Tottenham is back, and so is Antonio Conte.
From Saturday evening (game 31 of the Premier League), after beating 4-0 Aston Villa, Tottenham is again in the Champions League qualification zone. Fourth in the table, with three points clear of Arsenal.
The team’s attack has positively surprised, thanks to a fantastic performance by Son, who scored a hat-trick.
“I’m happy to have seen the right accuracy in every situation; we managed to stay very solid despite Aston Villa’s intensity”, Conte commented after Saturday night’s game.
With seven games left to play, the Spurs seem to have all the credentials to hit the Champions League goal and show that they did well to believe in the success of Antonio Conte, whose debut on the Tottenham bench had been far from brilliant.
“We are in a good moment; the hard work done in recent months has been important“, he said after the impressive 4-0 win at the Villa Park.
Last February, after losing against Burnley (for the fourth time in five games), Antonio Conte‘s venture at Tottenham seemed to be at the tail end, with Tottenham miles away from the top four teams.
But Spurs have got the following matches right, having an enviable winning streak which was hard to achieve even for the title contenders.
Conte and his troubled path leading Tottenham
Antonio Conte was hired as Tottenham manager after ten Premier League games when the team had scraped together only 15 points (5 wins, 5 losses). It was ninth in the table behind Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd, West Ham, Wolverhampton and Brighton; “I am used to having very different ambitions than only fighting for the fourth place in the League“, he sometimes said when things were not going as expected.Embed from Getty Images
But if he wants to strike up a winning cycle at Tottenham, Antonio Conte will have to settle for a slow restart of the North London club, which has earned a tremendous qualitative gap compared to Liverpool and Manchester City in the last few years.
Particularly remarkable is the work done with Kulusevski, who seems to have found the lost brilliance after a very anonymous season at Juventus, and he is now praised by the English press.
His hard work, temperamental excesses, unbridled ambition (sometimes in conflict with his own clubs), and the excellent results represent him since his debut as a manager at Bari in Italian Serie B dated 2008.
Drastically intolerant to defeat or poor performance., uncompromising when it comes to spending on the transfer market and building a team that matches his ambitions, Conte is willing to give up on the bench in order to keep faith with his principles.
In this regard, the perseverance with which he wanted to bring Bentancur and Kulusevski from Juventus to London can be considered another winning bet of his.
“He brought passion and a winning mentality that you can breathe in the field, during training and any other moment”, said Harry Kane.Embed from Getty Images
Tottenham’s calendar compared to other CL competitors.
Now not only is the comeback complete, but the chances of maintaining the fourth position are even higher than for the respective contenders, as the calendar of the Spurs is not the most insidious.
Arsenal has a still game to recover (with Chelsea) but has wasted its advantage with two consecutive defeats against Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Conte‘s team will have to deal with Liverpool away, and then they will play most of their chances on the direct clash against Arsenal, which is likely to be the clarifying match in this Champions League race.Embed from Getty Images
Gunners will visit Southampton in the next game, and then they will be awaited by two direct firefights against Manchester United and West Ham.
West Ham e Manchester United are expected from very tough games.
After an affordable domestic game (West Ham vs Burnley and Manchester United vs Norwich), both teams have a string of direct matches: Chelsea and Arsenal for West Ham, whereas the Reds have Liverpool (currently one point behind Manchester City) and Arsenal on their way.
Wolverhampton‘s chances of making an unlikely comeback are low, as they are currently eights points behind Conte, but their calendar is not so prohibitive: Burnley, Chelsea and Norwich in the next three.