Star man: As endorsements from rival managers go, Antonio Conte’s recent praise for Harry Kane takes some beating.
On the pitch
“If I had to buy one striker I would go to Kane,” the Chelsea manager said. “He is a complete striker.” But the only way the Italian will be allowed near Kane is if he stumps up for Tunnel Club membership at the new White Hart Lane, and even then he’ll have his nose pressed against the glass. Tottenham need the player who won last season’s golden boot with 29 Premier League goals to front their title challenge.
Biggest summer buy: Tottenham have refused to buy into the summer madness gripping the majority of Premier League clubs, reasoning that they would rather develop their players instead of paying extortionate sums for the sake of it. However, they could do with an extra sprinkling of class for the Champions League and believe that they can coax the best out of Everton’s unsettled Ross Barkley.
Breakthrough season: Marcus Edwards’s jinking wing play has earned the 18-year-old from Camden the nickname “Mini Messi”. No pressure, then.
Bad boy: Eric Dier warned that he would be waiting for Ander Herrera after school when the Manchester United midfielder elbowed him during a friendly between England and Spain last year. Herrera only came out of hiding when Dier clarified that he was joking.
Boo boy: Harry Redknapp wouldn’t have to tell Moussa Sissoko to “just fucking run around a bit” if he was still managing Spurs. But supporters are unimpressed with the anti-Roman Pavlyuchenko. Turns out the £30m chugger was being serious when he put “blundering down blind alleys” under strengths.
Destination Russia: Érik Lamela has not played since 25 October and will miss the start of the season after hip surgery, but he could win back his place in Argentina’s squad if he resurfaces.
Glass half-full: After overtaking Arsenal, anything is possible. A first league title in 57 years. An accurate pass from Sissoko. A win at Wembley.
Glass half-empty: Even Gent got past them at Wembley, where they are yet to find a cure for Spursiness.
Off the pitch
The manager: Though he is Argentinian, Mauricio Pochettino is not exactly cut from the same cloth as Ossie Ardíles, who reckoned his attacking Famous Five would mask his team’s inability to defend. Pochettino’s manic pressing enables the right mix between defensive organisation and flair play.
The owners: While the Bahamas-residing Joe Lewis provides the dosh from his 321ft superyacht, Daniel Levy is the face of the operation. The chairman has not always been popular with White Hart Lane regulars, who reckon he should back his managers more, but they’re starting to warm to Levynomics. After all, who else could have got £50m for Kyle Walker?
Jonny Holmes’ fan’s view: This season is all about one word: Wembley. If we can get to grips with playing there, I reckon we’ll be in with a sniff. But we do need more creativity in the squad. Prediction: 2nd.
Title odds 10-1
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