The 2015/16 season ended up on a frustrating note for Tottenham Hotspur.
For a while, it promised so much; fighting for silverware on three fronts and looking strong throughout the team, but as we have come to expect with Spurs in recent years, all promise came to nothing.
Of course, Mauricio Pochettino would have taken third place at the beginning of the season, but in the circumstances, it was disappointing.
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However, there's no reason that should be Spurs' only shot at the title. With a brilliant and committed young manager, a strong squad that will only improve with age, and the promise of Champions League football to lure potential signings, White Hart Lane could see another title tilt.
In order to do this though, they need to sort some things out first.
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Their midfield cover was massively shown up at the end of the season, with Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele both suspended.
As much as people say losing out on the title cost Spurs their second place in the Premier League, it was more down to having neither of these two available for selection. The amount of guile, drive and tenacity they add between them, working in defence and attack, has been key to all that was good about Spurs this year.
The side can cope without one, but without either, the midfield is lightweight.
Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb should be out the door if Spurs want to genuinely up their ambition, while the likes of Son Heung-min, Nacer Chadli and Tom Carroll are good players, but unlikely to challenge the best defences around.
The question of what happens if Harry Kane gets injured is still a big one; Christian Eriksen, Eric Lamela, Alli, Dembele, Eric Dier, Son, Chadli and even Toby Alderweireld, have all chipped in with goals when it mattered, but a genuinely quality striker to provide back-up for Kane is crucial.
Certainly, Clinton N'jie hasn't looked up to the job. Having said that, Hugo Lloris, Kane and Spurs' defence - including backups - were reliably excellent all year, and if they continue that form into next season, then the required tweaks to the squad are fairly minimal.
Key to the loss of Alli and Dembele was discipline. Or rather, indiscipline.
Under Pochettino, Spurs have become a far more aggressive team in both tactical and physical terms, and have often been willing to take the fight to the opposition. Lamela and Jan Vertonghen are particular offenders, and Spurs have picked up a lot of yellows, albeit fairly few reds.
This has become an important part of their game; it has given them an edge in many ways, and they're no longer looked on as a team with a soft underbelly, which has been a Spurs characteristic for what feels like many years.
Purists may disagree about the importance of the physical side of the game, but it worked well for Spurs, and is something that South American teams seem to make better use of.
However, as in the Chelsea match, all emotions boiled over and both teams were deservedly punished. Having lost Alli for a ridiculous punching incident the previous match, Spurs then lost Dembele for the rest of the season too, picking up a record nine yellows. This is not a tactical element Pochettino needs to get rid of, but it is one that needs to be reined in and less subject to heated emotions in the moment.
Last season, Spurs were also fairly fortunate with injuries. Besides a mid-length layoff for Vertonghen, where Kevin Wimmer deputised adequately, and very little game time for N'jie, most injuries were fairly minor, and sustained for no more than a few games.
The chosen starting XI could beat most teams on their day, but when a couple of key positions are out, Spurs suddenly look a far less dangerous prospect, so keeping the likes of Kane, Alli, Dier and Eriksen fit is crucial.
If all this comes to pass – the right signings, better discipline, and a fit squad – and Spurs continue on the same track they were on for most of last season, they could genuinely win the league.
Playing in the Champions League could hurt them, but the fitness Pochettino demands of his teams, and his ability to rotate the squad, has been proven.
However, with Pep Guardiola taking over at Manchester City, Jose Mourinho returning with Manchester United, and Arsene Wenger out to succeed in possibly his last ever season in English football, the competition will be fiercer than ever, after a year when the big teams collectively failed.
With a lot of work to do, Antonio Conte will likely have a significant budget to work with at Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will likely be far more consistent this year, and Leicester City should be causing every team problems in 2016/17, assuming they can hold on to their key players.
So this is not by any means to say that, even if they manage to improve the squad, discipline and keep everyone fit, Spurs will win the league, but that they have to achieve all of this if they are to have any chance.
Can Tottenham Hotspur win the Premier League next season? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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