Having come close to the Premier League title in the last few seasons, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is looking to make that final step towards silverware.
The Argentine leads his team into a state of the art new stadium this summer, but that’s outweighed by two sizeable concerns which explain why Spurs are chunky 16/1 shots to win the league this term.
Firstly, Spurs have been quiet in the transfer market this summer. Secondly, the core of Pochettino’s current squad had a busy time at the World Cup in Russia – including star man Harry Kane.
King Kane’s late return
Kane was England’s talisman as the Three Lions reached the World Cup in Russia.
He played every minute of England’s matches from the second round onwards. That included two stints of extra-time against Colombia and Croatia.
Kane was the only player to do so as he successfully won the World Cup Golden Boot, but it means the Tottenham number nine is a late returnee to the club fold.
He isn’t scheduled to retain to training until Monday – just five days before Spurs’ opening game against Newcastle United.
Whichever way you look at it, it is far from ideal. It puts Kane and Spurs on the back foot.
Kane’s August oddities
And then there’s the unusual pattern of Kane’s goalscoring problems in the opening month of the season.
He’s scored 108 Premier League goals in just four seasons, but not one of them has come in August.
It’s an as-yet unexplained trend, but it’s one which surely won’t be helped by such a busy summer and late start to pre-season.
Is it a Pochettino problem?
Kane’s slow starts are mirrored by his clubs’ results. Spurs average only 17.75 points from the opening 30 on the table under Pochettino.
It’s a trend they may well repeat this season. Spurs had nine players in the Belgium, France and England squads which played the full seven matches at the World Cup.
The evidence suggests Spurs and Kane are set for another slow start, but they could be saved by the fixture list.
Spurs will open with an away trip to a Newcastle United side plagued again by political turmoil, before a home game against newly promoted Fulham.
A trip to Manchester United is a tricky one after that, but a visit to Watford before the international break offers the North Londoners three generous matches out of four early on.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing