The race for the top four is the topic for Episode 4 of the High Press as they look ahead to Chelsea vs Tottenham and Newcastle vs Arsenal.
Host Alison Bender is joined by Roshane Thomas, Carrie Brown and Miguel Delaney to discuss Chelsea, Tottenham, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Starting off with a look at Tottenham, Bender said, “We don’t even need to talk about Harry Kane anymore! They seem a better team without him.”
Brown spoke of her experiences working with both Mauricio Pochettino and Ange Postecoglou, reserving special praise for the latter.
“He’s a brilliant, brilliant manager at bringing up players and giving them belief. And that’s what Tottenham have needed.”
Spurs without Harry Kane
Thomas has been just as impressed with the start of the post-Kane era.
“He’s brought that winning mentality to Tottenham… I think they’re a better team without Harry Kane. I really do. They’re no longer focused on one player.”
Thomas went on to praise Spurs’ recruitment after the sale of Kane, noting that they have learnt their lessons after selling Gareth Bale. He also picked Micky van de Ven as the signing of the season so far.
While Delaney thinks ‘ripping the band aid off’ has helped with Spurs moving on from Kane, he also expects there to be games where they really miss the England international.
“They are a good team. They have recruited well to cover Harry Kane. But if Harry Kane was there now, they would be top four favourites, title contenders, they’ve had to actually spend the money under Daniel Levy to compensate for him. If they’d spent that and kept Kane, with a manager with Postecoglou’s tactics, what an exciting team that would be.”
Chelsea in Europe
Turning to Chelsea, Thomas expressed his confidence in Nicolas Jackson, and has liked what he’s seen from Cole Palmer. Bender and Delaney weighed up the Blues’ chances of a top six finish, with a quieter schedule potentially working in their favour. Delaney believes, even with the current gap, Chelsea can qualify for the Champions League.
Thomas acknowledged the pressure on Chelsea, “Whether it’s the Champions League, Europa League or Conference League, you have to finish in one of them. You can’t spend all that money and finish tenth. If they do, Pochettino could lose his job.”
The panel debated expectations at Newcastle, and whether Eddie Howe could be in the job long-term. Delaney noted that, despite the money spent, Newcastle still have a small squad which could be stretched as the season goes on.
Thomas added, “I think [Eddie Howe] is the right man…
“I look at Eddie Howe, and he’s great at developing players; Jacob Murphy, Joelinton, how he’s getting the best out of Callum Wilson.”
Arsenal Champions League or Premier League
Focusing on Arsenal, the panel had different views on how much energy the Gunners should put into the Champions League. Brown was keen to see Arteta rotate his squad more than last season, while Delaney and Bender commented that Arsenal could win the Champions League before the Premier League.
To close out the episode, the quartet discussed Declan Rice’s impact at Arsenal, Aston Villa’s chances, Liverpool’s title contention and fixture congestion.
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