Tottenham Hotspurs’ Trouble

Kane and Pochettino Photo Credit: Tottenham Hotspurs

Ironically, after a fantastic season and Champions’ finals, the Spurs are having their toughest time since Mauricio Pochettino set foot in London.  Their two tough losses to Bayern Munich and Brighton indicate the club is marching in the wrong direction. 

Who got the the Spurs into this mess, and who can bail them out of it? Does Chairman Daniel Levy have a share in the fall? Will Manager Pochettino put his keys on the table and depart?

Written by: Ziv Chen

These are without doubt, terrible times for London’s Premier League Football Club Tottenham Hotspurs and its Argentinian Manager Mauricio Pochettino.  What happened to the Spurs in the past week could be described as a system failure, with pretty bad defeats, that some say can take the club years back.   Some warning signs appeared earlier in the season, still no one was ready for what happened last Tuesday, when Tottenham was defeated 7-2 by Bayern Munich.  And to make matters worse, it was a loss in front of the home crowed, in the new, state-of-the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Last time the Spurs conceded seven goals in a home game since it was founded 137 years ago in 1882 was, well, never.  This was the first time in the clubs history.  Amazingly enough, up to the 44th minute, the game was tied at 1-1 and the match looked pretty even.  But right before halftime came Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski’s goal, which was the beginning for the Spurs’ implosion in the second half.

Some pundits tried to draw from Alex Ferguson’s famous pun, saying it was “just another day in Tottenham’s long history.  Most of the club’s fans also wanted to believe it was a one-time accident with no logical explanation.  Others said that in the league match against Brighton four days later, the Spurs will regroup, and prove to everyone that it was just a one-off.

On paper, Brighton & Hove Albion was just what the doctor ordered for Tottenham.  A club that scored only five goals in its last seven games, and didn’t win at home for the past eight games.  But three minutes into the match, it was obvious that the Spurs are still not getting it right.  Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was not only responsible for conceding an embarrassing goal, but he also fell backwards and suffered a nasty elbow injury that will now leave the French National off the field for a while.


Hugo Lloris Injured

Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

For the rest of the game, Tottenham didn’t really get over the incident, and hosts Brighton looked a lot better and dangerous.  They won 3-0, and it could have been a lot worse for the Hotspurs.  At the post-match interview, Pochettino tried to project calm and confidence, but it wasn’t too convincing.  The last time the Spurs conceded 10 goals in two consecutive games was 22 years back, in 1997.

Pochettino arrived at Tottenham in 2014, and in the past five years managed to turn this mid-of-the-league-table team into a powerhouse that competes in the high end of the English Premier League.  Under his rein, the Spurs provided the English National Team more players than any other club.  And last season, Pochettino even led them to the Champions League Finals.  Although a 2-0 loss to Liverpool, it was still considered to his biggest career milestone.

But somehow, instead of building on the momentum and going after even greater achievements, it seems as if this was the high-note of the end of Tottenham’s current great run.  Now there are rumours that it’s only a matter of time until Pochettino will leave, and with him some of the squad’s key players.  Some say that the club can only start building itself again with new blood and fresh faces, and that from the beginning of the season, something just isn’t right with the team.

The team just isn’t playing as it did it its glory days.  They aren’t dominating the entire pitch and pressuring their opponents, as Pochettino used to dictate, the team lost its fighting spirit.  Christian Eriksen, perhaps the club’s greatest talent nowadays, has been showing indifference for quite some time now.  The Danish star really wanted to leave last season, and there were talks especially about Real Madrid.  However Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s powerful chairman, refused to release him.  The back doesn’t look good either.  Defender Jan Vertonghen and centre back Toby Alderweireld seem to be very slow and ineffective.  And goalkeeper Lloris? Even before the injury at Brighton he conceded some embarrassing goals.

Christian Eriksen: Wanted to Leave

Photo Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

For Pochettino, the International break came just in time.  He now has nearly two weeks to try and regroup and think about creative ideas on how to pull Tottenham out of the crisis.  His next game is at home, against another struggling side Watford.  But if the Spurs will somehow lose at home against Watford this time, it will probably be the beginning of the end.

But perhaps Pochettino himself is already planning his departure.  Prior to the Champions’ League Final he hinted that he may leave if the Spurs win.  So yeah they lost and he stayed, but this was not forgotten, it’s certainly remembered by Daniel Levy.

The Manager and Chairman had some arguments during summer, when the club had to forgo some talent during the past two transfer windows, due to the building of the new stadium.  In preparation for the current season, Levy did agree to pay for some players.  Notably, French midfielder Tanguy for $65 million, and Fullam’s Ryan Sessegnon for $30 million.  But that was much less than Pochettino wanted, and one day he may give that as reason for the collapse.

Mauricio Pochettino: Will He Stay? 

Photo Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Last year, in better days, then-popular Pochettino was courted by Real Madrid and Manchester United.  Levy boxed his manager in with a new, 5-year contract worth $10 million a year.  But he boxed himself also, given he’ll need to pay $40 million to sack the Argentinian earlier.

Currently, 47 year-old Pochettino is going nowhere, although he’s in the bookies lists as the second most-likely Premier League manager to be fired, after Everton’s Marco Silva.  How bad do things look for Pochettino? Well, even Manchester United’s struggling Ole Gunnar Solskjær has a better chance to stay with his team according to that list.

It is still too early to tell, and perhaps Pochettino will be able to weather the storm and steer the team back to success.  But there are already those who are trying to guess who’s going to be the next Hotspur’s manager, and names such as Jose Mourinho and Jürgen Klinsmann are already thrown in the air.

The forthcoming period is going to be crucial for Pochettino, and the fantastic club he had built in the last five years.  Yes there is a chance that he can fix things and pull the Spurs cart out of the mud, but there seems to be a growing feeling that Tottenham’s current era – the Pochettino era, is coming to an end.  But sadly, not a happy ending.