Spurs On the Up

Published on 29 September 2023 at 20:00

Tottenham have started the season strongly, with a number of new signings and Ange at the wheel, they look to be proving many doubters wrong. From Micky Van De Ven's presence, James Maddison flourishing, Ange's masterful tactics, to Son rediscovering his goalscoring form - Tottenham are thriving.

Despite many, including pundit Gary Neville, expecting Tottenham Hotspur to be overwhelmed and comfortably beaten in last Sundays North London Derby, The Lilywhites emerged with an utterly deserving point. However, the character, confidence and desire shown by Spurs was arguably more impressive than the point that they brought back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. To come back not once, but twice in the game against their arch-rivals in a ground as hostile as The Emirates on derby day is an admirable feat. The most recent North London Derby proves Spurs have turned a corner under Ange Postecoglou, emerging unbeaten after six games and sitting fourth in the table.

With James Maddison pulling all the strings in midfield, Micky Van De Ven a Rolls Royce at the back and Heung Ming Son rediscovering his world class form up top – Spurs look like the real deal under big Ange. Undoubtedly, there were, and perhaps still are, big questions surrounding Spurs and whether they would cope without their former talisman and England captain Harry Kane after he left for Bavaria in the summer. However, in essence, the arrival of Postecoglou has meant Harry Kane’s departure has been far less disruptive. Ange has brought a sense of stability to Tottenham, so despite the loss in quality through Kane, others have stepped up and taken responsibility to fill the void. Furthermore, Kane's absence has not changed the core part of how Spurs have been and will continue to play.

The new manager has introduced a very similar philosophy and tactical knowhow as was portrayed during his extremely successful time at Celtic – where he won the domestic treble. Playing out calmly from the back, with the full backs moving inside to allow ball progression through the midfield has been a key factor in Postecoglou’s success so far. Moreover, the fullbacks also make underlapping runs to help keep possession high up the pitch and in the wide areas with the no.6 (often Bissouma) given freedom to press and roam throughout the game.

In fact, Kane’s summer move has allowed Spurs to reinvest the money and address their biggest weakness (centre-back) in the form of Micky Van De Ven, the big Dutch centre half has been a colossus since signing for The Lilywhites. Perhaps the most important moment bar Ange’s appointment for Spurs this summer was when Van De Ven arrived in North London. Forming a resilient partnership with Cristian Romero the pair have meant Tottenham have started to look sturdy and stubborn at the back – a drastic change from recent years where the defence has been fragile and leaky. To go with the centre back pairing flourishing, Vicario in between the sticks has been a breath of fresh air. Proving reliable, good enough with his feet, and an extremely competent shot stopper, many Spurs fans are already saying he is an upgrade on former captain Hugo Lloris. Spurs have also invested some of the Kane money on Welsh forward Brennan Johnson who has great potential and started well in the derby last weekend. This is all without mentioning the brilliant Destiny Udogie, along with Pedro Porro, Bissouma and Sarr who all look reborn this season under Ange.

Finally, and unquestionably the best bit of business Spurs or any team has done this summer has been the signing of James Maddison for just £40 million. Signing the English attacker from relegated Leicester has looked a rare masterstroke by Daniel Levy thus far. Maddison has racked up a combined six goals and assists in as many games not to mention winning the August Player of the Month award. The creative midfielder is a constant threat to the opposition and at the centre of all Spurs’ attacking efforts – filling the no.10 role which is a gap that has long pained Tottenham faithful. With the protection behind of Yves Bissouma and Papa Matar Sarr, Maddison can excel in the free role he has been given and has already established himself as the main man and a creative fulcrum in the starting XI.

Thus, it could be said Kane leaving for Bayern Munich is a blessing in disguise, with it allowing Spurs to strengthen in areas that needed it most as well as bolstering the attacking squad depth. Additionally, and perhaps significantly, Spurs are going in a different direction to what they are usually are known for. James Maddison told talk SPORT “the neutrals talk about us, they often say soft, weak, bottle it, Spursy and all that rubbish”. The performances so far this season help prove Tottenham are on the up and made of much sterner stuff than in previous years. Both Maddison and big Ange are extremely likeable characters, who many cannot help but love – with them embracing everything about the club so quickly after arriving, from body language to post match interviews, they both already live and breathe Tottenham.

Tottenham look good, it goes without saying, however questions do still loom as to how long they can keep this good form up and whether after a blip or bad result it will all go kaput. It will be interesting to see how they cope with the stern test of Liverpool on Saturday evening this week, with Jurgen Klopp’s reds coming into the game undefeated and in good form themselves.

 

Written by Carrick Galbraith

Twitter - @carrickgalb123

Instagram - @carrick.426_

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Comments

James Edward
10 months ago

Brilliant article, analytic, incisive, informative, well written, a very good read.
The big man from Down Under has definitely made a huge difference