Century up for Pochettino: His five most important games at Spurs

White Hart Lane 5

Mauricio Pochettino has transformed Tottenham Hotspur into title challengers in 100 games, but what are his five biggest results at White Hart Lane?

 

Last night, Mauricio Pochettino hit the 100-game milestone as boss of Tottenham Hotspur with a Europa League fixture against Borussia Dortmund, but it has taken time for the Argentine to transform the North London outfit from a side chasing fourth place to a team capable of winning the Premier League title.

 

There have been spells during his time in charge when doubts emerged over whether he was the right man for the job, and while he now looks primed for a long-term stay at White Hart Lane, that may have not been the case had certain results not gone his way.

 

Below, we take a look at five significant matches for Pochettino since he made the switch from Southampton.

 

1) West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (16/8/2014)

 

Pochettino's very first match saw him take on London rivals West Ham United. It's a contest that is best remembered for a supporter running onto the pitch to take a free kick, but it was no laughing matter for the Argentine who had seen his side reduced to 10 men during the first half.

 

However, Spurs benefited from a missed penalty from Mark Noble and the dismissal of James Collins and that allowed them to remain in the game until the closing stages, when Eric Dier ran onto a pass from Harry Kane to slot past Adrian.

 

This wasn't a contest that would make or break Pochettino's reign, but he needed to introduce himself to the fans in the best possible way, and although his players did not produce the greatest performance, it was the perfect start to life at Spurs.

 

2) Sheffield United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (28/1/2015)

 

A total of 17 points from eight Premier League fixtures meant that Pochettino wasn't in any real danger towards the end of January 2015, but after letting slip an early advantage against Leicester City in the FA Cup, eventually losing 2-1, the club needed to make the League Cup final.

 

They took a 1-0 lead to Bramall Lane for the second leg, and looked to have put the tie out of the reach of Sheffield United when moving 2-0 ahead on the night. However, two goals in three minutes from Che Adams saw the Blades get back on level terms and put Spurs in danger of an embarrassing exit.

 

However, with two minutes left, Christian Eriksen popped up with his second goal of the night to take Spurs through to the final, which represented an excellent achievement by Pochettino so early in his time at the club.

 

3) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal (7/2/2015)

 

The near miss against Sheffield United did not hinder Spurs' league form, but 10 days later, they faced what is regarded as the biggest match of the season - the North London derby at White Hart Lane.

 

The two clubs began the fixture in fifth and sixth respectively, with Arsenal holding a two-point advantage, and they looked on course to extend that when Mesut Ozil put the Gunners into an 11th-minute lead.

 

However, Kane continued his superb run of form with a second-half double, with the winning effort coming just four minutes from time. It was the perfect afternoon for Spurs, and they closed the gap to third position to just two points.

 

4) Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur (13/9/2015)

 

A 1-0 success away at Sunderland does not seem that significant on paper, but it represented a change in fortunes for Spurs after they had started the season without a win in their first four Premier League fixtures.

 

With the club now challenging Leicester City at the top of the standings, it is easy to forget that they went through August without emerging victorious on the domestic scene, and for 80 minutes at the Stadium of Light, it appeared that more points would be dropped to leave Pochettino having to answer questions about his side's performances.

 

However, a late effort from Ryan Mason ensured that Spurs got the win that they needed, and they finally had some momentum after going a month without getting maximum points on the board.

 

5) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City (26/9/2016)

 

Two weeks later, and after a second league win over Crystal Palace, Spurs welcomed Manchester City to White Hart Lane. Despite losing to West Ham United in their previous game, City were top of the table and considered favourites to win the Premier League.

 

Manuel Pellegrini's men went ahead through Kevin de Bruyne and it appeared that the North-West outfit were on their way to a sixth victory in seven outings. However, Dier equalised just before the break and Spurs took over after the restart, scoring three more times to seal an emphatic 4-1 victory.

 

Despite the season only being seven games old, this was a statement of intent from Pochettino's team. There had been fears that they would remain at their previous level - a team looking to snatch the fourth Champions League place - but this was the afternoon when they sent out a message to their rivals.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch