Football

Five reasons why Tottenham will not make the top four

The loss of Gareth Bale will prove costly. (©GettyImages)
The loss of Gareth Bale will prove costly. (©GettyImages).

Tottenham have had a strong start to the Premier League season. They currently sit second on goal difference to their local rivals Arsenal with four wins and just one loss.

They went big in the transfer window picking up the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado and Paulinho with the money earned from the world record £86 million earned from the sale of Gareth Bale.

Many players, managers and pundits are classing Spurs this season as not only top four contenders, but maybe even title challengers. 

This weekend sees the visit of Chelsea to White Hart Lane and a win against Jose Mourinho's side would send out a serious message to other top four challengers that Spurs are a side to be reckoned with.

However, despite the strong start, Tottenham still face an uphill struggle to claim a coveted Champions League spot, let alone challenge for the title.

A combination of misfortune and end-of-season collapses has seen Spurs fail to qualify for Europe's premier club competition for the last three seasons - since their debut in the tournament in 2010-11.

And it is likely that the north London side will have to settle for the Europa league once again next September.

Here are five reasons why:

Gareth Bale

Many have been suggesting that Spurs are actually better off without their Welsh talisman. It is certainly true that his sale to Real Madrid has paid for a whole host of new players.

Bale has not been missed so far this season, but that will change. So often last season Spurs picked up points only because of the sublime Welsh winger. He scored 21 league goals last term, many of them at key moments.

Gareth Bale is a proven match-winner and without him Spurs may struggle to claim victories when the pressure is on.

The competition

The simple fact is that there are only four Champions League spots and seven teams that could realistically be competing for them.

It is difficult to see the Manchester clubs along with Chelsea and Arsenal not being around the top four come May - they always are. Throw a resurgent Liverpool into the mix - and maybe even Everton - and it is clear that Spurs will have to cause some big upsets to claim a Champions League spot.  

Historically, Spurs do not have a good record against big teams - their only loss this season was to fellow top four challengers Arsenal - and if this trend continues they will struggle. 

The manager

Andre Villas-Boas is a good manager, but he is young and inexperienced. This may be crucial to Tottenham's Champions League ambitions.

AVB's inexperience is highlighted by the fact that this is the first time he has gone into a second season with the same club, he is now in unchartered territory. He won the Europa League title with Porto but failed to impress at Chelsea.

Gareth Bale carried his side through last season and without his star player the Portuguese manager will be under pressure to show his quality over the season. When the going gets tough around Christmas with the fixtures coming thick and fast, Villas-Boas' inexperience may prove costly. 

Young squad/new players

Tottenham have a young side with plenty of new additions, very few of whom have experience of a Premier League scrap for position. All Spurs' new signings will take time to bed in and that may cause a problem.

There is no doubt that their squad has the quality to mount a challenge for the top four - but not this season. Premier League experience is essential at the business end of the season and Tottenham do not have that.

Lack of goals

In five Premier League games this season, Spurs have only scored five goals, and two of those have been penalties. This is a problem. Failure to convert chances can be costly - as Liverpool have found over the last couple of seasons.

Reliance on set pieces and late goals will not be enough to give Tottenham the wins they need to claim a top four spot. If someone does not step up to score the goals that have been sold to Real Madrid then Spurs can wave goodbye to a top four finish. 

 

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football

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