As the Premier League stops for the November International break, now is a good time to look at how the Premier League has unfolded, and one thing that is interesting is that in second place is Tottenham, one point behind leaders Leicester City. Now, with only eight games played this could just be a fairly positive start for Spurs that fades away but it also could be the start of a serious challenge for the Premier League title, and I think they can mount a challenge.
Tottenham have finished 3rd twice and 2nd once in three of the last five seasons. The one major factor in why I think Tottenham could improve on that and reach top spot is simple: Jose Mourinho.
The man has faced criticism over the last number of years, with the accusation that he has become outdated and that his player management skills, are not as good as they once were with relationships with Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba gaining media attention, while he was Manchester United boss.
However, the one thing that Mourinho has that Tottenham have needed is the winning mentality, and that does not leave a manager, no matter what club they go to or how old they get. This is a man that has won eight league titles in four different countries, with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
He has won trophies in Europe with two Champions Leagues and two UEFA Cups/Europa Leagues. Although, many look at his time with Manchester United as not being that successful, he has still been the most successful manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, he won a League Cup, a Europa League, reached an FA Cup Final and finished runners-up in the Premier League in 2018, the highest Manchester United have finished in the League since Ferguson left.
Mourinho, brings a winning mentality, and importantly an experience to guide those players that have not won too many trophies in their career and do not have that experience to call upon like Mourinho does. Furthermore, the Portuguese manager is a great tactician and is the best man to enable Tottenham to challenge for the title.
Though, this is not just about Mourinho.
The playing squad has improved from last season and has the credentials of one that could challenge for a title. The signing of Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid, demonstrates that world-class players still want to play for Mourinho. Importantly, Bale brings goals with the Welshman scoring 105 goals in 251 appearances for Real Madrid. He also improves Spurs creativity as he notched up 68 assists why at the Spanish club.
Also, Bale brings his own winning mentality and the more proven winners Tottenham have, the better their chances are to challenge for the title. Bale has won two La Liga’s, one Copa Del Rey, four Champions League, a Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cup’s. Gareth Bale C.V is important, because like his manager if Tottenham are up in the higher echelons of the league towards the end of the season, you need individuals that have experience of being successful in high pressure situations, that experience will add to the quality that Tottenham already possess with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.
In Kane, you have a individual capable of leading the line of any title challenging team, with 201 goals in 301 appearances for Tottenham and he is also useful in helping set up goals with 40 assists in his Spurs career. Son is a high-quality player, and him and Kane have developed a brilliant relationship on the pitch with both players influential in Spurs attacking efforts. Son himself has scored 95 times for Tottenham and assisted 52 goals while he has been at the club.
Furthermore, the strength in depth in Tottenham’s squad helps the case that they could mount a title challenge. The additions they made over the summer have made sure they have quality in the starting 11, on the bench and even in those that do not make the squad of eighteen on a matchday.
Just look at their bench for their last Premier League game against West Brom.
They had Carlos Vinicius, the striker they signed in the summer from Benfica, who seems a useful replacement to have should Harry Kane not be available or needs to be rested. Vinicius scored 24 goals in 49 appearances for Benfica, showing he can fill in for Kane or even come on to support him like he did against West Brom.
They have quality full-back replacements on the bench in Serge Aurier and Ben Davies. Aurier himself has experience of winning league titles in his time with PSG. They have an experience and high-quality reserve goalkeeper in Joe Hart, a man that has played for England 75 times and won two Premier League titles and won the Premier League Golden Glove four times.
Giovanni Lo Celso is a quality midfielder to have off bench, alongside Brazilian Lucas Moura, with both Lo Celso and Moura having won league titles with PSG, with Lo Celso winning one and Moura four. They demonstrate the quality of options on hand to Mourinho. Also, they have the young Welsh defender Joe Rodon on the bench, who demonstrates the mix of youth and experience Spurs have. The bench shows that Spurs have options in all areas of the pitch.
Also, the signings of Højbjerg, who has been impressive since signing from Southampton, Reguilón who has made the left-back spot his own since signing from Real Madrid, and Matt Doherty have all added to Tottenham’s quality but also improve the depth of the squad, which is important when injuries occur due to the schedule of playing in the League and the Europa League plus the domestic cup competitions. It enables Mourinho to rotate his squad.
Though, I do keep highlighting the experience Spurs have especially with those that have won trophies, in particular league titles, the promising thing for Spurs is it is still a relatively young squad, with only five of the eighteen in the squad for the game against West Brom over the age of 30.
The exciting thing for Tottenham is a lot of the squad are in their mid to late twenties, if these players want to win trophies, they need to do it while in their prime, so the likes of Kane and Son will be hungry for this season to be a fruitful one in terms of trophies.
The next period in the season for Spurs will be telling with the fixtures they have before the end of the year, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers all to play before the end of 2020. Therefore, if Spurs get through that period successfully, and are still in touching distance come the new year, they will have demonstrated their ability to compete and be successful with the best and can be confident to challenge for the title.
In my opinion, with Mourinho at the helm and the quality and experience they possess with the likes of Kane, Son, Bale, Alderweireld and Lloris, this could be the season when Spurs win the league for the first time since 1961.