The jury is out on Tottenham Hotspur and the reign of Mauricio Pochettino. They face Arsenal at the Emirates with rumours that, regardless of the outcome, the Argentine will quit his post.
There have been stories of unrest and behind the scenes arguments but the timing of this report is desperately poor, with Spurs facing one of their personal highlights of the domestic season.
North London Derby tomorrow ⏳ pic.twitter.com/lemebzGcNS
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 31, 2019
Truth be told, one can understand the frustration of the current manager. Pochettino has a young, dynamic team that on their day can entertain crowds and score a bucket full of goals, but he is no closer to winning the Premier League and the team seem incapable of winning a trophy.
It’s quite likely that should he remain, Unai Emery will surpass his “achievements” in another season. Yes, while Arsenal fans have been sobbing endlessly about their team’s shortcomings, it’s time to recognise that they are only one transfer window away from being a complete side, able to push their own weight around in the Premier League.
Look around the Premier League table and excluding Manchester City and Liverpool, Arsenal are in a scrap with underachieving Spurs, transfer deprived Chelsea and misshapen Manchester United for a Champions league slot.
From where I’m standing, qualification should be reasonably easy and that’s with only three games played. Arsenal can’t perform any worse in the last quarter of the season and if they can win this contest, it will be a great platform to go on a winning run.
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Spurs and Pochettino are in a must-win situation already. The loss to Newcastle exposed all the old problems with their Jekyll and Hyde character and highlighted their inability to turn over a much weaker team.
If Arsenal were to win and win stylishly, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that Pochettino would be justified in moving on from spurs. Two loses from four games, one to their old rivals who are not even the finished article, would be a bitter pill to swallow.
It’s no exaggeration to suggest that Pochettino at Spurs has been doing a ‘Wenger’ for a few season now. Waxing lyrical about potential and youth but deep down he knows that his side are allergic to success.
Pochettino has a right-back issue ahead of the north London derby with Walker-Peters out with a hamstring injury while Juan Foyth remains unavailable for selection. Ndombele is still out as is Sessegnon and Dier faces a late fitness test. #THFC
— Vaishali Bhardwaj (@VaiBhardwaj) August 30, 2019
That’s not necessarily his fault, it’s a trait of the club that has a history of always being the bridesmaid on the big occasion, but how much longer can Pochettino put on a brave face and talk about being proud of his team’s trophyless efforts?
Yes, they played a part in the Champions League final but as understudies to the finished article of Liverpool. A team with flair, appetite and desire, one which managed to overcome mediocrity in one of the most insipid finals of all time.
Yet the tears after the match and the emotional outpouring from Pochettino did nothing to cover up the fact that they came second with another shoddy performance on the big stage.
Pochettino has been at Spurs since 2014 and to his credit, has shaped a decent side but they seem as far away as ever from winning a trophy. If Emery had managed to win the Europa League in his first season, things would have been even worse but the fact is that the Spaniard isn’t that far behind Spurs with just one season under his belt.
Imagine being given five. Emery will easily have won something in that time and not just the admiration of the fawning press, who talk about Spurs as if they were Barcelona.
Will Pochettino quit Spurs? It’s likely, unless Daniel Levy can talk him down from the rooftop. Pochettino can’t even say that he hadn’t been backed in the transfer market, something Arsene Wenger used to use as a shield for years.
Pochettino hasn't won an away game since January by the way. He's also just won 4 matches in his last 15. Everyone will be quiet though
— Juàn S. Pinto (@juanselatse) August 25, 2019
The supposed gap between the North London sides is a spurious invention of Spurs supporters and media alike. Emery is in the car behind, visible in the wing mirror and when the lights change, he could easily overtake.
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