And here we go again… It’s back. The Premier League is back. I’m back. And Tottenham Hostpur are back again for another season… After a mixed pre-season, and four new signings, it’s time to crack on for another season of highs and of course, lows too. We faced newly promoted Aston Villa, at our new stadium, with everyone raring to go, so let’s recap how it all went down.
But before we get into that, I just wanted to say a quick word about the new faces at Hotspur Way.
Jack Clarke was our first signing, a young 18 year-old, of whom we signed from Leeds United. A very long term prospect for us, with the lad looking promising here and there. I don’t know really what to think about this and whether it was worth it, but nevertheless I wish him all the success in the world for his season ahead, in which he will be playing back on loan at Leeds.
Tanguy Ndombele was next. Our new record signing and one that I reckon that most Spurs fans everywhere are excited about more than anyone. Signed from Lyon for around £63million plus add-ons, he is the box-to-box central midfielder we have been crying out for since Dembele parted ways. Played unbelievably for Lyon last season, absolutely running the midfield on numerous occasions, including in their Champions League campaign. He had a decent pre season with us, getting an assist with practically his first touch ever, and continuing this in the first game against Villa, which I will talk about soon. But for now I will say, from all that he’s shown, all he can do, and that he is only 22, this guy is something special.
Giovani Lo Celso was our penultimate signing, all the way on Deadline Day. A player that can play attacking, centrally, or to the left or right side of a diamond, the 23 year-old Argentine has it all, and showed fantastic talent last season in La Liga at Real Betis. Poch has been an admirer of this lad for some time and really wanted him over the line, and he got his man. Not featuring against Aston Villa, let’s hope we can see him in Spurs colours really soon as I think he will be a fantastic player for us.
Ryan Sessegnon was last, but certainly not least. Only 19, but already showing some massive signs of maturity and promise. Two seasons ago he was part of a play-off winning Fulham side, scoring 15 goals and being the first Championship player nominated for PFA Young Player of the Season, and also winning five awards: Championship Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season, Apprentice of the Year, and named in the Team of the Season and EFL Club Developed XI. Whilst he did not reciprocate this in the Premier League season that followed, you can’t particularly look at him here, as being part of a relegated Fulham, with several managers throughout the season has to have been tough. He looks a great addition to the squad, and I see a very bright future for Ryan.
Now, where were we, oh yes, Aston Villa at home, the first game of the season for the Tottenham boys. Our starting XI featured the diamond midfield formation, Lloris, Rose, Toby and Sanchez completed our defence, Sissoko, Ndombele and Winks along with Lamela creating the diamond in midfield, with Lucas and Kane up tops. Lo Celso did not feature just yet, with Sessegnon remaining sidelined with a hamstring injury. Eriksen amongst all his transfer speculation was on the bench, with a surprising Jan Vertonghen also not featuring, not in the squad at all actually. I hope whatever that is it gets sorted out quickly.
It was a quick start, with the lads showing loads of attacking promise and speed, only for our work to be made even harder with McGinn firing home for the away side only 9 minutes into our new season. Oh we never do it easy do we. Nevertheless, we continued to press, with Villa looking very dangerous on the break. It was not a good half all things considered, with a lot of work to do in the second to turn things around.
Continuing to be frustrated for most of the second 45, it was a change of formation come late on, with Poch electing to go back to our trusted and arguably best 4-2-3-1 formation, that was the difference maker. Eriksen came on with Winks departing, slotting straight his favoured attacking midfield role, and we instantly changed, very quickly improving. We began pressing, closing down, and looking much more likely to finally get that equaliser we’d been seeking since the 9th minute. The breakthrough came in the 73rd, with our record signing Tanguy Ndombele curling the ball in from the edge of the box, in what was a exceptional finish, and some way to announce yourself on your debut. But we weren’t stopping there. Continuing to press, the second came 10 minutes or so later, with our number 10 back at it for another season, netting his first of many I’m sure. Kane added to this with another late on, to secure the 3-1 win, and all three points in our opener.
It wasn’t easy, but the determination showed by the boys was great, and it gives me hope for a good season ahead. Ndombele had a mixed first game, but I thought he was very solid. Showing some great signs of class and getting us back into the game with a clinical finish. A good debut, and a good win for us.
It doesn’t get any harder next however, with Man City away our next game. I am not expecting to take anything from this game, as they are just a force to be reckoned with is City, any points will do if we take something. But I am excited to face such strong opponents and see how the lads do in a hard test.
One last thing is that I want to give a special mention to Christian Eriksen. In 26 minutes he completely changed the game. I really hope he does not go in these next two weeks, because I think he will be sorely missed in this Spurs side. He made the difference in this game, and I worry for the future of our creative midfield if he does depart. Lo Celso hopefully being able to step up.
But anyway, onto the next, and welcome back Premier League football. COYS.
As always thanks for reading.