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Will Tottenham’s move to Wembley stall their title charge next season?

What does the future hold for Mauricio Pochettino’s rapidly-improving young team.

FOOTBALL 18/05/17 14:52
Will Tottenham’s move to Wembley stall their title charge next season?

White Hart Lane has closed its doors after 118 years as work steps up on Tottenham’s new 61,000-seater stadium.

A season at Wembley beckons, with Spurs’ new home pencilled in to open at the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

After such a strong season, does a move to the national stadium come at the worst possible time and could it stall a title charge next term?

Here, we look back at a fine home campaign, Tottenham’s time at White Hart Lane and what the future may hold for Mauricio Pochettino’s rapidly-improving young team.

Home comforts

Tottenham’s final season at White Hart Lane could not have gone much better, with Pochettino’s side unbeaten on home turf for the first time since 1964/65. Spurs secured a record-equalling 14th successive home league victory and runners-up spot in the Premier League in beating Manchester United 2-1 on Sunday – their 2,533rd and final match at the ground. League matches accounted for 1,933 of those games, of which Tottenham won 1,102, drew 462 and lost 429. Chairman Daniel Levy handed over the keys on Monday and a 12-week demolition process will begin straight away. Their record at White Hart Lane will not be swept away in the rubble but Spurs face a daunting task to set such solid foundations at their new home.

Spurs are on their way to Wembley…

Spurs have a poor record at Wembley
Spurs have a poor record at Wembley (Nick Potts/PA)

…and supporters could be forgiven if their knees have gone all trembly at the thought. Tottenham will spend 2017/18 at Wembley and have a poor record at the national stadium, compounded this season by a shocking European campaign – their first in the Champions League for five years. A 2-1 defeat to Monaco in their opener doesn’t look too bad in hindsight, given the French principality’s surge to the semi-finals, but Spurs also lost 1-0 to German side Bayer Leverkusen under the arch. They failed to qualify from the group stages and dropped into the Europa League where they fared just as badly. Two of this season’s star performers – Harry Kane and Dele Alli – endured a night to forget as the former scored an own goal and the latter saw red in a 2-2 draw with Belgian side Gent. Tottenham have now won just twice in 10 matches at Wembley since it reopened in 2007 – their latest defeat coming last month when they were beaten 4-2 by title winners Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

New is not always better

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Spurs do not have to look very far to see how tough moving to a new stadium can be. London rivals West Ham moved into the Olympic Stadium for the start of this season and it has been a forgettable campaign. The Hammers, who slumped to a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, were also thumped 4-2 by Watford, 3-0 by Southampton, 5-1 by Arsenal and 4-0 by Manchester City in front of their shell-shocked fans while the latter also claimed a 5-0 victory in the FA Cup. Ironically, West Ham’s finest hour at their new ground so far was a 1-0 win against Spurs at the start of May. There have been contrasting fortunes for top-flight clubs in their first season after changing stadiums. Arsenal lost only one home game at the Emirates while Middlesbrough finished a creditable 12th in their debut campaign at the Riverside. Manchester City, far from being the powerhouse they are now, avoided relegation with two games remaining in their first season at the Etihad while Southampton took just one point from their opening five matches at St Mary’s but recovered to finish 11th.

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