Mark Lawrenson is not holding out hope on Tottenham Hotspur kicking into gear against Leicester City on Saturday but is confident the North London side will find their feet eventually, as noted in his weekly predictions for BBC Sport.
The former Liverpool centre-back, who won five top-flight titles during his spell at Anfield, feels there are too many issues in Mauricio Pochettino’s ranks at present for Spurs to form the true base to their season, having dropped two points away to Olympiacos on Wednesday night and at Arsenal earlier in the month.
The talent Tottenham possess is there to see, though, and notes that it is not always how you start a season but how you end it, which rang true for Spurs in 2017/18, as a mid-season slump between matchdays ten and 18 failed to prevent a third-place finish.
As for last season, Tottenham shot out of the blocks strongly with ten wins from their opening 13 league games, but almost missed out on Champions League qualification after taking just three wins in their final 12 top-flight fixtures.
Pochettino’s men currently hold two wins from five Premier League encounters, the same as Leicester have taken thus far, and Lawrenson expects their respective tallies to remain level come full-time on Saturday afternoon.
“I was surprised by Leicester’s lack of threat in their defeat at Manchester United last week,” Lawrenson wrote in his weekly predictions for BBC Sport, while backing the King Power Stadium natives to hold Tottenham to a 1-1 draw.
“Tottenham have got their own issues, after throwing away a 2-0 lead against Olympiacos on Wednesday night. They did the same at Arsenal in the Premier League at the start of September, and this time Mauricio Pochettino gave his side a bit of a shellacking afterwards.
“Spurs have been very up and down so far this season, but I don’t think they have too much to worry about – they are a good side, with some quality players. Sometimes you just start the season slowly – it happened to Liverpool sometimes in my time there – but the most important thing is how you finish the campaign, not how you start it.
“You just know Spurs are going to have a run where they win loads of games, but they might have to wait a bit longer to get up and running.”
While Lawrenson alluded to Leicester showing a lack of attacking threat at Old Trafford last time out, the Foxes had chances to score and came close to firing past David de Gea on multiple occasions only for the Spaniard to save their efforts or watch the ball float agonisingly wide of the post
It was more their defending which let them down on the road to Manchester United, with Caglar Soyuncu conceding a needless penalty in the opening stages which proved decisive, as Marcus Rashford’s spot-kick was the only goal of the game.
Leicester are also a different beast when at home than when away from the King Power Stadium, with Brendan Rodger’s side averaging 15.5 shots per game on home soil compared to 10.3 on the road, per WhoScored data.
That is also a trend shared by Spurs, with Pochettino’s men averaging 20.3 in North London – the fifth-most in the Premier League – but only eight on the road – the joint-third-worst with Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United.
Tottenham fans, does your lack of creativity on the road represent a deeper issue than early-season struggles? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Tottenham notifications!