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Tottenham in 2020: Kane and Son worked miracles, can they do better in 2021?



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2019 was a rollercoaster of a year for Tottenham Hotspur. The sheer elation of reaching the Champions League final, followed by the miserable set of results which ultimately saw Mauricio Pochettino replaced with Jose Mourinho.

2020 has not been so exciting. Another trophyless year, and they currently reside in seventh place. However, the signs suggest that better days could be around the corner.

Here’s a recap of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2020.

Best Player – Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Kane has looked back to his best in 2020

It was a toss-up between the Englishman and Heung-min Son, but Harry Kane just about edges it.

Having begun the year with a long-term injury at Southampton, Kane has returned to produce some of his best stuff. He netted seven goals post-lockdown in the 2019/20 season, and continued this form with nine in his first 15 in the new campaign.

But what has really caught the eye about the striker is the development of his all-round game. He currently boasts the most assists in all of Europe’s top five leagues with ten – three clear of Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Muller, and Kingsley Coman in joint-second. He also makes it to Europe’s top 10 goalscorers list for 2020.

Best Match – Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal

Son opened the scoring with a screamer in the 13th minute

Spurs were in fine form going into the first North London Derby of the season, going unbeaten their previous nine league games.

It was a Jose Mourinho masterclass, really. Heung-min Son scored a beauty in the early stages, and Harry Kane made it 2-0 just before half time. The second half saw the Lilywhites frustrate Arsenal with a rock-solid defensive display, holding out for a clean sheet.

During this game, Kane became the North London Derby’s all-time top goalscorer with 11.

Worst Game – Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham

Roberto Firmino
Firmino’s late goal sunk Spurs

Tottenham sat at the top of the league when they travelled to Anfield to face the holders, in a game that would be a real test of their title credentials.

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring with a heavily deflected effort that looped in over Hugo Lloris. However, Heung-min Son hit back swiftly with a finish at Alisson’s near post.

It was an eventful second half at both ends. Steven Bergwijn squandered two great chances to give Spurs the lead, while Harry Kane headed over from an opportunity that you’d expect him to convert. Then, in the 90th minute, Roberto Firmino planted a header into the top corner, sparking wild celebrations from the 2000 spectators.

It was a missed opportunity for the North Londoners, who could have made a big statement with three points.

Transfer Business

Bale is yet to make an impact on his return to Spurs

It’s been an uncharacteristically hectic year of business for Tottenham Hotspur, who are usually a bit more reluctant to open their wallet.

Christian Eriksen left in January, and has since struggled to recapture his best form at Inter Milan. Steven Bergwijn was brought in as a replacement. The Dutchman has shown flashes of quality, but is yet to consistently reproduce this.

The summer transfer window was things got really busy, though. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the first through the door, arriving from Southampton for approximately £15m. The Dane has been very impressive so far, keeping a number of doubters quiet.

Sergio Reguilon is another who has impressed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, establishing himself as one of the league’s best left-backs since joining from Real Madrid.

It’s not been all good, however. Matt Doherty finds himself stuck behind Serge Aurier in the pecking order, while Gareth Bale’s fairytale return has not gone as hoped. A replacement for the long-serving Jan Vertonghen may also have been useful.

How Has the Manager Done?

Jose Mourinho
Mourinho’s appointment has divided opinion at Spurs

Hiring Jose Mourinho is a little bit like selling your soul to the devil.

Replacing the popular Mauricio Pochettino was always going to be a hard task, but in Mourinho, they brought in a man who knows how to get results.

Spurs fans knew what they were getting when the Special One arrived in North London. The football wouldn’t be pretty, but they would look more likely to finally win that elusive trophy.

And…yeah, that’s how it’s gone. While the beautiful playstyle of Pochettino is long gone, the Lilywhites are starting to challenge for honours. Mourinho has guided Tottenham to a Carabao Cup semi-final this season, while a title charge is still not out of the question.

Overall Consensus

Tottenham fans will have strongly mixed feelings about the last 12 months.

On one hand, they no longer play the pretty football that they became accustomed to under Mauricio Pochettino. On the other hand, the results are getting better, and they’re closer to winning their first piece of silverware since 2008.

Harry Kane is back to his best, and Heung-min Son is playing better than ever before. However, there is a worrying overdependence on these two for attacking output.

Nonetheless, if these two can keep playing at their current level, then something big could be on the horizon for Spurs.