On a personal note the only problem I have with Tottenham right now is the way they have been given an easy ride by the press. I like a lot of people don’t always agree with Alan Shearer but his argument with Jermaine Jenas on Saturday showed the exact double standards that are coming with Spurs right now. Had Pep’s Ground Half Empty XI lost in the way Spurs did Saturday afternoon we would have been hammering their inability to defend against the top teams in the big games. However when it’s Spurs they were simply unlucky young, not overpaid, plucky, heroic English players, I was delighted to see Shearer put Jenas in his place on this hypocrisy.
The main issue I have with Pochettino’s boys is that they simply do not seem to turn up when the lights are brightest. Take their Champions League campaign, an appalling effort from a team that were supposed to be England’s best hope in the competition. Dele Alli & Harry Kane were non-existent, as they were for England last summer, and Tottenham were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the group stage despite having a relatively friendly group. Then there is the less than spectacular away record against the rest of the top 7; 3 losses and 3 draws. You cannot win a league with an away record like that against the other title challengers. The best defense in the league hasn’t kept a clean sheet in any of these games, and Kane & Alli have only scored 1 goal each in those 6 games. If they want to be seen as world class then they have to do it in these big games, not at home vs Sunderland or Burnley.
The secondary issue Spurs and Pochettino have is their squad depth, something which Pochettino and Daniel Levy have to take some blame for, they had a great chance to really push on this summer with the Champions League money and the new Premier League TV deal providing them with what should’ve been a war chest to really push on and win trophies. Instead they signed Moussa Sissoko, N’Koudou and Janssen for £57.8m all of whom have been underwhelming to say the least. For all the praise Pochettino deserves for his work this season has been a poor year for recruitment for Spurs and him. All the other major sides (bar cross-London rivals Arsenal) have added 2 quality starters. While we are on the subject of Arsenal it must be made clear that despite their obvious problems Arsenal still made it out of the group in the Champions League, have reached the FA Cup Final and are still in with a shout of top 4 for the 20th consecutive season. It shows the difference of standards that Arsenal are held to compared to Spurs. Spurs have to class this season as a failure if they do not win the league which, despite a recent wobble from Chelsea, looks unlikely.
We have to start holding Spurs to the standards of the rest of the Top 6, if you want to play with the big boys you have to be held to the same standard as them, not be treated like a slightly better Leicester. You cannot class players such as Dele Alli world-class until they start proving that they are not the bridesmaids’ that choke when it comes to the crunch. If they can do that and win a trophy then we can give them all the accolades that their talent undoubtedly deserve but until then this side and its players can only be described as very good, not great.