My Premier League previews continue with Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham now the team in focus. After finally breaching the top four last season Spurs will be looking to retain their place.
Champions League football will be coming to White Hart Lane this season and Redknapp has chosen to not ring the changes and buy players but instead to keep his squad. Sandro Raniere is the only acquisition, although Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Young and Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi are being linked with the club. Brazilian Sandro is a defensive midfielder who is well known for his ball retention and quality of passing. Tottenham could find their squad stretched this season with the extra games thanks to the Champions League but they have, pretty much, got two quality players in each position. Spurs have managed to retain all their players after last season’s success; stability has finally arrived at Tottenham after the debacles that were endured under the reigns of Juande Ramos and Jacques Santini.
Redknapp has assembled a good defensive line since he was appointed manager in 2008. Ledley King and Michael Dawson have both returned from an unsuccessful England World Cup campaign in South Africa and could form a partnership this season if King can sort out the injury that has ruined the career of such a talented player. Another injury-prone English star, Jonathan Woodgate, could be on his way out of the club as the new Premier League ruling of a 25-man squad means that Redknapp needs to cut down the sixe of his side. The fact that the former Leeds defender is injured means that he could be shown the door if there is no other option. Sebastian Bassong and Younes Kaboul can also play at centre-back, while, on the right and left respectively, Spurs have the solid Vedran Corluka and the now-Premier League-experienced and attacking force that is Gareth Bale. This season is a big one for the Welshman; last season Bale played 34 times for Spurs and will be looking to improve on that this season. Tottenham ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes seems to have settled into the English game after some comical moments at the start of his Tottenham career; Spurs are going to be tough to beat this season.
The midfield of Tottenham is also extremely strong with Tom Huddlestone the player that pulls all the strings. His calmness on the pitch, quality on the ball and shooting force makes him of big importance to Tottenham. Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios and Jamie O’Hara can all play in the middle and link the attack and defence, while the speed of Aaron Lennon and the quality of crossing of David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar give Spurs more width. Luka Modric is another key player for Spurs. The Croatian star plays in the attacking midfield role and not only scores goals but provides them also. His creativity and excellence on the ball will help Spurs to unlock defences next season.
One to watch in the Spurs side next season is Danny Rose. With so many quality midfield players in the Tottenham squad the former Leeds youngster could find it difficult to break into the first team. The twenty–year-old, though, has a bright future ahead of him. After making his debut for the club last season Rose scored a thunderous volley from 30 yards. Rose definitely has the talent to succeed in the top flight.
Tottenham also look strong up front with England goal scorer Jermain Defoe looking forward to another season at White Hart Lane. The former Portsmouth midfielder scored 24 in 43 games last season and will be looking to improve on that this season. Robbie Keane has returned from his “dream” move to Celtic. The striker went on loan to the Scottish giants last season and scored 16 goals in 19 games. Keane, though, will be looking to prove his worth in the top flight English football once again. Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch give Tottenham another option up front, with Crouch’s sublime height and ability to bring other players into the game, and Pavlyuchenko’s goal scoring expertise. The Tottenham squad looks solid in every position; their only weakness could be the tiredness that will come with more games. It will be very interesting to see how Tottenham get on in their first game of the season (Manchester City at home) as the game pitches two sides that are aiming for a top-four finish. One side has spent £100 million-plus, while the other has remained quite conservative in their spending.
Where will they finish?: 4th
Official top four finish odds: 11/4 (Bet365)
Star man: Gareth Bale
One to watch: Danny Rose
Main weakness: Squad could be stretched with Champions League providing extra matches to their season