Tottenham are astonishingly reinvigorated according to one journalist. But is that really so?



By Tony Attwood

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There is a paragraph in the Telegraph today that reads

“To the delight of the club’s supporters, the Australian has done an astonishing job reinvigorating Tottenham”

“The Australian” is undoubtedly their manager.  And I know I am getting old and my memory is fading a little, but I found that sentence a little strange, as that is not quite how I have witnessed Tottenham H of late.   Still, in old age one’s memory can play tricks, and maybe I have missed something so I went and looked.

The piece was written by Jim White, described as “an author, columnist and broadcaster on radio and television.”    My piece is written by Tony Attwood (that’s me) and I’d say, using the same language, I’m “an author, blogger and writer of advertisements.”  So similar but not quite as august. 

Writers of advertisements don’t have the cache of broadcaster, because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, broadcasters talk about themselves and each other a lot more than writers of advertisements do.  Writers of advertisements don’t boast about what they have written – at least not unless it gets an award, and mine don’t get awards.

Anyway, we both know a little bit about football, so let’s take a look at the reinvigoration of Tottenham under “the Australian”.  That is Ange Postecoglou who joined Tottenham in June 2023

Today (and that is January 2024) Tottenham’s league position is



Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 21 14 6 1 47 18 29 48
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 12 4 5 44 31 13 40


So let us have a look at this 2023 before Postecoglou joined Tottenham


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 19 16 2 1 45 16 29 50
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 11 3 7 40 31 9 36


So yes an improvement I can see that.  Tottenham are four points better off, have scored four more goals, but the defence is exactly the same.   But is that an astonishing job?

Well maybe there is more history.  Let’s see.

In 2022 after 21 games were actually in the same position as they were in 2023, on 36 points, and rather interestingly the win, draw and loss tally was the same.   But the goals were much worse, although the defence better.


P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
7 Tottenham Hotspur 21 11 3 7 28 27 1 36


The season before that, in 2021, Tottenham were even worse, down on 33 points, although the goal scorers were doing a better job and the defence were better.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
8 Tottenham Hotspur 21 9 6 6 34 22 12 33


Let’s do one more – 2020 – just to round it all off.  And here we find Tottenham sitting on 30 points.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
6 Tottenham Hotspur 21 8 6 7 36 30 6 30


So if we take these five seasons we get a points tally that rises from 30 points to 40 points.   Which is to say Tottenham are now performing at 1.90 points per game compared to 1.43 points per game.  back in 2020.

They have scored eight more goals across those 21 games than they did back in 2020, but have conceded one more.  In fact we can see that their defence is worse than it was in 2022.  And above everything they are no closer now to winning a trophy than they were then.

Now I am not trying to be churlish, but I think it is fair to say that the sentence “To the delight of the club’s supporters, the Australian has done an astonishing job reinvigorating Tottenham,” has a certain amount of cobblers in it.  Fans may be delighted.  But “reinvigoration”?

But maybe it’s not just league position, so let’s try something else.  Yellow and red cards this season


Team Yellow Red
1. Manchester City 36 2
2. Liverpool 38 4
3. Tottenham Hotspur 53 4
4. Arsenal 30 2


And let’s compare that with last season.  I don’t have the figures for this ppoint in the season but we can do a comparative for the end of last season.


Team Yellow Red
1. Manchester City 41 1
2. Liverpool 57 1
3. Tottenham Hotspur 75 3
4. Arsenal 52 0


Everyone’s cards are going up a bit but Tottenham have overstretched themselves by really streaking ahead in the yellow card stakes.   Thus there is no change it seems to one of the key factors in Tottenham’s performance despite the headline given in the media.  They achieve their “success” in part through or perhaps despite yellow cards.

The reality is all teams go up and down a bit, and Tottenham are doing better this season than last, let us not be churlish about it.  But the difference is only four points and four goals.  Yes that is better, and Arsenal are doing worse than last season.  But “reinvigorated”?  I’m not sure that’s right.

But it is what the media like to say.

7 Replies to “Tottenham are astonishingly reinvigorated according to one journalist. But is that really so?”

  1. An enjoyable skilfully woven article. I think the main point of Postecoglou is that Spurs were in some disarray after 3 managers and the impending loss of Arsenal academy starlet Harry Kane. Nearly every pundit had them plummeting to the bottom of the table, even flirting with relegation. The reinvigoration would be seen as the style of play if one were not churlish.

  2. Obviously not someone who paid much attention to what happened to Spurs under Mourinho and Conte and of course you can’t measure the emotion of the fans in numbers. But I think despair to optimism pretty much sums up the change from Conte to Postecoglou. Of course your numbers also don’t take account an injury crisis. You can compare Spurs and Newcastle in that respect and I don’t think you can argue Spurs have come through the crisis better so far. In any event the time to assess the situation is at the end of the season, how well do they do as they get their players back. The other aspect of course is the numbers you don’t look at. Spurs almost alone seem to be unaffected by FFP problems. How much that is down to conservative financial management and how much to the impact of the new stadium is the question, but no one appears to have any meaningful financial information. If you are talking about reinvigoration then healthy finances play their part.

  3. It is an interesting point Andrew indeed. The Arsenal fans I know (and obviously as an Arsenal supporter I know many more of them than I know Tottenham fans) are generally very focussed on results and league position and tend to get pretty sniffy about notions that the style of play has improved. The thought is, style is fine, but results matter. I must say I had generally taken it that other clubs’ fans felt the same, but I am starting to think that’s maybe not right.
    Thanks for that.

  4. As an Arsenal supporter and match goer for 67 years. I do value success as measured by league position and trophies won higher than style. The grinding Graham years being prime example! I have seen two lonnnnng periods of stupefying periods of neither in the 60’s and 70’’s . That’s my context , as to my point.
    Watching this current team under MA is maddening and horrid. Slow, sideways, backwards. Waste of talent frankly. What this Ozzie has done is made that lots football exciting and with that carries a hopefulness in their match goers.
    It is extremely difficult to feel that watching us. I find it easier to imagine more success under a different manager.

  5. Different sets of fans balance style and trophies differently. As a generalisation though I’d suggest a team that is winning things will be forgiven boring play where a team that isn’t won’t. If you want to look at an example of fans wanting style I’d suggest West Ham. Moyes has got them up to sixth place and actually won a trophy last year. But all the fans can do is moan about the boring football. There’s also attitude, a team that is clearly giving its all will be forgiven by the fans where a team that isn’t putting in the effort won’t.

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