Tottenham Hotspur Stutter Yet Again In A Topsy Turvy Season Marked By Both Exceptional Brilliance and Unexpected Slip-Ups
Jose Mourinho was appointed as the manager of Tottenham Hotspur after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino as the Lilywhites focused on grinding out positive results in all competitions midway through the 2019-20 season.
The Portuguese’s arrival in North London marked a renaissance for Harry Kane and company, but it was a short-lived one.
The former Chelsea manager was sacked in the latter half of the 2020-21 season as Spurs could only finish seventh in the Premier League, and reportedly their talisman forward Harry Kane also wants out after finishing the season trophyless yet again despite an unbelievable performance from the English captain on the pitch for Spurs.
Spurs started the season in underwhelming fashion – falling to defeat at home to Everton in the opening game of the Premier League courtesy of an early second-half goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Carlo Ancelotti got one over his predecessor at Real Madrid in the process.
After the opening day defeat, Spurs went on an 11-match unbeaten run in the English top-flight that culminated with defeat at Anfield on 16th December 2020.
For four weeks during this run, they were top of the Premier League table as Son Heung-min and Harry Kane terrorised defences all across England and were nearly unplayable on the pitch.
But as always, their season was marked by inconsistency as they were unable to capitalise on the advantageous position they were in with respect to the Premier League, finishing seventh eventually.
They were ousted out of every cup competition they took part in, including a League Cup final defeat to Manchester City at the Wembley Stadium in late April in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking a few days earlier.
Premier League – Seventh place
FA Cup – Eliminated in fifth round
League Cup – Runners-up
Europa League – Eliminated in the Round of 16
BEST MOMENT OF THE SEASON
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 – 0 MANCHESTER CITY (PREMIER LEAGUE, MATCH DAY 9, 21-11-2020)
This victory marked the zenith of Tottenham Hotspur’s season. The Lilywhites came into this match on a three match winning streak in which the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale had shone for the North London side.
They started this match in breathtaking fashion – with South Korean forward Son Heung-min getting on the scoresheet within the first 300 seconds of the match.
And Mourinho’s side went from strength to strength as they doubled their advantage five minutes after the hour mark as Lo Celso scored Spurs’ second to stamp their authority in the entire match.
After this match, they climbed atop the Premier League table for the first time in the season and things were looking optimistic for Harry Kane and company at last on the domestic front.
Honourable mentions: Manchester United 1 – 6 Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Arsenal
WORST MOMENT OF THE SEASON
DINAMO ZAGREB 3 – 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (AGG. SCORE – ZAGREB 3 – 2 SPURS) (EUROPA LEAGUE R-16 2ND LEG, 18-03-2021)
This was undeniably the worst moment of the season for the Lilywhites during the entire 2020-21 campaign. Coming into this match, Tottenham were leading by two goals from the first leg in London where Harry Kane had excelled for Jose Mourinho’s side.
It was smooth sailing for Spurs during the first half – the score in the Croatian capital remained 0-0 as both sets of players headed into the players’ tunnel at halftime.
But a resilient and determined Dinamo Zagreb side forced extra time after Mislav Orsic scored twice in the final half an hour of the match – the equaliser coming seven minutes from the end of regulation time.
And extra time exposed Spurs’ defensive deficiencies as Orsic completed his hat-trick in the 106th minute to send Harry Kane and company back to London without a quarter-final ticket in hand.
(dis)Honourable mentions – Manchester City 1 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur (League Cup final), Brighton and Hove Albion 1 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League Match Day 21)
THE SEASON MVP
Tottenham’s most valuable player this past season was undoubtedly English forward Harry Kane. The 27-year old was one among only a handful of players who performed brilliantly irrespective of the club’s disappointing results on the pitch.
He was the Premier League’s top scorer as well as top assist provider during the 2020-21 season – becoming only the third player to do so in the history of the Premier League.
He scored at least once in every competition that Spurs played in during the 2020-21 season – scoring an incredible 23 goals in the Premier League along with delivering 14 assists ahead of Manchester City’s charismatic midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (who could only manage 12 assists).
Delighted to win these awards! Not possible without the team and staff throughout the season. 💙 pic.twitter.com/12kfT4LOfL
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 23, 2021
But as the season approached its business end, Kane was apparently disillusioned by the chasm between his own performances and the results that Spurs were grinding out – and he seemingly looks on his way out of North London this summer.
Manchester City is a possible destination for the former Norwich City player with the 27-year old praising Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne in a recent interview.
Honourable mentions – Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale
The 25-year old was out of favour at the beginning of the season with Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho and was relegated to appearances in only the Europa League for Spurs.
He scored 3 goals and delivered 2 assists in the Europa League, appearing a total of 8 times. But in the rest of the competitions, he was unable to manage even a single goal for the North London club.
— Dele (@dele_official) May 23, 2021
He only delivered 1 assist in the Premier League across 15 appearances for the Lilywhites as the 25-year old endured his worst season to date in his professional football career.
He didn’t start a match for Spurs in the Premier League until 4th March 2021, when Tottenham visited Craven Cottage to play Fulham – who themselves were relegated from the English top-flight after conceding the third highest number of goals in the Premier League.
(dis)Honourable mention – Lucas Moura
Thus, this season started on a disappointing note for Spurs as they fell to defeat at home on the very first matchday of the Premier League.
Their best form came in late November as they climbed atop the Premier League after winning their match with Manchester City at home, but everything was downhill for them ever since.
Mourinho was sacked and replaced by former Tottenham player Ryan Mason who also became the youngest manager in Premier League history when he took over from the former Real Madrid manager.
And despite otherworldly performances from both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (they forged the best partnership in Premier League history this past season), the Lilywhites finished yet another season without a trophy to give an account for themselves.