From triumph to heartbreak, this season has been a rollercoaster, to say the least, for fans of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. From being top as recently as November 4, the Lilywhites now find themselves 5th on the back of three consecutive league defeats.
With a whole host of injuries, Spurs’ run-in gets about as difficult as you can expect. With six Premier League matches in 25 days, the next month could turn out to be season-defining for Ange Postecoglou’s men.
Festive Fixtures Key to Spurs Season
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City, West Ham and Newcastle in a Week
What’s worse than losing three matches in a row? Losing three matches in a row and seeing that your next game is away at Manchester City, of course! This nightmare is a reality for Ange Postecoglou and his team, who will visit the Etihad Stadium on December 3 to take on the champions. Interestingly enough, the last time Spurs lost three PL games in a row, their next game was at the Etihad to take on City and they won 3-2 in a particularly impressive game for the recently departed Harry Kane.
Postecoglou’s task is even harder, however, as he will be without four of his most popular starting eleven, including both first-choice centre backs. Pape Matar Sarr will be touch-and-go and summer signing James Maddison is also out until 2024. What’s even worse is that the recently returned Rodrigo Bentancur was injured just half an hour into his first start in over nine months. Before he was taken off, he was arguably the most impressive player for the Lilywhites, as they failed to capitalise on a promising start to the match against Aston Villa.
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After City, Spurs welcome West Ham just four days later in what is usually a tough affair for the North London team as the Irons have often been touted to be their “bogey” team. The Hammers are flying high, registering two wins from their last two PL games as they sit ninth in the table. The test posed by West Ham will be starkly different than the one posed by City, but can still be challenging as they usually play with a low block and look to hit on the counter.
Following the West Ham game, Tottenham welcome Newcastle to North London. The richest club in the world is also facing a nightmare injury crisis but has kept the points ticking over, as seen by their weekend thumping of Chelsea. The last time these two teams met, the Geordies humiliated the Spurs with a massive 6-1 drubbing in what turned out to be Hugo Lloris’ last appearance for the team.
All in all, if Postecoglou is able to get four points from this frightening week, it won’t be a horrible return.
Forest, Brighton, Everton and Bournemouth cap off 2023
The festive season gets somewhat easier after this week, but not by much. Tottenham forward Brennan Johnson returns to boyhood club Nottingham Forest after what will be a tricky game against a Trees team who are tactically flexible under Steve Cooper.
Following the trip to Forest, Spurs take on an Everton side who have been hit with a minus 10 point penalty for breach of FFP regulations. The Toffees are still taking shape under Sean Dyche this season and will no doubt have extra motivation to fight for every point available as they now find themselves in the relegation zone.
After Christmas, Postecoglou’s team welcomes Brighton and Hove Albion, the league’s attention-grabbing team, under the direction of Roberto De Zerbi. This game should be one of the games of the season, as Postecoglou and De Zerbi are both known for having a ‘gung ho’ approach to football, and it should certainly be a high-scoring affair.
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Finally, Spurs round off an incredibly eventful, if not successful, year by welcoming Bournemouth to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Cherries seem to have found their groove as of late under a new coach, Adoni Iraola and will be looking to make it two wins from two games at this stadium in 2023, after their 3-2 win in April earlier this year.
All in all, if they can gather 8 points from these matches, it won’t be the worst outcome given their current squad crisis, and it should ideally give them a good platform to finish the rest of the season strongly, with key players returning in January as well as some squad reinforcements being brought in for the winter transfer window.
Despite Three Defeats, Postecoglou Is the Right Man for the Job.
Being beaten in three straight games is never a pleasant feeling for any football club and although the mood around the club has understandably been sullied after a blistering start, there isn’t a feeling 0f doom and gloom that may have been felt under previous managers. Instead, the feeling is somewhat cautiously optimistic, where the fans mostly understand the circumstances of injury and suspension and fully trust our manager to build this squad and turn the tide of a truly tumultuous club.
The festive fixtures are undoubtedly Postecoglou’s biggest challenge of his stint thus far, but there’s no other manager that most Tottenham fans would rather have at the helm than the Aussie, mate.