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Tottenham Hotspur ended the season as Premier League runners-up.

And have now finished inside the top three for consecutive seasons.

Despite a campaign without silverware and a disappointing UEFA Champions League run, there are plenty of positives for Tottenham to take away from 2016-17.

Tottenham Hotspur 2016-17: Farewell White Hart Lane with best ever Premier League finishWhat went right?

Mauricio Pochettino led his side to another impressive Premier League season with a second place finish. They totalled 86 points, seven adrift of new champions Chelsea, while recording the most goals scored (86) and least conceded (26). Brilliant individual performances were another highlight, as the likes of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min all had fantastic seasons and netted a combined 69 goals.

Kane missed eight matches of the campaign and during his two injury spells there were concerns Tottenham might struggle. Son and PFA Young Player of the Year Alli diminished those concerns and scored four goals each in those matches. In Kane’s absence Tottenham won five and drew three, which are very promising signs.

Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker formed a formidable back line and when injuries occurred, Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Kieran Trippier also played important roles in defence.

What went wrong?

This season Tottenham took part in its first UEFA Champions League campaign since 2010-11 and it was a disappointing return. Spurs faced AS Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow in the group stages and earned just seven points. Six of these came against Moscow and the other in a draw with Leverkusen, while they were defeated by Monaco twice and the Bundesliga outfit once.

Kane missed three group stage matches through an ankle injury, meaning Tottenham finished third and moved into the UEFA Europa League round of 32 – only to be knocked out by Belgium’s KAA Gent. It was an injury loaded season for Pochettino, with Kane, Rose, Alderweireld, Walker, Trippier and Erik Lamela just some of the players that spent time on the sidelines.

Best man

There were many outstanding players for Tottenham this season, yet Kane was the main standout after winning his second straight Golden Boot. The 23-year-old scored 29 goals and provided seven assists in just 30 appearances – as he missed eight matches via injury – demonstrating just how consistent he is. Kane’s finishing capabilities were also on full display, netting goals from headers and the edge of the box as well as scoring numerous tap-ins due to his hard work, stamina and smart positioning. He is a defender’s nightmare and significantly difficult to stop.

Off-season moves

Nabil Bentaleb has already agreed on a move to Schalke after spending a season on loan at the Veltins-Arena and defender Federico Fazio is set to join Roma permanently. Danny Rose has been linked with Manchester United, while Kyle Walker is said to be on the radar of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola is desperate for a fullback after releasing Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy.

Grade: A-

Spurs played brilliant and exciting football in the Premier League – goals certainly were not an issue and the defensive structure was strong. Tottenham are gradually getting closer and closer to the Premier League title and can only go up from here. Pochettino’s side piled pressure on Chelsea towards the end of the season by winning 12 of their last 13 matches.

The main downfall of Tottenham’s 2016-17 was European competition, with early exits from both the Champions and Europa Leagues. Pochettino already boasts a fantastic squad and should mainly aim to keep hold of young stars. But a quality transfer or two will add more depth and could see Tottenham go a step further in all competitions next season.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Tim Roberts
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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