Tottenham Hotspur have hit the skids in 2021 and Jose Mourinho could soon be in danger of being sacked if he can’t turn things around quickly.
At the start of December the north Londoners were sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League after a stunning run of form, but now three defeats in a row have fans fearing about a top six finish, let alone Champions League qualification.
At the start of the campaign it appeared goals would flow, but something changed dramatically after the fifth game of the season, and while Spurs continued getting results for a few matches the drop off has now been so severe the Portuguese is facing the ire of the club’s fans, even without them in the stadium.
When West Ham came from 3-0 down to stun Spurs and draw 3-3 on October 18, Mourinho was clearly worried about how his side would fair throughout the rest of the season.
He tightened his defence, lowered the block and prayed the countering would continue to work with Harry Kane starring as both creator and finisher, alongside chum Heung-Min Son.
Spurs stifled teams, no doubt, and despite their terrible form since December they still have one of the most resolute defences in the country, conceding only 22 goals in 21 games.
Four of those were against the Seagulls but, in reality, three of them came when Spurs were chasing the game and had five attackers on the pitch for the final 15 minutes.
It’s a huge worry, and Tottenham fans who adore thrilling football are bored.
The good news is that Harry Kane could return next week against Everton in the FA Cup or against Manchester City in the Premier League.
This is a saving grace, but Tottenham have still struggled with him too.
Sergio Reguilon and GIovani Lo Celso, both key in their positions are, though, long-term absentees.
So how could Mourinho shake up his side to get Tottenham back to wining ways? talkSPORT.com takes a look
How Tottenham should line up to save their season
Kane returning is vital; against Brighton and Chelsea, for whatever reason, Mourinho abandoned the entire mechanism his key striker brings.
This season, the England captain dropping deep and firing passes has been the pattern for Spurs, but against the Seagulls a fluid front three left no player in attacking midfield to replace his deeper movements, while against the Blues Carlos Vinicius was used as a target man with, bizarrely, Son dropping deeper towards the end of the match to receive the ball instead of the stand-in forward.
Steven Bergwijn has offered plenty off the ball in key games this season but when needed in attack, he’s not quite provided. He’s the man most likely to be replaced by Gareth Bale.
The Welshman, with his abilities across the forward line, can be very important going forward if allowed to move with the rest of the team.
When Kane returns, his deeper runs can allow Bale the time to move centrally and provide a second runner, along with Son.
Meanwhile, Dele Alli, in the No.10 role, having held clear the air talks with Mourinho, can offer a short pass for Kane if the situation means recycling the ball is the safer option.
Alli can also drive forward and offer progressive dribbling which has also been absent in recent weeks.
Bale’s movement in the system can also be aided by bringing in Japhet Tanganga at left-back to replace a dire Ben Davies.
Against both Brighton and Chelsea, as both sides outwitted Spurs with their wing-backs, the Welsh full-back looked out of his depth.
Not left-footed, but superior physically, and trained as a centre-back, Tanganga can offer the same protections as Davies, as he did in the win over Man City last season, but also an extra bit of pace when needed.
If Mourinho keeps the youngster pinned back along with his other two centre-backs we could also see the return of Serge Aurier flying down the right flank, which in turn aids Bale’s interior movements.
It’s not perfect, but it might be solution until Reguilon and Lo Celso get back to help out.