5 Tottenham Hotspur Storylines to Follow as Season’s End Nears
Tottenham Hotspur Storylines To Follow Over The Last Few Months
The 2013-14 season has been quite a tumultuous one thus far for Tottenham Hotspur as they have attempted to integrate a large number of summer signings while balancing play in the Europa League and domestic competitions. As one could imagine, things have not gone as chairman Daniel Levy planned when he shelled out over €100 million during the summer, and changes have been made with the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas and subsequent appointment of Tim Sherwood being the biggest.
With 24 out of 38 Barclays Premier League games played, Tottenham Hotspur sit sixth in the table, a distant 11 points behind archrival and league leaders Arsenal. More importantly, they are three points behind Liverpool in fourth place. Additionally, the team enters the Europa League round of 16 against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on February 20, and have been knocked out of both the FA Cup and Carling Cup, meaning they fortunately only have two competitions to fight in.
While the organization is by no means where they want to be with three months remaining in the season, the fact that the team has five wins, two draws and only one loss since Sherwood took over in mid-December is certainly encouraging. Yet, despite this great run of form over the last month and a half, Tottenham still has a number storylines for fans to follow that can dictate the outlook of the team both this season and for years to come.
With this in mind, I have formed a list of the five storylines that any fan of Tottenham Hotspur must follow over the final three months of the current season. Enjoy!
5. Will Erik Lamela Receive More Opportunities?
When Tottenham Hotspur signed Erik Lamela for a club-record transfer fee this summer, most people believed he would be an instant success on the field. Unfortunately, this hasn't occurred, as he has only started three Barclays Premier League games thus far and hasn't made an impact in a single game under either Villas-Boas or Sherwood. There is no doubting that the 21-year old winger has immense pace and talent on the ball, but if Sherwood can't get something out of him soon, the club risks having a real bust on their hands.
4. Roberto Soldado Looks to Find a Run of Form
Another major summer signing that has been poor on the field is Roberto Soldado, who has looked lifeless much of the time while leading the forward line. All in all, Soldado has five goals in the Barclays Premier League, but only one has come in open play and none have occurred in 2014. With Jermaine Defoe due to jettison off to Toronto FC at the end of February, Tottenham will need Soldado as a deputy to Emmanuel Adebayor, or they stand no chance of cracking the BPL top four.
3. Will Nabil Bentaleb Hit a Wall?
Since Sherwood became the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, he has surprisingly implemented Nabil Bentaleb in the heart of midfield in place of big-money acquisition Etienne Capoue. Bentaleb has proven to be slick on the ball, and has provided a great presence in front of the back four that belies his 19 years of age. Still, Bentaleb had never played a professional game before the current season, and one would expect he would begin to become fatigued at some point. If this does happen, Sherwood will be forced to choose between loyalty to Bentaleb and what is best for Tottenham.
2. Etienne Capoue and Tim Sherwood Will Look to Reconcile
Speaking of Etienne Capoue, the Frenchman and Tim Sherwood have not seen eye to eye since the latter took over as manager. Capoue has blasted Tottenham for playing him at center-back at times, and in fact was nearly transferred to Napoli in January. With the January transfer window now done, the two must make up as they need each other for Tottenham to make the top-four of the Barclays Premier League.
1. Balancing the Europa League With the Fight For a Top-Four BPL Finish
The main priority for Tottenham Hotspur has to be a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League, but they can't completely ignore the Europa League. Figuring out a way to navigate both successfully will determine whether Sherwood remains as manager past the current season, and whether the team will see a mass exodus this summer.