Tottenham’s Form Makes Relegation More Likely Than Title Win
Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be on thin ice after Spurs' latest result (Image © PA)
Saturday was meant to be the day Tottenham got their league season back on track against Watford, who are without a Premier League win this season.
After heavy, humiliating defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton, a home game with the league’s basement side seemed to be the perfect game for Spurs to bounce back.
But with 86 minutes on the clock, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were staring a third successive defeat in the face until Dele Alli finally provided a breakthrough to rescue a point.
It left more questions to answer and perhaps the biggest doubt surrounds the manager and how long the Argentine might be given to turn things around, with William Hill making Pochettino 2/1 favourite to be the next Premier League managerial casualty.
Tottenham’s poor form is more reminiscent of a team battling to avoid relegation rather than challenging for major honours, despite having reached last season’s Champions League final. Indeed, Ladbrokes now make Spurs more likely to go down (200/1) than win the title (250/1) in their outright Premier League betting markets.
Tottenham's Relegation Form
Saturday’s draw against the Hornets was just the 23rd point Spurs have taken in their last 21 league games which over the course of a 38-game Premier League campaign equates to a total of 41 points.
During those 21 fixtures, Spurs have been the architects of their own downfall and will feel they could be 12 points better off had they not been so poor defensively.
Winning positions at Southampton towards the end of last season and Leicester earlier this season ended in defeats which accounts for six of the 12 points lost.
Two points were dropped as they lost leads to draw 2-2 at home to Everton on the final day of last season and at the Emirates this season when they were 2-0 up in the north London derby before Arsenal rescued a point in another 2-2 draw.
Late goals towards the end of last season cost Spurs a point at Burnley, which was the catalyst for this poor run of form.
Statistics: Charlie Mullan
Next up for Spurs in the Premier League is a trip to Anfield to face leaders Liverpool, who are unbeaten in their last 26 league games, and patience for Pochettino appears to be running out.
However, not everyone is pinning the blame on the Argentine, with former Tottenham right-back Pascal Chimbonda suggesting club chairman Daniel Levy is at fault for the lack of investment in the squad.
“It’s been pretty much the same team for two years in a row, and if you want to be a big team, you have to buy players and keep your squad fresh,” he told Gambling.com.
“I don’t think they should change the manager. I think some players’ heads have gone and the manager has no alternative options, and that’s what’s causing problems in the Spurs team.
“Sometimes Pochettino only has one player available in a certain position, and that’s not necessarily his fault. Things have become stale because of the lack of options.”
Poch On Thin Ice?
Tottenham host Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday night and they’re 2/7 favourites to get their first win on the board in Group B.
Levy has history of sacking underperforming managers at this point in the season, with both Martin Jol and Juande Ramos having been shown the door on October 25 in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Former France international Chimbonda accepts that Levy has the capacity to pull the trigger, but believes the chairman can afford more patience with the manager who took Spurs to the Champions League final just five months ago.
“You never know in football,” he said. “Things can happen at any time and managers can leave in an instant, but I don’t think Daniel Levy would take that decision right now.
“Even if they get a bad result in the Champions League on Tuesday, I don’t think anything will happen, I think he’ll wait until closer to January to see if things have improved and, if not, then maybe he’ll consider his options.”
According to Paddy Power, Jose Mourinho is the 7/2 favourite to be the next manager of Tottenham, but for Chimbonda such an appointment would make little sense after five and a half years of the Pochettino project, during which time Gambling.com columnist Manish Bhasin believes the club have over-achieved.
“I don’t think Mourinho would be the best fit for Spurs because the players he’d inherit do not fit his style,” said the 40-year-old, who was a member of the France squad that reached the 2006 World Cup final.
“If anything, Spurs would be better off going for a manager with a similar style of play to Pochettino so that a new manager could come in work well with what’s already there.
“Mourinho isn’t like that, he has his own way or nothing, and it just wouldn’t work with this set of players.
“You have to remember that everything at Spurs has been worked towards for the past five or six years, and by and large it’s been really good, so to change direction completely wouldn’t make any sense.
“I don’t think it will be necessary for them to change manager though – I still think they’ll make the top four. Once the players get their minds right and get back on board with Pochettino’s tactics, I think they’ll come through this bad moment."
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