Tottenham currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League after a patchy start to the new campaign, but despite early turbulence Mauricio Pochettino’s side are only two points from the league leaders.
With a lot of twists and turns around the corner, here are five things we’ve learned about Spurs so far this season.
1. They’re Discovering the Art of Winning Ugly
They have not had the perfect start to the season having struggled to maintain their rhythm and potency as the weeks progressed, but crucially Spurs have been able to keep pace with the league leaders by grinding out wins.
The fluent and attacking brand of football has turned into a pragmatic approach which has not been as pretty on the eye but, crucially, it has kept momentum rolling in their Premier League campaign.
It’s a maturity which Danny Rose previously commended having said: “It’s a great sign and I’d rather win ugly than lose playing brilliant football.”
Spurs’ record of six wins and two defeats is their best-ever start to a league season and sees them two points off the top spot. And with improvements to be made across the park they will be looking to combine the ability to win ugly and in style over the coming months – which in recent history has been when they hit their stride.
2. Injuries Are Taking a Toll
Part of the reason for Tottenham’s need to find other ways to win comes from the plethora of injuries they have had to contend with thus far.
Currently Pochettino has seven players on the treatment table with varying degrees of seriousness, from Rose’s groin strain to Jan Vertonghen’s hamstring injury which is set to keep the defender sidelined until December.
The injuries have unsettled the team and forced changes to a starting lineup which has previously picked itself, so much so that no new transfers were obtained over the summer.
Moreover, Tottenham have yet to field the same starting lineup for more than one game in a row this season as lingering fatigue and injuries continue to take their toll.
Pochettino will hope he has better fortune for the weeks and months ahead.
3. They’re Conceding Too Many Shots on Goal
Tottenham’s defence so far this season has yet to hit their stride as rotation, injury and fatigue all take their toll – and it is allowing the opposition to have too loose of a leash.
Spurs have already conceded 110 shots on their goal in just nine league games, a statistic which its impact is only appreciated when you consider they only allowed 355 in the entirety of the 2017/18 season.
While they have yet to be truly punished after conceding just seven goals, it is a facet of their game which needs tightening up ahead of meetings with Manchester City and Chelsea within the next month.
4. Lucas Moura Has Been a Key Cog in the Machine
Lucas Moura struggled to make an impact for Spurs in the second half of last season following his move from Paris Saint-Germain, but the Brazilian has since burst into life with a full pre season under his belt.
His match winning brace against Manchester United ensured he started the campaign with three goals in the first three games, and while he has since been unable to impact the scoreboard directly he remains one of Tottenham’s most dangerous players.
The Brazilian has has featured in all of Spurs’ games to date and has repaid Pochettino’s faith having capitalised on Erik Lamela’s absence due to injury and Son Heung-min’s involvement in the Asia Games.
5. There’s a Goalkeeper Conundrum
With just 11 games on the board Tottenham have already called upon each of their three shot stoppers – Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm and Paulo Gazzaniga – with contrasting results.
While it shows a degree of depth in the position, injury and form have forced Pochettino’s hand as he struggled to identify his second choice stopper while maintaining consistency in his back line.
Vorm has been shaky at best and his injury paved the way for Gazzaniga’s introduction, who has duly impressed. Hugo Lloris’ injury also threw up another challenge and Pochettino will now be hoping to finalise his pecking order and add stability back in the position moving forward.