The best and worst of Spurs' season
It’s been a turbulent season at White Hart Lane. Here’s a look at which players coped best this campaign and who failed to make an impression.
Numerous Premier League clubs have been linked with Christian Eriksen in recent years. Spurs took the chance on the talented Dane and the £11.5million fee they paid Dutch giants Ajax for his services appears to be an absolute steal. Eriksen was one of many high profile signings made by Spurs following Gareth Bale’s departure to Real Madrid; 7 goals and 8 assists in his debut season in England’s top flight is an impressive return. When players around him have under performed, Eriksen has always looked to create chances and has popped up with vital goals throughout the duration of the season. He has proved a huge threat from dead ball situations and his vision, awareness and unselfish nature has earned him great plaudits from the Tottenham faithful.
Although the Spurs defence has leaked goals all season long, the blame can’t solely be pinned on goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. In fact, the 27-year-old has had an outstanding first season in the Premier League. Many believed the experienced Brad Friedel would be challenging Lloris for a place in the first team, but the French Number 1 has started all but 1 League game for Spurs this season. No one defines the term ‘sweeper keeper’ better than Hugo Lloris. He is incredibly alert and seeks out danger swiftly and efficiently. All campaign he has intercepted passes that have breached Tottenham’s back line and prevented countless goal scoring opportunities for opposing attackers. Spurs fans will hope that Lloris will stay at ‘The Lane’ for years to come.
Exiled from the first team and forced to train with Tottenham’s youth players; Emmanuel Adebayor’s season could not have started any worse. Following the sacking of Andre Villas Boas, his successor, Tim Sherwood, wasted no time in promoting the experienced striker back into the first team. Having only featured in 21 Premier league games all season, 11 goals is a more than satisfactory return for a player who looked destined for the exit at White Hart Lane. His attitude must also be commended; the impact he has had on the whole team since spending months on the sidelines is admirable. Adebayor’s knowledge and experience of the Premier league has given him the edge over Roberto Soldado, who has proved that even a player of his calibre can struggle in England’s top division.
Other notable players who performed well for Tottenham this season include the dynamic Brazilian midfielder Paulinho and promising young Englishmen Danny Rose and Andros Townsend.
It was clear that both Tottenham managers this season favoured different players. What was also evident was that neither were convinced by the 22-year-old Argentinian winger Erik Lamela. Signed for a club record fee from Roma prior to the start of the campaign, it looked as though Lamela was as close to a like-for-like replacement for Gareth Bale as you could get. His transfer now looks to have been a blatant panic buy from club chairman Daniel Levy and like many other Tottenham transfers last summer, the manager had little say in the purchase. Lamela barely featured in the Premier League all season and managed just one goal in the Europa League. He is still young and has plenty of years of development ahead of him, however no player of his standard and with such a colossal price tag, has coped so poorly in their first season in the Premier League.
Having netted 24 La Liga goals for Valencia in the previous campaign, Spurs fans expected more of the same when the Spaniard joined last summer. Having now reached the end of the Premier League season, Soldado has managed only 6 goals (4 of which were penalties) in 28 league games. He started the season as Andre Villas Boas’ main man, featuring ahead of the outcasted Emmanuel Adebayor in a formation that could only accommodate one out-and-out striker. When Tim Sherwood took the reigns at White Hart Lane however, he had no problems with letting the £26million man know exactly how he felt and immediately dropped the underachieving striker. With the young Englishman Harry Kane also profiting from the poor form of Soldado, the Spanish ‘goal machine’ will have to start living up to his name or risk facing yet more time warming the bench.
When Dembele moved to Tottenham from London rivals Fulham in 2012, he arrived as an attacking player, having predominantly featured in the ‘number 10’ role at Craven Cottage. Due to the influx of offensive players at Spurs, Dembele has been forced to play a much more restricted role this season. This has clearly hampered his progression and there is no doubt that he has a greater impact on the game further up the field. Goal scoring has never been one of the Belgian’s main strengths, but even more than ever this season, when he has got into those kind of positions, he has panicked and no longer looks confident in a forward role. Dembele showed signs of becoming a key player for Spurs last season, but with so many midfield options available to whoever takes over at White Hart Lane, he may find his days at Tottenham are numbered.
Nacer Chadli also failed to live up expectations this season. Similarly, Sandro and the ageing Michael Dawson has less than impressive campaigns.
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