Premier League 2022-23 Preview No. 18: Tottenham

Guardian writers’ predicted position 3. (NB: this is not necessarily David Hytner’s prediction, but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 4

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker) 12-1


Daniel Levy has broken the habit of a lifetime and in the process helped send optimism among the Tottenham support through the roof. The chairman usually likes to wait in the transfer window and hope for bargains, but he moved early this summer and had most of the incoming business done by mid-July. One person was particularly happy about it, and if Antonio Conte is happy, so is everyone else. The manager had wanted to hit the ground running in his first pre-season at the club, to build on the momentum generated by the rise to a Champions League finish last May, and with a number of new signings there is a feeling. of clarity and cohesion.

Last summer seems a world away. That’s when Nuno Espírito Santo was appointed manager – after a 72-day search, to an underwhelming response – and Harry Kane wanted to leave. Conte has transformed everything since taking over from Nuno last November, forcing his will on Levy and the rest of the club. Another game changer has been the £150m capital increase that Levy oversaw from majority shareholder Enic at the end of last season.

The squad has quality – led by Kane and Son Heung-min – and impressive depth. Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea manager, believes Spurs have “perhaps the strongest team they have ever built” and that he could find the club’s third place from last season under threat. What would be even better for Spurs would be to win a trophy; they have claimed just one during Levy’s 21-year tenure.


The boss

Everyone knows what Conte prizes in a team – mentality, physical strength and fitness, plus a sprinkling of talent in the final third to make the difference. After two transfer windows and 28 league games, he seems to have what he wants. Or, at least, be close to it – the Italian gives the impression that he can never be truly satisfied. It was doubtful last season whether he would make it this far, as he issued threats and got into a world-class funk, but he brought the club back into the Champions League and, at the start of pre-season, declared himself to be “totally involved in this project”. Everyone is behind him, not least the fans, and each of his players knows exactly what is required. History shows that Conte tends to leave sooner rather than later, after wearing everyone out. Before he does , he usually wins.

Antonio Conte addresses his players during a pre-season training session at the Goyang Stadium in South Korea.

Antonio Conte addresses his players during a pre-season training session at the Goyang Stadium in South Korea. Photo: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Transfer coup

Yves Bissouma may be an outlier in Conte’s best XI – a rare player who stands under six feet, even if only an inch or so, although it’s not as if he lacks the power that is a prerequisite for the manager. Bissouma, who joined for an initial £25m from Brighton, excels at winning the ball back, whether through tackles or interceptions. But what will raise the pulse of the Spurs support and give Conte a new dimension in central midfield is his ability to run with it, break the lines and create chances.

WC influence

Kane will carry England’s hopes and dreams, but overall Conte can reflect that he is not too badly affected by the mid-season tournament. Eric Dier is not expected to travel with England while Clément Lenglet faces a battle to make the France squad. Colombia’s Davinson Sánchez, Malis Bissouma and Sweden’s Dejan Kulusevski are watching from afar, while England trio Djed Spence, Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp are out of Gareth Southgate’s plans, while Lucas Moura has not featured for Brazil since 2018.


Alternative attractions during the WC

The Dare Skywalk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is exclusively for adrenaline junkies. Reach the glass walkway at the top – 46.8 meters above the track – then choose the fastest way down, a controlled drop over the edge in a harness.

Leads shirt sales

The club has a bona fide commercial phenomenon in Son, whose reach originates in his native South Korea, where 12 million of his 52 million countrymen cite Spurs as their favorite team, but it goes well beyond those borders. On a matchday in north London, the club sells up to 700 ‘Son 7’ ​​shirts and his gold duster from last season has further cemented his status. The forward has built a healthy image on hard work and incredible focus, achieving the unusual feat of winning the respect of rival fans.

Social climber

Kane has close to 13 million followers on Instagram and seems to enjoy giving people a glimpse into his life away from the pitch, not to mention the odd behind-the-scenes clip with his Spurs teammates. Since the end of last season, Kane has shared photos and footage of his appearance on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and at the Icon Series golf event in New Jersey.

If Spurs were a Netflix doctor…

It would be a sequel to the 2019-20 Amazon edition, which starred José Mourinho, who had been specially recruited for the role. Can Conte possibly rival him for simplicity on screen, especially in those player chats in the manager’s office? This version would be more gruesome, with players throwing up and/or passing out after a Gian Piero Ventrone training exercise and perhaps a bust-up involving Richarlison. Ideally with Conte.

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