Can Spurs Go All The Way?

As far as first halves of the Premier League season go, Spurs under Jose Mourinho have a lot to be optimistic about. They lead the table on the approach to the January transfer window, with a single loss, and the best goal difference in the league. Conceding only nine goals speaks to a new style and organisation that Mourinho has adopted. It’s not even a particularly radical defensive line-up compared to those in past seasons. Jose’s success so far seems to come down to two things: the signing of Pierre Emile Hojberg as a central defensive midfielder and the telepathic chemistry of his two best attackers, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane.

These are really the major differentiators that are letting Spurs play a refreshingly organised and focused playing style. Whether they choose to continue to invest in January or stick with what they have almost doesn’t matter to Spurs fans. So long as the form continues – and the wins over bitter North London rivals – they won’t be complaining. Spurs boast an 11/2 chance of winning the Premier League outright, one of the lowest odds of any team, according to the latest football betting valuations. The confidence the bookies have in them is triggered by a string of victories that, far from gritty 1-0 wins, have been dominant performances over the Premier league’s very best.

Source: Unsplash

Hinging on Hojbjerg

Mourinho respected the Southampton midfielder Hojbjerg long before he became manager of Tottenham. The physical Dane was always something of an enabler on the field. From his days at Bayern to his introduction to the English game, Hojbjerg rarely got on the scoresheet or orchestrated the assists to team-mates but his impact came in being the pivot player sitting behind the attackers. A master of positioning, timing and tackling, Spurs likely wouldn’t be able to pull off the counter-attacking football they apply today with the same success without him. They’d be caught out anytime possession flipped.

With dynamic creative members like Frenchman Tanguy Ndombele and Argentine Giovani Lo Celso liberated from all their defensive duties, the team were able to pick apart teams like Arsenal and Manchester City despite conceding a lot of possession to those opponents. He wouldn’t be caught attempting step-overs or 40 yard passes. It was effective, consistent defending from the middle – no flash and no flair. Mourinho said it best in a recent Goal interview about the Dane; ‘simplicity is genius.’

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An All-Timer and a Star Striker

Heung-min Son is one of the Premier League’s most lethal attackers. A combination of pace, agility and technique make him unpredictable – fun to play with and a nightmare against. This is someone who can score from 25 yards on the dribble, as he did against Arsenal, or jinx his way through an 18-yard box. In the twenty or so matches he’s played, Son’s 13 goals and 6 assists is a testament to his work rate and creativity. However, Son alone wouldn’t put Spurs top of the table. It’s his strike partner, and possibly one of Europe’s very best players that make this team work.

Harry Kane is breezing through the season with 14 goals and 13 assists, many of which have been to Son. The duo are closing in on the all-time Premier League record for goal combinations. They currently have 31 and only Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard have more, with 36. Kane’s hold-up play is savvy, streetwise and incredibly effective. If he doesn’t offload to wingers Son or Steven Bergwijn, he draws the foul. Whether they can continue that form into the new year will be critical to going the distance this season.

Tottenham came within touching distance of a Champions League trophy in 2019, and perilously close to a Premier League title back when Leicester City claimed their own historic win. Everyone at the club is aware that performances and wins only go so far. Silverware cements legacies and puts their name in the history books. Captain Harry Kane will know it, as will Jose Mourinho. Neither are strangers to the upper echelons of football, and neither will accept anything less than a league title or a European trophy. It’s been a long time coming, but that wait might finally be coming to an end.

Best Up And Coming Stars In The Premier League

The Premier League has always been a farm for some of the best footballing talent in the world and has been the creator of some of the biggest names in the sport like Cristiano Ronaldo. Because of this, it has become a hot spot for some of the biggest talents to come to the league and develop and so today we look into some of the players currently playing in the Premier League that have huge futures in the sport.

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First of all, we will start with some homegrown talent in Manchester and that is Phil Foden. Dubbed as the Stockport Iniesta, Foden has been recognised as one of the best up and coming player out of England right now. Having played with some of the best players at Manchester City including Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, and under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Foden certainly has the foundations to become one of the best. Having made his England debut just a couple weekends ago, he has just recently scored 2 goals when he came on as a substitute against Iceland.

[Image: The Times]

Furthermore, and still on the English hype train is from the red side of Manchester and this is Mason Greenwood who could go on to be the long-term number 9 of the Red Devils. Greenwood has a lethal eye for goal and certainly knows how to break the back of the net. Many experts and pundits have highlighted him as being something “special” with many comparing him to club legend Robin Van Persie. Greenwood like Foden might struggle to claim a starting place straight away, but time will prove just how good these players really can be.

[Image: Goal.com]

And finally, we look as a French Under 21 who has just joined current leaders Leicester City from St Etienne for a reported $40 million that is Wesley Fofana. Many football fans didn’t know who the 19-year old was before he joined the Foxes this summer but since his arrival he has been seriously impressive and has one of the highest ceilings in terms of the position centre back in the league.

1994 vs 2005 – Which was the more dramatic PL dogfight?

This year will see May come and go without the Premier League’s traditional final-day relegation dogfight.

Though others are more than worthy of mention, there are two such days that certainly stand out as the most prominent inside the first 15 years of the Premier League’s existence, but which gives us the bigger goosebumps?

Stein saves Ipswich – 7 May 1994

In the end, this one came down to three teams: Ipswich, Everton and Sheffield United, one of which would drop into the Football League.

Notably, both of the latter teams are in contention to seal a UEFA Europa League berth via the league. Prior to the break, Sheffield United were among the favourites for the top six in the Premier League betting outright markets, but it was all very different for that duo 26 years ago.

Most of the early drama on the final day of 1993/94 took place at Goodison Park, with Everton conceding two goals to Wimbledon in farcical fashion. Everton pulled one back from the spot, to go in just 2-1 down (and relegated as the second-bottom club) at half-time.

By contrast, Sheffield United led 1-0 at Chelsea and sat three places above the drop zone. It had been a reasonably comfortable day for the Blades, but from their vantage point, the second half proved just how unforgiving football can be.

Everton ultimately rallied and fulfilled their end of the bargain, with a tremendous volley from Barry Horne and a fluke goal by Graham Stuart winning it for the Toffees. That left Ipswich (drawing 0-0 at Blackburn) and Sheffield United (now drawing 2-2) as the two teams threatened.

That was enough for the Blades to stay up, but they were mistakenly under the impression that Ipswich were winning. In turn, United went all-out attack and were duly hit with a winning goal from Chelsea’s Mark Stein.

Ipswich held out to draw, sending United into the abyss, where they would remain for twelve long years. In 2007, Sheffield United would again face final day agony, with West Ham striker Carlos Tevez’ winning goal at Old Trafford proving the death knell.

Christmas curse smashed – 15 May 2005

For the first time ever, no team in the bottom four was guaranteed survival or relegation going into the final weekend – thus, in practice, only one of four threatened teams (Norwich, Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Brom) would survive. Norwich merely had to win at Fulham to stay up, but that plan was soon scuppered by Fulham’s onslaught of goals.

Southampton took an early lead at home to Manchester United, putting them above the dotted line. United soon wrested back control, and come the second half, it was really between West Brom and Crystal Palace. After the break, West Brom raced into a 2-0 lead at home to a half-motivated Portsmouth.

Sadly for them, it looked as though their efforts would be in vain, with Palace leading 2-1 at Charlton as the 2004/05 season headed into the final ten minutes of its lifespan. Enter Jonathan Fortune, whose late goal made him the toast of Sandwell, ensuring West Bromwich’s survival.

In staying up, West Bromwich also became the first team to survive after being bottom of the league on Christmas Day.

Which is the greatest escape?

There were technically six teams with no cast-iron guarantee of top-flight status or relegation in 1994, whereas there were only four in such a situation back in 2005. The decisive goal was also scored much later in the 1994 relegation battle.

The 1994 survival fight also came close to bookending forty years of top-tier action for Everton, who had been champions just seven years previously. For some, that alone is enough to see 1994 take the crown as the greatest final-day survival battle of the Premier League era.

A Way Too Early Assessment of Leicester City’s Summer Signings

Leicester City’s most recent summer transfer window? was largely consumed with the tiresome Harry Maguire to Manchester United transfer saga.

When the dust had settled on that farcical episode though, many pundits speculated that the Foxes had quietly conducted some of the most intelligent business in the Premier League.

Their strong start to the season, in which they have managed to win half of their games so far, seems to corroborate these evaluations.

But just how much have Leicester’s four signings contributed to the Brendan Rodgers’ side early success? 90min have assessed each of the club’s new arrivals’ starts to the season.


Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans – a man described as the ?biggest bargain of the summer in July has continued to impress at the King Power Stadium. Joining permanently for £40m following a loan spell last season, the central midfielder has not missed a league game so far this campaign.

After getting off to a bit of a slow start in the Foxes’ opening few fixtures, the Belgian has found his feet in recent weeks and was extremely impressive in his side’s 2-1 win over ?Tottenham. Against the Lilywhites, Tielemans was combative and creative in equal measure, contributing significantly to ?Leicester winning the midfield battle.

The 22-year-old’s standout performances however came against ?Bournmeouth. Tielemans scored and provided a beautiful one-touch pass to assist ?Jamie Vardy’s second of the game in a 3-1 win.

He’s vital to Brendan Rodgers’ playing style, conducting the Leicester orchestra from midfield. Spurs and ?Manchester United will both be kicking themselves that they couldn’t sign him in the summer.

Grade: A-


James Justin

James Justin

Another player tipped as a real ?bargain this summer, James Justin has had his playing time restricted by the impeccable form of Ricardo Pereira.

Brought in from Luton Town after helping the Hatters secure promotion from League One, Justin is comfortable on either defensive flank and is a real threat going forward.

He demonstrated this recently in his only start of the season in a Carabao Cup game against, ironically, his former employers. Continuing a run from right back, Justin snuck in behind the Luton defence and finished off a sumptuous 35-yard pass, from fellow new arrival Youri Tielemans, with a calm side-footed strike.

His performances that day demonstrated that he has tremendous talent. Justin will surely be afforded greater involvement in the first team in the near future.

Grade: C+


Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez

?Ayoze Perez’s signing came somewhat out of the blue. In a rare occurrence in the current transfer market, rumour became fact in a matter of days, much to the ire of ?Newcastle United fans.

Perez’s versatility has meant he has been shoehorned into a number of positions in Leicester’s front line, limiting his effectiveness so far.

Always a willing worker, when playing out wide Perez has a tendency to drift inside which can often leave the central half spaces congested. However, it does allow Ricardo Pereira to overlap which has been an abundant source of chance creation for the Foxes this season.

Perez is probably best suited to playing behind the striker and he created Leicester’s equaliser against ?Liverpool playing in this area. With James Maddison performing so well though, the 26-year-old will probably have to make do with competing for a wide berth for the foreseeable future.

Grade: C-


Dennis Praet

Dennis Praet

?Brought in on transfer deadline day to little fanfare, Dennis Praet’s start to life at Leicester has been a pleasant surprise.

Critics questioned where Praet would fit into the team owing to the Foxes being well equipped in midfield already, but the Belgian has played his way into contention with a string of elegant performances.

Praet carries the ball forward with confidence and his passing is always positive and probing, as he demonstrated in his side’s 5-0 demolition of Newcastle United.

One of the latest products that have come out of Genk, where Kevin De Bruyne, Divock Origi and Thibaut Courtois all received their footballing education, the Belgian already looks at home in Brendan Rodgers’ side. 

Grade: B- 


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