There were mixed feelings throughout the Tottenham camp as we entered the 2017/18 season. Following a record-breaking Premier League season in 2016/17, hopes were high for the upcoming nine months. However, the demolition of White Hart Lane meant Mauricio Pochettino‘s side would be playing their home games at Wembley Stadium – a stadium that seemed to be cursed for the North London outfit.
Tottenham Hotspur: August 2017
Harry Kane’s August Hoodoo
It had been another quiet transfer window for Spurs until the final days of August. They lost Kyle Walker to eventual champions Manchester City early in the window. Before the window’s closure, Spurs managed to wrap up deals for club-record signing Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier. Fernando Llorente, Juan Foyth, and Paulo Gazzaniga also made the move to London.
Newcastle United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs’ season got off to a good start as they won at St. James’ Park in the first Super Sunday of the new season. At kick-off, Spurs were yet to make any summer signings. Before the game, Spurs knew there away form would have to be better than the previous season’s if they were to mount a top 4 challenge. This game was hanging in the balance until Jonjo Shelvey‘s red card in the 48th minute. Goals from Dele Alli and Ben Davies gave Spurs all three points on Tyneside. Harry Kane‘s ‘August curse’ struck again as he missed two great opportunities to add a third.
The outstanding performer of the game was right-back Kyle Walker-Peters. The youngster stepped up in the absence of Kieran Trippier following the sale of Kyle Walker. Walker-Peters coped well in the difficult atmosphere on what was his senior debut. Mauricio Pochettino later praised his players for picking up a “massive” three points.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea
As many fans had unfortunately expected, Spurs first game at Wembley didn’t go to plan. A fantastic free-kick from Marcos Alonso gave Chelsea the lead. The home side dominated from then, with Harry Kane hitting the post on more than one occasion as his hoodoo continued. An own goal from Michy Batshuayi leveled the proceedings late on but Alonso forced a mistake from Hugo Lloris late on as Chelsea claimed the victory.
Despite covering Wembley Stadium with the club’s mottoes, it certainly didn’t feel like home. A disappointing atmosphere only strengthened the talk of a Wembley hoodoo but Pochettino remained confident in his side: “I am not frustrated or upset. I am happy with the performance of the players. We are working hard, there are plenty of games to play.”
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Burnley
Spurs poor start at Wembley continued with a disappointing draw against Sean Dyche‘s Burnley. Dele Alli scored his second goal of the season to give Spurs the lead early in the second half. However, a late equaliser from debutant Chris Wood meant the sides shared the spoils. Quite astonishingly, Kane’s August curse lasted another year as he squandered two opportunities to wrap up the points for Spurs.
Pochettino was again adamant that the result had nothing to do with Wembley. He insisted that the result was the fault of him and his players: “There’s nothing to complain about Wembley, I think it was us. It doesn’t play on the mind of the players. The way we concede the goal is not Wembley. It’s because of us.”
After a disappointing start to the campaign, Spurs sat ninth in the Premier League table. They picked up just one point in their first two games at Wembley. For that reason, the Wembley worries had not faded – if anything, they had intensified. With trips to Everton, West Ham and high-flying Huddersfield coming up in September, Spurs knew they would have to be at their best to move up the table next month.
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