembley for the next two seasons.
According to the latest markets on football betting, Tottenham are currently 8/1 at Sun Bets to win the Premier League next season. In practice, this makes Tottenham fourth-favourite of the twenty Premier League clubs to lift English football’s greatest prize. For most self-styled ‘betting experts’, it is a price that represents excellent value for money, especially when one considers the first of three undeniable reasons as to why Tottenham can win the title next May.
1. Familiarity breeds success
The statistics do not lie; with 86 goals scored, Tottenham were the most potent team in the entire league. In addition to that impressive stat, Pochettino’s men also went unbeaten for the entire season at White Hart Lane. Though the luxury of playing at a familiar ground will not be granted to Tottenham next season, the players are already familiar with Wembley, having held European home games at the stadium last term.
Many neutrals would argue that Tottenham Hotspur still does not have the overall gregariousness of champions Chelsea, or the two Manchester clubs. Even if Tottenham’s conservative approach to this summer’s transfer window continues until its end, there will still be a squad that boasts unrivalled familiarity with one-another. Last season, central defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld both made at least thirty league starts each. So too did three midfielders: Victor Wanyama, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, and this cannot fail to aid Tottenham’s conquest.
Though there are significant resources now at Pochettino’s disposal, it is the familiar, home-grown faces in the dressing room that will most likely be the driving force behind any title challenge.
2. English contingent
Harry Kane’s expertise in front of goal needs no introduction. Almost from nowhere, he wrested the golden boot from Romelu Lukaku, as he shone in a squad that scored an astonishing thirteen goals in the final two games of the 2016/17 season. If Kane can successfully emulate that form in the opening month of the new Premier League season, then Tottenham will be firmly in the proverbial ‘driving seat’.
A less-celebrated presence than Kane perhaps, but no less able as a pure footballer, Dele Alli is set to once again light up the world’s toughest league in 2017/18. Simply put, Alli’s two-year progression, from a defensive midfield position to a support striker role, has made him one of the most watchable and enthralling players in the entire league. Last season, his haul of eighteen goals made him the league’s sixth-highest goalscorer, ahead even of highly-exalted international strikers such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Christian Benteke.
Statistically, there is one final element working in the Lilywhites’ favour next season – namely, organisation.
3. Optimal organisation
Throughout the 25-year history of the Premier League, certain teams have upset the odds despite having a relative dearth of ‘world class’ players. For instance, back in the inaugural 1992/93 Premier League season, a Norwich side tipped for relegation led the league at Christmas and eventually finished third. Twenty three years later, Leicester City’s 5000/1 title win would thoroughly eclipse that achievement, especially in light of the extreme riches by then afforded to the league’s usual ‘heavyweights’.
Regardless, both of those illustrious squads had one element in common, which was an abundance of organisation. Encouragingly, in addition to being the highest-scoring team of the 2016/17 Premier League, Tottenham were the meanest and best-organised team in defence, conceding on just twenty-six occasions. Additionally, the final goal difference of +60 achieved by Tottenham in 2016/17 was the best ever attained by a side failing to win the title. Provided that Kyle Walker is sufficiently replaced, there is no clear reason that Tottenham cannot build on this and create history.
Fifty-five years is a long time for any of English football’s traditional ‘giants’ to go without a league title. The children of the 1960s are now the grandparents of the 2010s, but next season represents a golden opportunity for Tottenham Hotspur F.C to give the current generation of its fans a memory to last a lifetime.
Tamhas Woods is a BJTC-accredited sports journalist with a Masters in Journalism from Staffordshire University.