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2021/22 Premier League Previews | Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo and their battle to stay relevant

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2021/20 Premier League preview: Tottenham

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2021/22 Premier League Previews | Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo and their battle to stay relevant

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Siddhant Lazar

08/13/2021

The 2021/22 Premier League season is around the corner and for Tottenham, this season is their attempt to try and break back into Europe's elite. The North Londoners finished seventh in the 2020/21 Premier League season, qualified for the Europa Conference League and are under new management.

How well did Tottenham do in the 2020/21 Premier League season?

An opening day loss to Everton turned out to be the catfish of the season as Jose Mourinho’s side were first by December and were on an eleven game unbeaten run. But after that, things went down the drain as Spurs dropped from first….all the way to seventh ten games later. Six games later and Jose Mourinho was sacked by yet another Premier League club, bringing his tenure at Tottenham to an end.

That saw Ryan Mason take over, and he tried his level best to bring some freedom and hope into the side but they eventually spluttered over the finish line. If it wasn’t for the Europa Conference League then Tottenham wouldn’t even be playing European football next term, having finished seventh in the Premier League. Not only that, they reached their first cup final in over a decade and lost that 1-0 to Manchester City.

That only ticked on with losses to Everton in the fifth round of the FA Cup and a humiliating 5-3 on aggregate to Dinamo Zagreb despite a first-leg advantage. They still managed to finish the Premier League season with 18 wins, 8 draws and 12 losses. And their numbers went along the same tangent, as Spurs finished as the league’s fifth highest goalscorer (68), had the seventh highest xG per 90 (1.43), the ninth best assists per 90 (0.90) and had the thirteen highest key passes completed (307).

Spurs combined that with the eighth highest touches overall (24321) and the seventh best non-penalty xG or npxG (50.7). But they were all over the graph defensively as you would think especially given that very little improved under Jose Mourinho’s tenure but to be fair Spurs were broken when he took over. Still, Tottenham ended with the sixth best defensive record (45), the seventh best PSxG (Post-Shot Expected Goals) (47.0).

They also produced the fewest errors leading to a shot/goal (4), the eighth worst successful pressure percentage (28.0%). Not only that Spurs, committed the fifth most fouls (440), had the tenth best clean sheet percentage (31.6%) and did that while averaging the seventh best points per game (1.63).

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Improvements they’ve made so far

As transfer windows go, Tottenham have actually had a decent time so far. They’ve let Toby Alderweireld, Erik Lamela, Joe Hart, Juan Foyth, Paulo Gazzaniga and Danny Rose leave while bringing in Bryan Gil, Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini to replace them. Both Romero and Gil are talented stars but their biggest concern has to be that man, yes that man aka Harry Kane. His absence from training, until a few days ago, has escalated things to a level few expected it to reach.

But then again Daniel Levy is a stubborn man who is willing to hold Kane hostage and at the moment, that’s exactly what the situation looks like. Yet, the problem is not selling Harry Kane, the problem is selling Harry Kane to Manchester City, a direct rival for top four and title positions. Now the former is realistic while the latter is what Tottenham expect to be challenging for. Because 100 million plus a few players is a deal that Spurs would have, in all likelihood, taken had it come from outside England.

But 150 million, or thereabouts, might even convince Tottenham to sell to Pep Guardiola’s “broke” side and almost transform their squad. And even then, replacing Kane might be tough but spend that money badly and pull a “Barcelona” is not something Spurs can afford to do. Still, Kane has three years left on his contract and that puts the ball in one court only even if Kane decides to disappear from this planet for the next three years.

How well could Tottenham do in the 2021/22 Premier League season?

Absolutely no-one knows how to predict a Tottenham side. They broke the pendulum last season by flying from one edge to the other, first to 10th before eventually clambering back up to 7th place for a decent finish. But what makes this even more complicated is the fact that the entire Harry Kane saga continues to rumble on and it seems to have absolutely no end in sight. Combine that with a new manager, a new defense, and what possibly be a new front-line, and Spurs will be lucky if they finish within the top six.

That's not their ceiling though because as they showcased, this is a side capable of finishing fifth, maybe even fourth with a lot of luck and by a lot of luck, we mean a lot of luck. They'll need every possible object known to provide luck in existence at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and then may need to summon a demon as a safety net. But their floor is where things get tricky because this side is more than capable of finishing well below 7th place. Not lower than 10th though because struggles or not, they're better than that.

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