With the Premier League now halted owing to the commencement of this season’s winter World Cup, let’s look at how this first portion of the 2022/23 season unfolded for Tottenham and Antonio Conte.
Following a busy summer, expectations were high heading into this campaign, with a 4-1 win on the opening day of the Premier League at Southampton seeing Spurs rise to the challenge.
Tottenham cannot maintain early success
A hard-fought draw against Chelsea followed by creditable wins over Wolves, and Nottingham Forest saw Tottenham start the season in fine form, alongside Manchester City and Arsenal as the league’s pacesetters.
A slightly disappointing draw at West Ham prior to back-to-back wins over Fulham and Leicester – in an emphatic manner, set Spurs up nicely for what was going to be a tough North London Derby, however, Conte’s side ultimately came up short with Emerson Royal seeing red whilst we were 2-1 down.
A much-needed switch to a 3-5-2 helped seal an important win at Brighton before goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saw us claim all three points at home to Everton.
Unfortunately, consecutive losses to Manchester United and Newcastle saw us slip into the chasing pack behind Man City and Arsenal. Yet, despite trailing by two goals at Bournemouth a superb second-half turnaround saw us claim the points with a 92nd-minute winner.
Champions League crowded the schedule
Amidst a demanding league campaign, Tottenham returned to Champions League football due to last season’s successes, drawn in Group D alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting Lisbon, and Olympic Marseille.
In what turned out to be a nail-biting group going down to the wire on Matchday 6 in France, Hojbjergs last-ditch winner sealed victory for Spurs, sending Conte’s side through in top spot to set up a post-Christmas tie with AC Milan.
Spurs’ third league defeat of the season to an out-of-sorts Liverpool side dampened spirits after our Champions League triumph before a mid-week upset from Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup further piled on the pressure.
However, despite trailing on three occasions in the final Premier League game pre-Qatar to Leeds, a late brace from Rodrigo Bentancur delivered a much-needed three points for Spurs, seeing us end this portion of the season in the top four.
Injuries are a major storyline for Spurs
Injuries have certainly played a part in some of our misgivings this season. Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison’s stints on the sideline have seen Kane and a struggling Son bear a heavy attacking burden.
Yet however uninspiring our football may have been at times this season, results have generally gone Spurs’ way, and ending this first portion of the season in the top four can largely be considered a success.
Moreover, despite being overshadowed by Man City’s Erling Haaland, Kane’s 12 league goals see the Englishman return to his brilliant best, whilst Bentancur and Hojbjerg have been immense in midfield.
Granted, the season has hardly been perfect, but everything considered, remaining in the top four and topping our Champions League group has made for a generally successful campaign thus far.