PL x Poch

PL x Poch. He won’t go. Will he?

Mauricio Pochettino has undoubtedly performed a minor miracle in recent seasons, cementing Tottenham Hotspur’s place in the top four of the Premier League.

For four seasons running now, Spurs have finished in the Champions League places. Even finishing runners-up in the 16/17 Premier League season.

So what is it that has led to their downturn in fortunes this season?

Following last seasons emphatic Champions League run that saw Poch’s men lose in the final to domestic rivals Liverpool, Spurs have failed to make hay whilst the sun shines and sit in seventh in the league this season.

Not only that, but the North London side was knocked out of the League Cup this week in a defeat to League Two side Colchester United. 

A defeat that has ignited debate amongst Spurs and football fans alike. Should Poch remain in charge?

In answer to the first question, what has led to Spurs downturn in fortunes, I would suggest it’s a lack of confidence and a lack of unity amongst the squad.

Last season, was by no stretch of the imagination, a mentally and physically draining one for Spurs. They reached the final of the Champions League (beating Ajax in the semi-final having looked set to be knocked out by the Dutch champions.) 

Within the 58 games that they played last season, Tottenham featured in the League Cup until defeat in the semi-final to London rivals Chelsea whilst fighting on the F.A. Cup for just two rounds until their defeat against Crystal Palace.

Not only did Pochettino lead his side in 58 games last season but the whole new stadium saga continued to roll, as stories from behind the scenes began to leak into the national press. It couldn’t have been easy to concentrate on your job 100% with stories about your club on the back page of every paper across the country every other day.

The cherry on top of the cake for Spurs is the transfer speculation that followed them around this summer. More specifically the speculation around one of their star players, Denmark international Christian Eriksen.

Yep, the playmaker was often said to be joining former Tottenham star Gareth Bale at the Bernabeu, but nothing ever came of it.

It makes absolute sense that Eriksen’s head was turned by the prospect of moving to Spain, where he could win more trophies and all in a much warmer climate than the unpredictable UK.

So Eriksen being less than concentrated on Spurs and their fight to establish dominance in the league, a stadium move that was unpredicatble and a taxing season last season will all be playing apart in the current demise of Tottenham but that brings me onto the next question; is Pochettino the right man to take this side to the next level?

There is little doubt in anyone who knows anything about football, how much quality Poch possesses as a manager.

The Argentine has provided Spurs fans with some truly memorable moments but last seasons Champions League run has to top it.

It was a less than ideal start when Tottenham travelled to Milan and lost before falling to defeat at home to Barcleona, but from there they kicked on.

Four more group games came and Spurs took every one in their stride. Two wins and two draws saw them qualify for the last 16. A 4-0 aggregate win over German outfit Borussia Dortmund gave Manchester City a crack at showing Poch up. But…

VAR played it’s part in the two legged affair that would end 4-4, with Spurs going through to the semi-finals thanks to the (ridiculous) away goal rule.

Ajax were drawn away at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium where they would run out 1-0 winners, but as Spurs travelled to the Netherlands it was all to play for and boy did it give us some viewing.

In arguably one of the games of the season, Spurs came out on top but not after a rollercoaster of emotions. At half time the score was Ajax 2-0 Spurs (3-0 on aggregate) but the second half is what really shone the light on how good of a manager Mauricio Pochettino is.

A second half hat trick from Lucas Moura saw them qualify on the away goal rule AGAIN. But it was a truly spirited, together and passionate performance from the players in the Spurs shirts.

It showed they weren’t just playing for themselves, or the shirt or even the fans. But they were playing for their manager and that is the biggest compliment players can give to a manager and the scenes after the game truly showed that as Poch was in tears and I’m sure the celebrations went deep into the night.

For me, it’s not a case of is Poch the man to take Spurs forward. It’s are Spurs the side to take Poch forward. He is undoubtedly one of the best managers in the world at this moment in time, to take Spurs where he did having not made any signings for two windows was a miracle and he’s got a young team playing some really brave football.

Listen, he won’t be there forever of course he won’t. But Tottenham fans I urge you to have patience and remember the grass isn’t always greener, make the most of Poch whilst you can before he’s poached by one of the worlds biggest sides be it Barca, Real or United.

United&Spurs x UCL

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United travel to Paris after they lost 0-2 to the French champions at Old Trafford three weeks ago.

It’s a mountain which even the club renowned for it’s comebacks won’t be expected to climb. United have 10 first team squad members missing with enigmatic Frenchman Paul Pogba, who was sent off in the loss in the first leg of the last 16 tie, among them.

Goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe were enough to stun United, who themselves expected to beat the Parisians due the absence of Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier and Adrien Rabiot, but the impressive defence and silky attackers did the job for the French champions.

United have been doing superbly under Solskjaer, no one can deny that and impressive wins against Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea prove that the man known for United’s most famous comeback in the Champions League final of 1999 is no stranger to a big win and could possibly pull off the unlikely in Paris. But it will take a lot of effort from his very thin squad.

Dawson Football predicts: PSG 2-1 Manchester United.

Borussia Dortmund however have an even bigger mountain to climb, with Spurs leading the German side by three goals with no reply after an impressive display at Wembley.

A flurry of second half goals from Tottenham stunned BVB, and Spurs with their desire to win and hunger to get further in this competition out-played a Dortmund side that lack the attacking prowess to expose the back line of the English team.

Borussia’s star man Marco Reus is back on a more positive note for BVB, but the Bundesliga leaders did lose away to Augsburg on Saturday, and will need to improve massively in just a few days if they are to overturn a three goal deficit in the space of 90 minutes at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night.

Dawson Football predicts: Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur.