Tottenham 2020/21 season review and report card

Tottenham 2020/21 season review and report card

When the final whistle blew in Tottenham’s 4-2 victory over Leicester on Sunday, Spurs fans up and down the country breathed a sigh of relief.

Yes, it was an impressive victory away from home that secured seventh place and a spot in the Europa Conference League.

But more importantly, it meant their long, wearying season was finally – mercifully – over.

They’ve gone through all the emotions this season, from scoring 19 goals across four games back in October to sacking Jose Mourinho and trudging through their closing fixtures with Ryan Mason in May, and Spurs fans are now just looking forward to a rest.

But before they get one, we’re about to put them through the ringer one last time. Here is your Tottenham 2020/21 season review.

Premier League – 7th

It was a false start against Everton on opening day, but Mourinho-ball soon began to pay off for Spurs. They kicked things into overdrive with a famous 6-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and by December, they were staring in the face of a legitimate title challenge.

Mourinho was quick to play things down, however, and his claim that Tottenham were “a pony in a horse race” was soon proven right. They lost to Liverpool and Chelsea in December as their form tailed off, and by April, he was out of a job.

The temporary appointment of Ryan Mason hasn’t been the disaster many predicted, but two defeats in their last five league matches buried any residual hopes they had of making the Champions League.

Their win over Leicester on the final day was a real source of optimism – though there are some Spurs fans who would have rather finished 8th, such is the roaring excitement about their involvement in the Conference League.

FA Cup – Fifth round

It was one of the games of the season at Goodison Park back in February, but it was Spurs who came out on the losing side of a ding-dong battle with Everton in the fifth round.

Bernard’s extra-time strike sealed a 5-4 victory sent Everton into the quarter-finals at the expense of Mourinho’s FA Cup hopefuls.

That Merseyside blockbuster came off the back of comfortable wins over Marine FC and Wycombe – even if the 10-1 aggregate scoreline flatters their performances in those games.

EFL Cup – Final

It was a tour of London for Spurs as they took out Leyton Orient (via a bye), Chelsea and Brentford on their way to the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

But their decision to sack Mourinho just days ahead of the showpiece with Man City didn’t quite pay off as they fell to a highly forgettable 1-0 defeat.

Europa League – Last 16

It was all going fairly well for Spurs in the Europa League…until Dinamo Zagreb happened.

They made it through their group with minimal fuss, scoring 16 times as they won four of their six matches, and then they overran Austrian side Wolfsberger to make the quarter-finals.

It all seemed as if it was going to plan against Zagreb after the first leg as Harry Kane fired them to a routine 2-0 victory.

That second leg, though? Yeah, less said the better…

One of the few positives to come out of the Mourinho era is the noted improvement in Harry Kane‘s game, as he has doubled up as playmaker and goalscorer to single-handedly keep Spurs’ European hopes alive.

His performances have been on another level (even for him) and the numbers certainly reflect that. 33 goals and 17 assists in 49 games is pretty wild, and if he does decide to move on this summer, he will certainly have earned his transfer.

His 23 Premier League goals also earned him the Golden Boot for the third time in his career, while he also won the Playmaker award with 14 assists.

Eric Dier
Dier has badly struggled this season | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He’s a lovely guy, but it has not been a good season for Eric Dier.

Both Mourinho and Mason have been adamant about sticking by him this season and the reasons for that are anyone’s guess.

By some miracle he managed to start 19 of Spurs’ first 20 games despite nothing in any of his performances meriting his continued involvement.

He was out of the team for a spell in March but came back in for the home straight – a run of seven games in which Spurs won just three and waved goodbye to their Champions League hopes.

Jose Mourinho
That just about sums it up, yeah | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was a surprise when Mourinho was sacked in April, but not because he didn’t deserve it. The timing was just strange.

The club had been seemingly committed to keeping him on board due to his ability to win trophies, but decided to sack him just days before his first cup final at the club.

Mason has done a reasonable job of plugging the gap but he has desperately struggled to arrest the inconsistency that has cost the club this season. Six games is hardly a sample size on which to judge a manager, but his record (LWLWLW) just about tells the story of Tottenham Hotspur this season.

Well, it’s been a ride.

The season started with promise, but it has slowly but surely descended into the sort of underwhelming mediocrity that merits a place in the Europa Conference League.

Cup performances have been fine for the most part, but there has been some real spine lacking in the big games – as that second leg against Zagreb will tell you.

But hey, at least they didn’t finish behind Arsenal.

Grade: D

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