Tottenham Hotspur Season Review 2014/15

We as a fan base came into this season with low expectations. Mauricio Pochettino had only just come in, had one pre season and not brought in game changing signings. It had the look of another transition season plastered all over it. The only thing we really wanted was an improvement on a disastrous 2013-14 season under Andre Villas Boas and then Tim Sherwood, where there was a complete divide between the club and the fans for the first time in a long while – so Pochettino’s first order of business was to turn that divide into a connection once again, and that includes beating some of the big sides, the team showing that they care and playing some good football – our position at the end of the season was of course cared about, but I think this season, there wasn’t the pressure on the shoulders of the players and club that Champions League football was a must – because with the sides around us, and the squad we had at the start of the season it simply didn’t look feasible and that is the way it turned out in the end. Next season is where we can judge Pochettino more objectively – with what we hope is a good summer transfer window with the keeping of key players, the introduction of good players and the leaving of the players that aren’t in Pochettino’s plans – then, with a squad that looks more like his, we can push on and hopefully have a very good season under the Argentine.
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Premier League

Overall our League form wasn’t fantastic. Losses to West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane are what really dragged us down; all games we could have won, and if we had there would be no doubting we would be in the Champions League places. 12 points unnecessarily dropped, and with those points we would have hit 76 points, and finished in third, ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United – which is frustrating to say the least. But looking back at games we could and maybe should have won is frivolous, we didn’t and on the day every team that rocked up to White Hart Lane and beat us, deserved it – and brilliant performances came from struggling sides (and Stoke). Hopefully we can learn from these mistakes at the Lane and make sure they don’t happen again – teams lower in the table seem to be able to shut us down too easily and make it really difficult to create, and that has happened for a while now, even under Harry Redknapp. Even though our home form improved as the season went on, we still looked a little vulnerable against the lower opposition sides at the Lane and that needs to change next season – White Hart Lane needs to be a fortress.

The positives of the season in the Premier League come in the form of victories over Chelsea and Arsenal – the most memorable moments of our season, and definitely the best performances. On January 1st 2015, something must have clicked in the minds of the players because they didn’t look afraid of the big sides any more – they looked confident and controlled coming up against a giant of the game in Chelsea – and even going a goal down, when last season that would have led to a three or four goal defeat against a team like Chelsea, we rallied and performed to an even higher standard – and to demolish a side like Chelsea 5-3 was absolutely magnificent, something I will never forget about this season. Of course winning a North London Derby will always get into the positive side of the season, but this one was special – once again going a goal behind, we put in a performance possibly even more spirited than against Chelsea and outplayed Arsenal entirely, with crunching tackles, great defending and looking threatening up top – it was brilliant and I believe that the players understand what the derby matches mean to us, possibly because of the youth we have through the core of the team that gave us that tenacity and spirit when we needed it, and the quality of the Vertonghen, Lloris’ in the side looked even better because of the performances of your Mason’s and Bentaleb’s in the side. It was even more special because Harry Kane was the player that won us the match, a tap in from a corner and then a beautiful cross from Nabil Bentaleb found Kane and he produced one of the best headed goals I’ve seen at White Hart Lane late on for a 2-1 win. A great day neither the fans nor Kane will forget very easily.

Fifth place in the end was secured, meaning Europa League football next season. Finishing above Liverpool and Southampton who would have looked odds on to breeze ahead of us earlier in the season – but didn’t, while also being just six points off Manchester United in fourth. This isn’t a Premier League season I will look back on in distain, hopefully it’s one that I can look back on knowing it was a building block to future success. The rise of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb – the emergence and improvement of Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli, while discovering another talent in Eric Dier. Our wins over Chelsea and Arsenal – and in the end securing fifth place. I’m not complaining; a good first Premier League season for Mauricio Pochettino – but the he and the players, along with the fans know that this isn’t enough – and next season there will be an expectation for more. Hopefully we can get even further improvement.
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Europa League

Not a Europa League campaign to remember. We qualified with wins home and away over AEL Limassol. Taking us into a group stage along with Besiktas, Partizan and Asteras. We started that group stage off with an enthralling 0-0 with Partizan away from home, and then a frustrating 1-1 draw with Besiktas at the Lane with Harry Kane scoring a great goal, but Vlad Chiriches giving away a silly penalty in the last seconds for Demba Ba to slot home. We then got our first win in the competition quite emphatically, a 5-1 drubbing over Asteras Tripolis, with Erik Lamela getting a brace and treating us to the most amazing goal of the season, a rabona from outside the box into the top of the goal – an incredible piece of skill that will be a contender for UEFA Puskas award for best goal next year I’m sure. Along with that Lamela brace Harry Kane scored his first hat trick for Tottenham and also had a go in goal, which brought upon another memorable moment in our season from this game. Another win over Asteras away from home and then a 1-0 victory over Partizan at the Lane secured our place in the round of 32, but we didn’t top the group as we lost to Besiktas away from home which was a disappointing night in which the lights didn’t even work!

We went on to face Fiorentina in the Round of 32 but could only muster a 1-1 draw at the Lane before falling to a 2-0 defeat at the Artemio Franchi Stadium, which saw us knocked out of the Europa League. This Europa League campaign was fairly poor really, but when drawn against a side of Fiorentina’s quality with a Capital One Cup final to think about just a few days later; it wasn’t to be our year in Europe. There has been a lot of debate as to whether Europa League is more of a hindrance than anything else and you have to admit that it does take a lot out of the players, with long trips to smaller clubs and a format of Thursday – Sunday which doesn’t really help the players when they have to make long trips, and it can be an excuse that the players use not to perform, sadly. We are in the Europa League next season, but as we aren’t likely to win it, I see it as an opportunity to introduce young players into the first team and give them a chance; the likes of Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks & Kyle Walker-Peters. A change of philosophy in the Europa League from trying to win it, back to Harry Redknapp’s way of playing youth players is probably the most diplomatic answer to the Europa League next season.

POLL:

Should we try to win the Europa League as if it were the Champions League, should we use it to breed young talent, or would you just focus on the Premier League and domestic competitions, and sack off the Europa League?


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FA Cup

The FA Cup was a bit of a non-starter really in terms of domestic cups for us this season. With the Capital One Cup, Europa League and Premier League another competition was not really going to suit us, and despite getting past Burnley after a replay – we fell to Leicester at the Lane due to a Michel Vorm mistake. Despite all of the tradition around the FA Cup and the history Tottenham as a club have with it, it wasn’t the year to go and win it – but I would like to see us go and really have a go next term, because it is a special trophy in connection with Tottenham.
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Capital One Cup

A massive positive in our season was our performance in the Capital One Cup. After beating Nottingham Forrest 3-1 at the Lane, with Ryan Mason scoring a cracking goal, with the other two coming from Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane – we booked a date with Brighton in the fourth round at home once again, and got a convincing 2-0 win thanks to goals from Erik Lamela and Harry Kane once again which sent us into the quarter finals. Here is where you start to think we could be having a date at Wembley if the draw is favourable – and it was, yet another home tie this time against a struggling Newcastle side, and we breezed past them at the Lane 4-0 thanks to goals from Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane and our semi final place was sealed, and it would be either Chelsea, Liverpool of Sheffield United in the semi final, obviously hoping for Sheffield United to be pulled out of the hat, and it was. A two legged tie with Sheffield United awaited and we could already taste Wembley. In the first leg, thanks to a penalty from Andros Townsend we won 1-0, not convincing, but hard fought and a good building block for the second leg at Bramall Lane, which turned out to be a magnificent match – Christian Eriksen with a stunning free kick goal which looked like it would be enough to secure a place at Wembley, before United youngster Che Adams suddenly struck for 1-1 and then two minutes later for 2-1 Sheffield, and we were shell shocked, and Wembley looked like it could slip away, but Harry Kane played through Christian Eriksen who finished it beautifully for 2-2 and to send us to Wembley to take on Chelsea.

The build up to Wembley was great, we felt good and confident having beaten them earlier in the season, but we knew it would be tough – the now Premier League champions wouldn’t let us just walk all over them again like we did at the Lane, and that is the way it went. Despite a decent performance, Chelsea put in a fantastic performance – both offensively and defensively. We couldn’t break them down and when they attacked they always looked threatening, in the end it was John Terry and Diego Costa scoring to inflict a 2-0 defeat at Wembley. No repeat of the 5-3, or our 2-1 win back in 2008 unfortunately, but we lost to the team that went onto be Premier League champions, with a young team. Hopefully we can learn from the experience and make sure we don’t lose our next final!
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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Harry Kane

Young player of the season – Harry Kane, again

Most improved player of the season – Shared between Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli.

Goal of the season – Erik Lamela rabona vs Asteras in the Europa League, or Harry Kane’s second goal against Chelsea in the 5-3 win.

Assist of the season – Harry Kane to Christian Eriksen vs Sheffield United, or Ryan Mason to Danny Rose vs Hull

Individual performance of the season – Harry Kane vs Chelsea

Win of the season – Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea

Signing of the season – Eric Dier
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Building for the future. That’s how we have to treat this season. All the mistakes that were made, loses we endured and annoyances that occurred will all hopefully be so that we don’t have to sustain them any further. I believe in Mauricio Pochettino, I think he has the right ideas and I hope that Daniel Levy will back him on the back of this season, for him to create a side that is competitive at the top of the Premier League. Thank you all for following and reading throughout the season, now onto pre season! Follow me for it all @AddictedToSpurs. As always, up the Spurs and COYS!!
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All 31 of Harry Kane’s Tottenham goals this season:

Hugo Lloris’ best saves from the season:

Tottenham season review in video from YidVids:

What has been your favourite moment of the 2014/15 season? Let me know in the comments!

I spoke to @TurnstyleSport about the 2014/15 Tottenham season. Read HERE
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Also, check out my full review of all our loaned out players in the 2014/15 season, HERE.
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