Tottenham Hotspur's 2018 Review: A solid year for Spurs but the wait for silverware goes on
Spurs celebrate. (Photo: Getty Images/Chris Brunskill)

Tottenham Hotspur's 2018 Review: A solid year for Spurs but the wait for silverware goes on

Another year of positives for Spurs but ultimately nothing tangible to show for it and the wait for their new stadium goes on. 

broganclasper
Brogan Clasper

2018 has proven a year of both ups and downs for Tottenham Hotspur. New records and 'curses' smashed but still, Mauricio Pochettino and his men await that well overdue silverware. 

The Lilywhites achieved their third successive Champions League qualification in which they finished second in dramatic style to clinch qualification to the round-of-16 which will take place in February 2019.

A fairly routine year by the expectations which now surround a revitalised Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino which was ended on a dampener after a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the last game of the year.

2018 results

Over the course of 2018, Spurs have lost just seven of their 38 Premier League games played the majority of them coming in the first half of the 2018/19 season. 

Despite this, Spurs sit in third place at the end of 2018 with their best ever points total at this stage in any Premier League campaign. 

The end of the 2017/18 season saw Spurs finish in third, which was a lot higher than many had predicted considering the Lilywhites were playing a full season away from their north London home. 

Spurs enjoyed some memorable league victories in the second half of the 2017/18 season. The most noteworthy of them all was the 3-1 away win to Chelsea - smashing their 28-year winless record at Stamford Bridge

Meanwhile, in the Champions League Spurs enjoyed a night to remember in Turin after coming from two goals down to snatch a draw against Juventus

However, on the flip side Spurs suffered yet another FA Cup semi-final defeat this time to Manchester United in a 2-1 loss at Wembley Stadium. It seems the final hurdle for Pochettino's side and they continue to fall at it. 

Since the start of the 2018/19 season, the Lilywhites have remained fairly consistent in the league, winning 15 and losing five. Defeats coming against their top six rivals alongside Wolves and Watford.

However, Spurs also enjoyed a thrilling 3-1 home victory against local rivals Chelsea in November on a night where Heung-min Son shone. The victory was quickly a thing of the past as in their next fixture Spurs suffered a 4-2 loss in the north London derby. 

Consistency in the league has been a contrast to their Champions League form in which the Londoners scraped through Group B. Points were lost late on against Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven away from home but a stunning 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp secured Spurs a place in the last 16. 

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Best player

There is only one man who can take the prize for 2018 Player of the Year and that is, of course, Harry Kane. 

The 25-year-old has scored a total of 36 goals in all competitions this calendar year for Spurs with 25 of them coming in the Premier League. It is not the number of goals which surprises us anymore with Harry Kane but the manner of the goals.

Big goals in big games such as the two against PSV at Wembley in the Champions League, two late goals kept Tottenham's Champions League dream alive after having gone one goal down early on. 

He may not have clinched his third successive Premier League Golden Boot at the end of the 2017/18 season but he has enjoyed a successful year having helped Spurs overachieve considering their limited funds. 

Players such as Dele Alli and Heung-min Son come close after some superb performances from the pair which both came against Chelsea. In addition, Jan Vertonghen deserves a lot of recognition the Belgian held together the Tottenham defence whilst Toby Alderweireld sat out through injury.

However, Kane embodies everything Tottenham stands for, he would be irreplaceable should Spurs ever lose him. He has a desire which is unrivalled by anyone on the pitch which allows Spurs to secure consecutive top-four finishes despite not spending a penny in the 2018 summer transfer window. 

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Most improved player

After joining in the summer of 2016 from Newcastle United for a transfer fee of around £30M Moussa Sissoko has failed to impress. 

However, towards the back end of 2018, the Frenchman has seemed to salvage his Spurs career becoming one of the most important players in Mauricio Pochettino's squad.

From zero to hero, the 29-year-old is finally looking like the £30M player Daniel Levy believed he bought in 2016. The Frenchman has struggled on the whole throughout his time at Spurs. He has never really been able to nail down a role in the squad and looked technically inept when given game time. 

Until now, in the absence of Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama Tottenham's midfield has been stretched but one consistent feature in Pochettino's starting XI has been Sissoko. By no means has this been throughout the course of the year as we have only seen this change over the past couple of months.

Yet, the sheer contrast in the player Sissoko appears to now be is incredible. Confident and powerful on the ball he has shown his ability to drive through teams but at the same time, he has shown a cool head at the other end when Spurs have been under the cosh.

Promising signs for Spurs fans towards the end of the year despite their squad being depleted through injuries. 

Best result

Without a show of a doubt, the highlight of Tottenham's year was their 3-1thumping over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Easter Sunday - a measure of just how far Spurs have come under the guidance of Pochettino. 

Spurs went into the game with a 28-year winless record at the Bridge, a victory for the Lilywhites would boost their chances of a top-four finish as it was Chelsea who were hot on their tail. 

It was the home side who took the lead through an Alvaro Morata header in the 30th minute and it appeared to be yet another defeat at the Bridge on the cards for Spurs.

However, a leveller just before half-time from Christian Eriksen gave Pochettino's men a glimmer of hope going into the second 45. 

Two delightful goals from Dele Alli in the second half saw the away end erupt with relief. Dele has proven to be a big game player for Spurs adding yet another brace against Chelsea to his record.

There were a number of games up for selection such as the home win against Arsenal in the 2017/18 season and the 3-1 home win against Chelsea this season. But the sheer emotion which was connected to the victory at the Bridge and the manner in which Spurs took home the points warrants the title of 'best result'. 

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Worst result

The worst result for Spurs over the course of 2018 would have to be the Champions League round-of-16 defeat in the second-leg to Juventus. 

After pulling off a sensational comeback in Turin from two goals behind, Spurs completely threw away their spot in the quarter-finals. Obviously, it was no simple task to beat the European giants that are Juventus in the Champions League.

However, Spurs set about the Bianconeri in the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky not find themselves two or three goals to the good. Heung-min Son eventually found the breakthrough as Spurs took a deserved one-goal lead into the break.

As the second half ticked away, Spurs remained to look comfortable, yet, a three-minute spell proved to cost the Lilywhites their place in the Champions League. Gonzalo Higuain continued to haunt Spurs as he levelled the proceedings on the night being kept quiet for the opening 60 minutes. 

Spurs still held the advantage as they had secured two away goals in Turin. But minutes later Paulo Dybala raced clear of the Spurs defence to bear down on Hugo Lloris in between the sticks. The Argentine forward kept his calm and lifted the ball over the Frenchman to give Juve the lead.

From then on, it was advantage to the Italians and as the clock ticked down the Lilywhites were finding it difficult to find the leveller but in the last kickings of the game Harry Kane rose highest in the box to see his header beat Gianluigi Buffon before hitting the post and rolling along the line before being cleared. 

Spurs were dumped out the competition.

Again, much like the 'best result', there are a few contenders for Spurs' 'worst result'. Defeat against West Brom who were all but relegated in the backend of the 2017/18 season. In addition, the 4-2 defeat away to Arsenal at the beginning of December was a tough one to take for the Spurs faithful after a second-half capitulation. 

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What to expect in 2019?

Well, as it has been for a few years now a trophy.

Spurs remain in all competitions, they face Tranmere Rovers in their first appearance in the 2018/19 FA Cup and then Chelsea in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup

Borussia Dortmund await in the final 16 of the Champions League for Spurs, a team in which they beat twice in 2017. So Spurs stills have a fairly high chance of lifting a trophy but this is the same narrative in which we have been reading from for years.

The January transfer window is now just hours away as I am writing this and Spurs could really do with a cash injection from the higher powers of the Club. Injuries have crippled the squad and it is only halfway through the season so a signing or two could prove vital for Spurs to push on in the new year.

However, this is Tottenham Hotspur and the chances of new players coming in during the January window are slim and as we saw in the game against Wolves on December 29 Pochettino's men are beginning to tire. 

It is not all doom and gloom though, the new stadium is expected to be ready in the early months of the year and that is bound to give both the fans and the team a boost to see them through the remainder of the season. 

2019 is a year which could make Tottenham Hotspur, however, it is also a year which could prove frustrating for many should they fail to lift any silverware. 

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