Under normal circumstances a team finishing in the top four of the Premier League, while also managing to reach the final of the Champions League, could unequivocally be said to have had a good season.
As is so often the case with Tottenham, the truth is a little more complicated. For though Spurs once again met their objective in the Premier League and totally surpassed expectations in the Champions League, the team lost an awful lot of games along the way.
On the eve of the season opener against Aston Villa, a surprising Premier League statistic has emerged. Tottenham have lost more games in 2019 than any other current top flight side.
In total, Spurs have lost 13 games this year. With games to come against all of the top six this side of Christmas, along with a potentially difficult Champions League group, it’s not difficult to imagine that the side will add to that total, even though the squad has been strengthened considerably over the summer.
Of course, there were mitigating circumstances that saw Tottenham record such a high number of defeats. Not least, the run to the final of the Champions League, which resulted in Spurs playing more games than many of their domestic rivals.
After the last World Cup, Mauricio Pochettino started the season with a fatigued squad, to which no new players were added last summer. Unsurprisingly a large number players looked sluggish and eventually succumbed to injury. As the season drew to a conclusion, Pochettino struggled to juggle a jaded squad, as the club competed in the Premier League and in Europe.
The first defeat of 2019 was an unlucky one, as the side battered Manchester United at home, but still lost 1-0. A League Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea was followed by an understrength team being beaten by Crystal Palace, before January was out.
Tottenham were still in the title race until February, when an away loss at Burnley kicked off a massive Premier League slump. Further away defeats to Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool followed.
By the time that Spurs moved into the new stadium, they were at the quarter-final stage of the Champions League. Tottenham would lose the away leg to Manchester City and the home leg of the semi-final against Ajax, before the heartbreaking loss to Liverpool in the final. In-between, an exhausted team lost further Premier League matches to Manchester City, West Ham and Bournemouth.
The good news is that a refreshed and fitter squad, that has been bolstered by three new signings, should be able to cope better with any fixture pileup. Hopefully 2019 should prove to be a weird anomaly and the best way for the team to put this bad run behind them, would be to make a winning start against Aston Villa.