Antonio Conte’s Tottenham side started the season in impressive fashion, going unbeaten in their first seven Premier League matches as well as winning their Champions League opener against Marseille, but things haven’t panned out so well in recent weeks.
The club’s limp display and defeat against arch-rivals Arsenal started a run of poor form and performances that have seen the North London outfit lose four of their last nine games, including defeats in their two most recent Premier League clashes.
Their poor recent form will certainly have impacted upon Tottenham’s standing when it comes to odds offered by football betting sites, but it would be churlish to say that Conte’s season is dead and buried.
It would be fair to say that Italian coach Conte had an outstanding first campaign in charge of the club, the former Chelsea man coming in to replace Nuno Santos after the Portuguese boss struggled to make his short tenure in charge work, and a top-four spot was secured, and Champions League football returned.
That meant that Spurs could appease Harry Kane and bring in a number of solid summer additions. While some fans have started to question if things are moving in the right direction, it is important to take stock with a certain amount of realistic expectations in mind.
Tottenham sit in third place in the Premier League and are well placed to secure passage to the last 16 of the Champions League, so all in all, there is not much to complain about.
Their recent losses to Manchester United and Newcastle United were certainly not great and will have left Conte wondering if he needs to invest in new additions in January.
Conte felt his side deserved something from their game against the Magpies, stating;
“It was a pity. I thought at least a draw was the fair result. We started well and had chances to score.”
“The Newcastle goalkeeper made some good saves, and in our best moment, they scored this strange goal. I don’t want to comment about that decision.”
“Then, a few moments later, we conceded the second goal. We lost a bit of confidence, and maybe that was the difficult point for us.”
“My players then showed great determination and commitment. I don’t have anything to complain about.”
“We have two days to recover well because, on Wednesday, we have a vital game in the Champions League and continue to have injuries. We are not a top team where you can lose important players. We are trying to build something important but to do this; we need time to improve the quality of the squad to play in two important competitions like the Premier League and Champions League.”
That apparent lack of ‘quality’ and depth is perhaps a fair point. Cristian Romero, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison are all likely to be out for their midweek clash.
His summer captures haven’t added a great deal. Richarlison has barely got a look in and is now injured, and Brighton capture Yves Bissouma is yet to impress. Ivan Perisic does a very able job when called upon, but all in all, new signings in January may well be needed to help shore things up.
With four Champions League fixtures down, Tottenham are well placed in Group D. Conte’s side sits top of the pile, but only three points separate all three teams, and that makes their upcoming home clash with Sporting Lisbon a hugely important one.
If Spurs beat their Portuguese opponents, they would be very close to securing a place in the knockout stages, especially if results elsewhere (with Marseille travelling to Eintracht Frankfurt) go their way.
Tottenham have a busy schedule; they will have played 13 games in 43 games by the time the World Cup break hones into view, and their upcoming fixtures will most definitely shape their whole season.
Sporting Lisbon sit in fourth place in the Primeira Liga and have lost their last two Champions League games, and we fancy the 9/4 price boost from BoyleSports on Tottenham to win and BTTS, which seems a plausible double to chase.
If you feel a little cagey about the game, then 7/2 from Grosvenor Sports on a draw might be the way to go, especially as a stalemate keeps both teams in with a decent shot of securing progression in the Champions League.