Mauricio Pocchetino, when he has time to reflect on the season, will surely acknowledge that away inconsistencies cost Spurs the title.
Unlike playing Slaven Bilic, Tottenham’s away record probably won’t keep Pochettino up at night. It will, however, keep Spurs from winning the title.
Spurs currently have the fifth best away record in the top flight. Not too shabby, right?
"A few poor results, when trying to chase the frontrunners down, is the difference between lifting the Premier League title aloft and being the bedraggled, begrudging bridesmaid."
When the title was lost
Pundits and supporters alike will have various opinions about when Spurs’ title hopes faded. Some will say it is Tottenham’s form against the top six that led to their downfall. Others will point to key injuries at inopportune times.
While both play a part, Spurs title hopes took a severe dent during a two-month span in the lead up to Christmas.
Tottenham were unable to garner a single victory in five consecutive away matches. It all started with a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on Oct. 15. That draw with Tony Pulis’ resilient side was followed up by a drab 0-0 stalemate away to Bournemouth.
Bournemouth were in good form, but title-winning sides have a knack of grinding out wins in such adverse conditions. Spurs then made the short trip to the Emirates, where another draw was on tap. Spurs were quietly content with the result as Gunners were firing on all cylinders at the time.
Their barren road spell culminated with two subsequent defeats at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. Tottenham got back to winning ways away from home thereafter but dug themselves too deep a hole to climb out of.
Too many bumps on the road
Spurs, from 17 away matches thus far, have seven wins, six draws and four losses. They’ve gained 27 from 51 possible points on their travels. Manchester City, Liverpool, United, and of course Chelsea, all have superior away records.
The lack of a killer instinct has cost Spurs dearly.
Tottenham’s six away draws are the second most in the top flight. Only destined-to-be-relegated Middlesbrough, with seven draws, have more. Scoreless stalemates with Sunderland and Bournemouth are by far the most glaringly abject results.
Those kind of earthquake-size disruptions cannot happen to a team vying for Premier League supremacy.
Spurs, who lay claim to the league’s second most deadly attack, failed to shell out the kind of artillery that they unerringly, and effortlessly, produce at home. Failing to score in five away matches, three of which ended in defeat, Spurs shot blanks far too often in hostile territory.
Only 26 of their 71 goals have come on the road.
Is youth to blame? Or is it just a matter of natural, unavoidable, growing pains?
The lack of a reliable backup striker certainly hasn’t help. Vincent Janssen hasn’t fit the goal-scoring bill and Harry Kane, regardless of how Spurs coped in their star’s absence, needs a world-class striking partner, even if the pair don’t always start in tandem.
Winning an elusive Premier League title is predicated on the ability to consistently grind out results on the road.
The best teacher is experience. Hopefully Spurs have this season gained the kind of experience required to progress to the next level in 2017-18.
In any case, Pochettino should let the footballing world know that road warriors are welcome in North London.