On the back of a decisive 3-0 FA Cup win over Wimbledon, and with the turn of the new year, many people are weighing in about what would constitute a successful Tottenham campaign.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 8, 2018
After about a decade – or 3,607 days according to Last Won a Trophy – without a trophy, it’s high time Spurs lifted some silverware aloft.
The current options are limited, with Spurs vying for either domestic or European cup success. Or, if we’re lucky, both.
The Premier League title, thanks to Manchester City’s indomitable dominance, is all but out of the question. But a top four finish accompanied by domestic or European cup success would leave Spurs supporters giddy and elated.
Most people reckon the FA Cup is Tottenham’s best chance at glory in 2018. With Arsenal already out in the cold after losing 4-2 to Nottingham Forest, Spurs will feel confident they can lift their first FA Cup trophy since 1990-91.
However, Tottenham, drawn in the group of death, enjoyed an unbeaten start to their Champions League campaign, dismantling Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund – two of Europe’s most prestigious clubs – on their way to first place in Group H. Spurs, playing Juventus, last season’s runners up, didn’t get an iota of luck for their round of 16 draw.
While Juventus will provide another stern test, Europe’s most prestigious competition plays right into Tottenham’s strengths. More often than not, Spurs won’t boss possession, instead relying on a lethal – and lightning quick – counter to mesmerize their highly experienced opponents.
On occasion in the Premier League, Spurs struggle to find an incisive moment against inferior teams who barely get a touch. That isn’t the case when Tottenham suit up against top European sides who prefer to possess the ball.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team is fit, well drilled and ready to counter any side who thinks they can wear them down by knocking the ball around for extended periods. This Spurs side is built for executing on the break, after absorbing consistent spells of territorial pressure. To be the best you have to beat the best, and Spurs are a couple of strong performances away from putting Europe on notice.
I’d sacrifice it all for a taste of European glory
Of course a Champions League crown, a proposition many assume is out of the question, is the aspirational goal for Spurs and Pochettino. I’m a firm believer that Spurs, with a little bit of luck, can make a run at European supremacy.
But an FA Cup trophy isn’t a bad consolation prize. Spurs supporters are parched and in dire need of a taste of glory, even if it comes in the form of an FA Cup, which will just be enough to whet our bone-dry whistles.
The season, even with an FA Cup win, won’t be a complete success without securing a top-four finish.
If given the option of Spurs somehow pulling off the improbable and winning the Champions League, I’d be completely fine with the Lilywhites finishing out of the top four and losing to a lesser opponent in the next round of the FA Cup.
I’d endure that all-encompassing heartbreak just for one taste of European supremacy.
(This piece originally appeared on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)