Could Ange Postecoglou and No UCL Football See Spurs Back Into The Top 4 This Season?

Published on 24 August 2023 at 13:00

Even if the 2023/24 Premier League season is merely a fortnight old, Tottenham Hotspur's 2-0 win over Manchester United seemed very much like a statement win for the North London side. With a new manager at the helm in Ange Postecoglou, some refreshing new signings in both the midfield and defence, and seemingly free from any sense of expectation that comes with European football, are Spurs actually in their best position for success in years?


Last season had started with such promise for Spurs fans: under Antonio Conte, the club was enjoying its best start to a Premier League campaign, and with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool massively underperforming compared to their usually lofty standards, qualification for Champions League football and even a deep run in one of the domestic competitions looked like an absolute certainty with the Italian at the helm. 


Fast forward to their 6-1 defeat at St James' Park to a magnificent Newcastle team who would later go on to take Tottenham's place within the top four, and Spurs season looked like it drastically veered off a cliff never to recover. With Conte's now infamous public rants towards the players and the ownership, poor performance after poor performance, and having to scrap with a far hungrier Aston Villa for the UEFA Conference League spot, the 2022/23 campaign will be one many Spurs fans will want to forget. 


This upcoming season, individually and especially in comparison to the one prior, looks infinitely more promising. Unbeaten after the opening two games and looking more fluid and possessive than ever, just what is behind this uptick in Spurs' performances.


Read More: Ange Postecoglou to Spurs: What To Expect


The immediate answer on many people's lips will be the presence of Ange Postecoglou: after years of success in the Australasian football scene and most recently as manager of Celtic, the 57-year-old is treading unfamiliar waters in English football, but his tactics and manner so far have won vast acclaim from fans, pundits and neutrals alike.  


Postecoglou is managing relatively fine without Harry Kane, though this has mainly been because the majority of Spurs goals in the both pre-season and the regular season have come from the midfield and defence: new Captain Heung-Min Son and Brazilian striker Richarlison will have to step up soon as this good fortune and goalscoring form surely won't last the entire season. 


Speaking of the midfield, Postecoglou's re-integration of the highly-touted Bissouma and Sarr into the Spurs midfield has many raving, with the double pivot's energy and technique with the ball being far above the levels offered by the likes of Winks and Hojberg in prior years. 


Read More: Getting To Know Your Premier League Club: Spurs


So just how reasonable is the prospect of reaching the Champions League once again for Tottenham Hotspur this season? Considering Spurs have no European football this season, the fixture congestion and schedule should be quite friendly for them depending on their domestic cup performances.


The pain of missing out on Champions League football in the 21/22 season for Arsenal was one of the key catalysts for Mikel Arteta's Gunners to take the following season by storm and finish 2nd (their highest finish in over half a decade), and Chelsea's last league triumph came in a season where they too had failed to qualify for either the Champions League or Europa League: so if Spurs can infer any lesson from their key London rivals, it's that no European football may be a financial burden on the club, but also a real opportunity to springboard back up the table. 


Tougher games will come for Tottenham than the away draw to Brentford and the home win against Manchester United though: next Tuesday will see them travel to Craven Cottage in the Carabao Cup for an all Premier League clash against Fulham, meanwhile back-to-back fixtures against Arsenal and Liverpool (who, besides Newcastle, look to be Spurs' bogey teams) could derail any momentum Spurs have heading into the Winter.


But Premier League success isn't enjoyed simply through your own team's victories, but other's defeats: European football will add some much unneeded weight to the stressful campaigns of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Newcastle, so Spurs will welcome the lack of reprieve in their rivals' schedules if they're looking to once again breathe the rarefied air of UCL football.


How do you think Tottenham Hotspur will fare this season? Do you think a top 4 finish is within reach, or just a slight overachievement for their current squad? Let us know your thoughts on our official social media channels today.

- By Jaspar Shepherdson (@jasparshepmedia on Instagram and Twitter)


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