What a dramatic 24 hours at White Hart Lane! Just months on from another top 4 finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League final, where an unjust penalty killed the game as a contest and with it Tottenham’s dreams, adored manager Mauricio Pochettino has been shown the door with former Chelsea supremo Jose Mourinho the new man in at the Lane. Universally hated by Tottenham fans down the years, Mourinho arrives with critics claiming the Portuguese manager is a spent force after a difficult few years upon his return to Chelsea and his appointment at a toxic Manchester United.
Of course, Mourinho is the master of mind-games and media warfare and as a result many laughed at his claim that finishing second with Manchester United was his greatest achievement in football but examine the state of Ole’s boys at the minute and you’d find it hard to argue. Despite a dire start to this season, which ultimately cost Poch his job, many pundits feel the current Tottenham squad, despite all it’s problems, is much stronger than the hand Mourinho was dealt at Old Trafford so perhaps such a claim by two-time champions league winner isn’t that wide of the mark.
Mourinho’s arrival in North London has been far from popular with the clubs loyal followers, however despite a sensational five-seasons under Pochettino Tottenham failed to lift any silverware during his tenure. It’s now 11-years since the Lilywhites lifted their last major trophy, defeating Chelsea at Wembley in the then named Carling Cup, and with Spurs dumped out of the league cup by Colchester and struggling in the Champions League there’s a very good chance that spell will be extended to 12 years come end of this campaign.
Tottenham have often been described as everyone’s second favorite team because of the football they play and the fact they develop English talent and have also had some real overseas superstars down the years. However, I’d argue while all of that is true, Spurs are everyone’s favorite alternative to their own club because they never win anything and as Sir Alex Ferguson famously once said “It’s Tottenham lads.” Now while Pochettino did add a new layer of steel to his Spurs sides, they still came up short in the big games at Wembley and ultimately in last years once in a life time chance of lifting the European Cup.
In no way am I attempting to downplay the influence of Pochettino during his reign and what he achieved but the reason I raise these points is the question marks been brought up regarding Mourinho’s style of play and how it won’t be compatible with Spurs supporters. Even with a dreadful squad at Manchester United, Mourinho guided the Reds to the Europa League and League Cup double so why can’t Tottenham end their trophy drought if Mourinho brings his more rigid approach to the Tottenham dressing room?
And what a way for Jose to kick-start his reign as Tottenham travel to the London Stadium for a big derby game with West Ham. It’s almost impossible to know what to expect from Spurs in this game, will we see sweeping changes from the new boss? Will we see an immediate change in approach from Spurs? And what exactly is Mourinho’s remit for the remainder of the season? Will he be given time to put his own stamp on things or is dramatic improvement and a push for Europe, let it be top 4 or Europa League qualification, the target set by Daniel Levy and co?
With so many question marks over the visitors on Saturday, all we can do is examine the current form of both teams and with Manuel Pellegrini fearing the bullet himself after a loss of form of late, this looks a great opportunity for Tottenham to gain a first Premier League away win since January!
The Irons are without a win in 7 in all comps with their last win coming against none other than Manchester United at the old Olympic stadium in September. Meanwhile, Spurs had rallied slightly during the same time frame to hammer Red Star home and away in the Champions League while they also showed plenty in defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
As a result, Spurs just about arrive here as the more in-form side and with the excitement of the colorful Jose Mourinho arriving in the Tottenham dugout just in time for this game the verdict is an away win.
Tottenham to win & Kane anytime (7/5)
Correct score 0-1 (9/1)
Tottenham to win to nil (13/5)