It’s fairly apparent a crew has a behavior, even a status or historical past, of being a fuckaround when its very title is used as a definition of that. “Spursinees” has been a time period thrown round since simply in regards to the Premier League’s starting, which makes it clear what everybody thinks of Tottenham. Regardless of how good issues seem on the floor, it doesn’t matter what they’re simply on the cusp of, one thing will occur and it nearly definitely will probably be their very own doing. Nobody blows off their very own toes fairly just like the Spurs. It is a crew that may lose out on a Champions League place on the final day of a season when the entire crew is actually shitting themselves. Or bitter a relationship with perhaps the most sensible supervisor they’ve ever had. Or fail to rent one other nice supervisor as a result of he wished an excessive amount of cash and energy, scrounge round and discover one other supervisor lower than the job, after which have to return to the primary man anyway. And all of this was simply prior to now few years!
Nevertheless, on the eve of the brand new Premier League season, all is quiet on the Spurs entrance. There is no such thing as a switch drama round Harry Kane like this time final yr. There is no such thing as a uncertainty within the supervisor’s chair, nevertheless steady that chair will be when Antonio Conte is sitting in it. There are excessive expectations…besides they’re all fully cheap given the place Spurs completed final yr, what they’ve accomplished this summer time, and the relative state of the golf equipment they presumably will probably be competing with for Champions League spots.
The place as soon as there was angst, trepidation, and disgust, there’s solely pleasure, satisfaction, and confidence. What’s going on right here? We may have Conte to throw a shitfit simply so we will really feel on axis once more.
The serenity round Spurs stems from a reasonably environment friendly and well-planned summer time switch enterprise, in addition to their rousing end to 4th final season. It additionally helped that they closed arduous on the skin to nip fellow North Londoners Arsenal on the wire. Nothing satisfies them fairly like that. The Spurs knew what they wanted so as to add, went about it rapidly, and every little thing was just about settled earlier than they even returned for preseason coaching.
Depth up entrance was secured with Richarlison becoming a member of up from Everton. Whereas he could not begin when Kane, Son Heung-min, and Dejan Kulusevski are wholesome, Spurs are going to play quite a lot of games with Champions League commitments (particularly this season as all the group stage will probably be crammed in earlier than the World Cup) and Richarlison can slot in any of the three ahead spots in Conte’s set-up. He is not going to go stale on the bench. They added extra depth on the wing with the free switch of Ivan Perisic, a Conte darling from Inter who is usually a broad ahead or a wingback relying on the day. Midfield was shorn up with the seize of Yves Bissouma from Brighton, and whereas he’s a bit same-y as Pierre-Emile Hǿjbjerg or Harry Winks, he’s depth for a heavy schedule.
Even defense has been buffeted by the reclamation project of Clément Lenglet, who had his rep pretty much shattered amongst the ruins of Barcelona’s what-have-ya, but is still the player who got to the Nou Camp in the first place and is a regular with the France squad. If anyone can get him to realize his full potential, it’s Conte.
All of this was added to a team that closed with a flourish. Spurs won eight of their last 11 games last season, including getting a draw at Anfield and clubbing both Arsenal and West Ham along the way. They didn’t lose to either Liverpool or City last season, in fact, they beat the latter twice. Once Conte settled in after some pretty heavy turbulence after his introduction to Tottenham (nothing can ever be truly smooth with either him or Spurs), Spurs looked every bit the third-best team in the country, and finished only three points behind Chelsea. Considering how Spurs’ summer has gone and the way Chelsea’s has gone, it’s no wonder that more than a few are wondering if Spurs aren’t going to slip by them this time around while still probably not getting into the gated community of Liverpool and City.
The signing of Richarlison makes Spurs more Son and Kane-injury proof than they’ve ever been. Both are certainly going to miss time somewhere along the line, and usually, that meant the goals dried up for Tottenham. Richarlison is used to leading a line on his own with Everton and can certainly fill that gap if he has to.
If there’s one spot that looks a little short, it’s creativity from midfield. There are a lot of destroyers and fortifiers there without a lot of inspiration, though there’s more in Hǿjbjerg to be mined if they want. But Conte teams prefer to keep the center of midfield a security zone rather than an art museum, preferring to attack at high speeds through the wingbacks and forwards, which Spurs certainly have more than enough of. Perhaps when they run up against teams that are happy to camp around their own box and just give Spurs the ball they may struggle, but that is no guarantee.
Of course, this is Spurs, and this is Conte. When something goes wrong for either of them, it tends to go all wrong in a hurry right behind it. It’s just hard to see where that could fissure from with this team. Chelsea still needs a lot of help after what it lost this summer. Arsenal is looking pretty tasty, but has been just as Spurs-y as Spurs of late and its improvements are no more than what Tottenham has done. No one has any idea what United will be. Conte’s record in Europe is still very spotty, but Spurs aren’t expecting to win the Champions League this season anyway. This is a team that’s completely bought into what Conte is selling, and when that happens trophies tend to follow (see: Juventus, Chelsea, Inter). It may not last long, given Conte’s proclivity for getting antsy pretty quickly, but for now, it sure appears it’s all systems go. And even if he does, former beloved manager Mauricio Pochettino is practically pacing outside of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium waiting to volunteer to take his place.
Spurs a smooth-sailing ship. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama.
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.