MX23RW : Friday, October 19 07:39:50

Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole looks ahead to the 2015-16 Premier League campaign through the eyes of Tottenham Hotspur.

While never really challenging for a place in the top four and this season's Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur ended the 2014-15 campaign in a respectable fifth position.

The problem is, there are plenty of Spurs supporters that will be demanding more from Mauricio Pochettino and his players. They tasted what it was like to rub shoulders with European football's elite not that long ago and now they want some more of it.

Is that something that the Lilywhites will be able to provide during the 2015-16 Premier League campaign? Here, Sports Mole assesses what the chances are of Spurs wrestling their way into the leading quartet of sides.


In

Kevin Wimmer (Cologne), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid)

Out

Jordan Archer (Released), Cristian Ceballos (Released), Bongani Khumalo (Released), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Lewis Holtby (Hamburg), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland), Benjamin Stambouli (PSG)

Last season - 5th



Manager - Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014© Getty Images

Having done such an impressive job at Southampton, with greater resources at his disposal, the thinking was that Pochettino would be the man to deliver Champions League football back to White Hart Lane. While that might not have happened, the general consensus was that Spurs did make some progression under the Argentine's guidance.

They finished fifth, but also reached the final of the League Cup, where they were defeated by rivals Chelsea. What was more pleasing for Spurs fans, though, was Pochettino's desire to play the youngsters, which saw the likes of Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason all flourish throughout the campaign. But, with the notoriously trigger-happy Daniel Levy in charge, Pochettino must ensure that more advancements are made this term.


Key Player - Harry Kane

What a 12 months it has been in the life of this centre-forward. At the start of 2014-15, the 22-year-old was considered to be no more than a squad player - someone that could be potentially useful in cup competitions. Yet, a lack of goals from the club's other strikers handed Kane his chance and the youngster didn't look back as he scored 21 goals in the Premier League - only Sergio Aguero found the net more times. He also weighed in with another 10 goals in other competitions.

Of course, the pressure is now on to replicate that form, which is going to be easier said than done. There will be no surprise factor anymore, with centre-backs only too aware as to which ways he likes to turn and how he likes to receive possession. It is something that he will have to adapt to, mainly because as it stands, Pochettino has not bolstered his attacking options.

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring from the penalty spot for their third goal during the English Premier League football match against West Bromwich Albion on January 31, 2015© Getty Images


Possible starting lineup

Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason, Eriksen, Chadli, Lamela; Kane

First game: Manchester United (A), Full fixture list


Sports Mole says

The problem for Spurs is that although they have lofty ambitions, they do not have the financial muscle to fulfil those hopes on a consistent basis. They may squeeze in every now and then, but to be regular participants in the Champions League, it comes down to one thing - investment.

In terms of what Pochettino can do to boost their chances of reaching the top four, a plan B would not go amiss. Supporters were often frustrated by his apparent reluctance to alter tactics during a match, choosing instead to hope that Kane would bail the team out of a hole. At such a tender age, Spurs cannot afford to rely on the England international every week. Whether it be by delving into the transfer market or developing a new strategy, it could be the only chance that the North Londoners have of realising their target.

Prediction - 6th

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Where will Spurs finish in 2015-16?

Champions
Top four
Top six
Top half
Bottom half
Relegation
Champions
9.2%
Top four
26.9%
Top six
52.1%
Top half
10.1%
Bottom half
0.0%
Relegation
1.7%
Harry Winks of England during the England v Belgium - U18 International Friendly match at St Georges Park on February 18, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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