This has been quite possibly the strangest Tottenham Hotspur season in recent memory. While many people might have guessed that Spurs would be competing for top four this season, I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted the number of weird twists of fate and adversarial incidents that have plagued Tottenham over the last few months.
Imagine having this conversation with yourself: The You from February 13, 2019 has hopped in a time machine to tell August 2018 You about how Tottenham’s season is going. This is how I imagine that conversation might go.
August You: Tell me EVERYTHING about Tottenham’s season! It’s gonna be great!
February You: Well, Dele Alli has been out for most of the year and has only played 51% of the team’s total minutes in the Premier League.
FY: Harry Kane had another ankle injury.
AY: Shit SHIT.
FY: Jan Vertonghen has missed almost as much time as Dele. Juan Foyth has started six games in the league.
AY: Wait, isn’t he 19 and completely untested as a professional footballer?
AY: This sounds terrible.
FY: Actually, now that I’m looking at the numbers... Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are the only key attacking players for Spurs that have played more than 2⁄3 of the team’s total minutes in the Premier League. Son and Dele have both played less than 60% of the team’s total minutes. Oh, and we’re still playing at Wembley. Man U fired Mourinho and has been linked with Poche. Oh, and Hugo got a DUI.
AY: (pours a drink) Anything else you want me to know?
FY: Yep! There sure is: Wanyama is still dead. Lamela is only marginally less dead. Dembele played 500 minutes in the league before we sold him to China and Dier has missed half the year. Our most regular midfield pairing is Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko and Oliver Skipp has started two league games. And Christian Eriksen hasn’t extended his deal, which means he and Toby are possibly both leaving this summer.
AY: Is that it?
FY: We also lost to Chelsea in the League Cup semifinals despite scoring an away goal in the second leg because they changed the rules this season.
AY: (pours another drink) The new stadium’s awesome though, right? How’d that turn out?
FY: It’s delayed! It might not open until April, and possibly not then!
FY: They even nixed the cheese room!
AY: Kill me now. Where are we in the table, tenth?
FY: Well, about that...
AY: ...There’s more?
FY: We have 60 points through 26 games with a goal differential of +29.
FY: We’re third in the table, two points behind Manchester City and five behind Liverpool with a puncher’s chance at the title.
AY: (drops tumbler of bourbon, which shatters) ...HOW?
FY: We just won the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 3-0 at home over Dortmund and Spurs Twitter is seriously discussing the possibility of rotating the squad in the second leg.
AY: This makes no sense.
AY: How is it happening?
FY: Son Heung-Min is magic and has scored 11 goals in 12 matches. Dele has been amazing when he’s played. We’ve football’d a few teams. Fernando Llorente came in and got 6 goals and 3 assists in around 500 minutes across all competitions after Harry went down.
AY: OK. I can see all that. Well, the Llorente thing is weird, but whatever.
FY: Oh. Moussa Sissoko is good now.
AY: He can play a pass?
FY: Well, not really.
AY: He makes better decisions?
FY: Ummm... (makes vague motions with hands)
AY: But he’s good now.
FY: Emphatically so! Harry Winks does enough defensively and passes the ball. Sissoko is a fast try-hard who kicks people, covers for Kieran Trippier on defense, and makes comically amazing runs on the ball at random moments. He’s been one of Spurs’ better central midfielders and is a first choice player for Poch.
AY: Am I in the Upside Down?
FY: I know, right? But we love Sissoko now.
AY: So things are... good?
FY: They are.
AY: And they might get better?
FY: Quite possibly!
AY: This is... not what I expected. But it sounds fun!
(Skipjack bursts into the room): Until Pochettino goes to Manchester this summer!