Tottenham have invested heavily in their squad this summer and our very own Spurs fan Rob McCarthy predicts how the 2022/23 campaign will go for Antonio Conte’s men.
TEAMtalk writers have six different categories to dissect – including where the team will finish in the Premier League table, how the cup competitions will go and who will end the campaign as Player of the Season.
Rob has been following Tottenham for almost 40 years and has been on more rollercoaster rides than Alton Towers and Blackpool Pleasure Beach combined in that time. Now he’s just hoping for some consistency under a manager, in Antonio Conte, who is a serial winner and can end that trophy drought that goes back to the dark ages (2008 actually).
TOTTENHAM PREMIER LEAGUE FINISH
I’ve thought long and hard about this and flirted between third and fourth. However, but I genuinely believe Conte goes one better than last season and secures the former – behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The signings, and the fact they were made so early, is the deciding factor in this prediction.
In the past, Daniel Levy has seemingly loved putting the club in the spotlight by making flashy additions in the final hours, or sometimes even minutes, of transfer windows.
However, those days are now gone and it’s clear Conte briefed sporting director Fabio Paratici that the headline-grabbing stance was no longer acceptable.
Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Clement Lenglet were all on board before the club headed to South Korea on tour. Djed Spence also arrived weeks before the campaign even begins.
Making those signings so early allows Conte to bed them into his system of play. To that end, Spurs should make a fast start to the campaign.
I’ve got Tottenham just edging out Chelsea in that battle for fourth, although it will touch and go.
Again, another tricky one to predict when the Champions League group stage draw has not taken place (at the time of writing).
Tottenham are in Pot 2. Real Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, PSG, Porto and Ajax all await in Pot 1.
There are dangerous floaters in Pot 3, including the likes of Dortmund, Inter Milan and Napoli.
That being said, I see Conte’s men getting through their group. They will also win a knockout game before losing in the last eight.
DOMESTIC CUP PERFORMANCE
This is where that long trophy wait finally comes to an end, with League Cup glory on the horizon.
The squad that Conte has assembled means that even tinkering in the domestic cups means a strong Spurs XI should always be on display.
And I reckon Tottenham, who reached the semi-finals last season and the final the year before, will end that silverware wait at Wembley.
The FA Cup won’t go quite so well as Conte eventually battles selection issues with the club’s European hopes. A quarter-final exit will put an end to their hopes.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Harry Kane had to watch on as striker partner Son Heung-min scooped all the awards last season, including a joint Golden Boot. But Kane will, for once, start the season with a bang and will show no let-up as he thumps in 30-plus goals in all comps.
The England skipper has looked sharp in pre-season and does not have the same hang-ups he had last summer, when a move to Manchester City failed to materialise.
Kane looks content again and has a great working relationship with Conte. And, although he won’t want to say it publically, he’ll want to remind Son just who the top dog is.
SIGNING OF THE SEASON (at time of writing)
Among a raft of strong additions, this is an easy one for me – Yves Bissouma.
The former Brighton man was incredible in the two league games he played against Tottenham last season. Indeed, in the game in north London he completely snuffed out Kane’s threat of dropping into that No.10 role.
The Mali man has got it all. And he’s shown in his four years on the south coast just how good he is.
He is the box-to-box midfielder Conte has been crying out for. Bissouma will also be the best player to feature in Spurs’ engine room since Mousa Dembele in his pomp, once he eventually settles in.
The biggest problem for Conte will be who to pair him with to find that right balance. Judging by last season Rodrigo Bentancur has the sort of game that will compliment Bissouma. While that is tough on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, that pairing could be one of the best in the league.
I’m going to go a little rogue with this pick, as it’s a player that not all Tottenham fans admire.
Having a full pre-season with Conte will see Eric Dier take his game to new levels.
The England man excelled working under Conte as last season went on. He appeared to love being trusted as that defensive pivot with Cristian Romero and Ben Davies alongside him.
Conte will have been able to get in his ear even more over the summer. And from what I’ve seen so far, Dier looks fitter and stronger than he’s ever been before.
His performances in the first half of the season will also see him back in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans.