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Tottenham: BTSport.com's Premier League 2019/20 season preview

After briefly threatening to challenge for the title last season, Tottenham ran out of steam and slipped to fourth. Now ahead of their first full campaign in their new stadium and with Mauricio Pochettino still at the helm, there is renewed optimism in north London.

Last season's Premier League finish: 4th (W23 D2 L13 - F67 A39 - Pts 71) 

Last season's top scorer: Harry Kane - 17 (24 in all competitions) 

To finish as the top London club*: 5/4

First five fixtures: Aston Villa (H), Manchester City (A), Newcastle (H), Arsenal (A), Crystal Palace (H)

Predicted finish (BTSport.com writers' combined prediction): 3rd

Predicted finish by The Script: 3rd

Transfers in: Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon (£55.5m), Ryan Sessegnon - Fulham (£25m), Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis (loan), Jack Clarke - Leeds (£8.5m), Kion Etete - Notts County (£200k)

Transfers out: Kieran Trippier - Atletico Madrid (£20m), Vincent Janssen - Monterrey (£6.3m), Michel Vorm, Fernando Llorente (both released), Connor Ogilvie - Gillingham (undisclosed), Tobi Oluwayemi - Celtic (undisclosed), Jack Clarke - Leeds (loan), Luke Amos - QPR (loan), Josh Onomah - Fulham (loan), Cameron Carter-Vickers - Stoke (loan)

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Arsenal | Aston Villa | Bournemouth | Brighton | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Leicester | Liverpool | Man City | Man Utd | Newcastle | Norwich | Sheff Utd | Southampton | Watford | West Ham | Wolves

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Reasons to be optimistic

Fresh from reaching the Champions League final, Tottenham are heading into the 2019/20 campaign with a new stadium and a club-record signing in midfield. There’s plenty of cause for optimism in the white corner of north London.

Tottenham have won a regular seat at Europe’s top table with a fourth straight year of Champions League football on the horizon. Last season’s run to Madrid, while it ended in disappointment, was illustrative of the progress Spurs have made since Mauricio Pochettino took over.

Daniel Levy is bidding to ensure a Champions League final is not the pinnacle of Tottenham’s achievements but rather the start of a new era of success for the Lilywhites. It’s why he’s delivered on the shopping list handed to him by Pochettino and smashed the club’s transfer record with the £55m purchase of France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

The 2018/19 season even saw Tottenham, albeit very briefly, threaten to enter the title race. Four straight victories between January and February saw Pochettino’s men five points off leaders Manchester City with a game in hand before their form tailed off.

Encouragingly, that run came during a period when Harry Kane was out through injury as Son Heung-min filled in admirably in his absence. Tottenham must demonstrate more of that strength in depth if that flirtation with top spot is to develop into a genuine  challenge this season.

The good news is that Tottenham kept hold of their best players - Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld both remaining when it looked likely they would leave this summer. Giovani Lo Celso, an initial loan signing with an option to buy, was outstanding for Real Betis last season and the Argentina international give his compatriot Pochettino another quality option in attacking midfield.

Pochettino has proven himself one of Europe’s elite coaches and he has delivered consistent Champions League qualification, all during a stretch of 517 days without the club making a new signing. Tottenham can count on Pochettino to again to make the very most of the resources at his disposal.

Spurs will benefit from his team having a settled home following the disruption of last season, where their first 14 ‘home’ games were played at Wembley.

The new £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was built with a 62,000 capacity, 2,000 more than rivals Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. After decades spent in the Gunners' shadow, Spurs are finally beginning to eclipse their neighbours up the Seven Sisters Road.

Reasons to be fearful

The signing of Ndombele from Lyon is a big step in the right direction but Tottenham’s squad remains miles behind the likes of Liverpool’s and Manchester City’s. If Spurs are to compete with last season’s top two, they’ll need to continue strengthening in the transfer market.

Moussa Sissoko was reborn last season as a central midfielder but the Frenchman’s redeployment was born out of necessity. Ndombele’s arrival has reinforced that position but Tottenham still look thin on the ground at both full-back and up front.

Their lack of depth resulted in some ugly patches of form, including a run of one point from five matches between February and March and four points from their final five matches.

In total Tottenham, who didn’t draw a match until 2 March, lost 13 league games last season. A 2-1 defeat at Burnley in February left Pochettino questioning the attitude of his players and insisting that they “don’t deserve” success. Spurs are dependent on Pochettino, a coach still yet to win a major trophy, instilling that winning mentality in the squad.

Also of cause for concern is a record that saw Spurs collect just seven points from their ten matches against the other top-six sides in 2018/19. They will surely need a better haul this time around if they are to truly carry the fight to likely title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.

Key man: Harry Kane

Son shined in Kane’s absence last season but the England captain remains Tottenham’s true talisman. The panic that ensued after Kane’s ankle injury and the subsequent ill-advised decision to rush him back for the Champions League final speaks volumes for how important he is to Spurs.

With goal totals of 21, 25, 29 and 30 between 2015 and 2018, last year’s haul of 17 Premier League strikes represents a relatively barren year for the two-time Golden Boot winner in a campaign ravaged by injury.

But when fully fit Kane remains one of the league’s deadliest strikers and his ruthlessness in front of goal will continue to win points for Tottenham in 2019/20.

An underrated passer, Kane is skilled in teeing up runners from deep after holding the ball up. So much of Tottenham’s good work originates from the 26-year-old.

A half-fit Kane was a shadow of himself in Madrid but after a summer without international football, he should be back firing on all cylinders for Tottenham’s opener against Aston Villa.

The England skipper looked back to his best in pre-season, scoring a remarkable goal from near the halfway line against Juventus in Singapore. The club will be counting on their figurehead to lead them into the new era.

The manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham fans will have breathed two big sighs of relief over the past six months – in mid-March when Zinedine Zidane confirmed his return to Real Madrid as manager and two weeks later, when Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis. It means they are holding on to Pochettino.

The coach is the club’s prized asset - more important than Kane, than Jan Vertonghen, than Dele Alli. Pochettino has lifted Spurs above Arsenal, into the top four on a regular basis and altered the standing of the club in Europe.

With victory over Burnley in December, Pochettino won his 100th Premier League game as Tottenham boss in his 169th game in charge – ten games fewer than it took Arsene Wenger to reach 100 league wins with Arsenal.

Last season’s run to the Champions League final was a culmination of the remarkable progress Tottenham have made since Pochettino’s arrival in north London five years ago.

Tottenham’s defeat of an exceptional Manchester City side and his outwitting of Pep Guardiola over two enthralling quarter-final legs was the masterpiece of Pochettino’s managerial career. And the 47-year-old managed it all without making a single signing in the last three transfer windows.

Now as he prepares to lead Tottenham into their first full season at their new home, the Argentine has spoken of his desire to stay and “build something special” at the club. Tottenham are finally providing the tools he needs to do just that. The next step must be a first career trophy.

Fans' view - Chris Miller - The Extra Inch

"It was a strange season in many ways. If you flipped the results of our league season then you’d be happy but we fell away totally towards the end of the campaign. We suffered from bad luck with Kane’s injury and Son going away with South Korea at crucial times.

"Given that we signed no one for two windows I think our expectations were fourth or fifth. We were expecting Sissoko to be the Sissoko of the season before and we didn’t count on Mousa Dembele being as broken as he was.

"But the Champions League campaign made up for the disappointment of the league. Everyone was watching our team and it’s just totally surreal. We should be happy with that season.

"Pochettino is a magician. He was ten-out-of-ten last season and he made it all come together. If we were managed by someone else we’d have finished as low as seventh.

"He’s so good and him staying is all-important. But he’s not a miracle worker and there’s only so much he can do. For the first time in a while over half the squad will be 28 or over - we aren’t the young team people think we are anymore.

"There’s a handful of Spurs fans who moan about Pochettino not being backed but they are outliers. What Levy has done with Spurs is remarkable. It’s beyond anything you can imagine. It’s harsh to criticise him.

"A whole season in the new stadium will galvanise the squad. It’s just about having the stability now and trying to turn it into a fortress. We actually had a good record at Wembley but it obviously wasn’t the same. The atmosphere is back in the new ground."

*All odds correct with bet365 at time of writing

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