The 2017/18 season had the makings of a transitional period for Tottenham Hotspur. With the club playing its home games at Wembley while their new stadium was nearing completion, coupled with lacking the financial clout of their competitors, you could be forgiven for expecting Mauricio Pochettino's side to struggle.
Nevertheless, Spurs have managed to secure a top-three finish and Champions League qualification for the third year running, making a serious statement about the club's ambition and potential.
As Pochettino begins his transfer dealings for the summer, let's reflect on another strong campaign for his team. Here is Spurs' 2017/18 report card.
1. League Performance
Spurs gave themselves a tough act to follow after finishing second in 2016/17, a record high for the club in the Premier League era.
With Kyle Walker leaving to join Manchester City and key players such as Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld suffering from injuries and fitness concerns for much of the season, many predicted that Spurs would struggle to hit the heights of the previous year - a campaign which saw them become the closest title rivals to runaway winners Chelsea.
Despite an admittedly mixed first half of the season, in which impressive victories over Liverpool and Stoke were balanced out by underwhelming defeats against Arsenal and Leicester, Spurs' form picked up towards the back end of December and the club went on an impressive 14-match unbeaten run, winning 11 and drawing 3.
Though their form took another slight dip towards the tail end of the season, Spurs still picked up enough points to finish comfortably inside the top 4 for another year, victory over Leicester on the final day confirming a third-place finish ahead of Liverpool. Not too shabby for a side playing away from 'home' all season.
2. Domestic Cup Performance
Tottenham's performances in domestic cup competitions this season were, to put it mildly, a very mixed bag indeed. The less said about the club's ill-fated EFL Cup campaign, the better - a narrow 1-0 win over Barnsley followed by defeat against West Ham at Wembley made the competition a bit of a non-starter for Pochettino's side.
With that being said, Spurs fared significantly better in the FA Cup, reaching the semi-finals once again - although they certainly made hard work of getting there. Despite needing to take both Newport County and Rochdale to a replay at Wembley in order to progress, Tottenham eventually made it to the last four where they faced off in a glamour tie against Manchester United. Belief was sky-high around North London that Spurs might finally end their FA Cup semi-final hoodoo.
Sadly, it just wasn't to be. Despite starting brightly and taking the lead through Dele Alli, Spurs ultimately succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against the Red Devils and an incredible eighth consecutive defeat in the semi-finals of the competition. Not a dreadful showing overall, but definitely an area to improve in next year.
3. Continental Cup Performance
When the draw for the group stages of the Champions League took place on the 24th of August 2017, Spurs fans could hardly believe their luck. With the club drawn in a fiendishly tricky group alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL, it seemed as though Spurs' European dream would be over before it had even begun.
Spurs, however, had other ideas.
Masterminded by Pochettino, Spurs pulled off one of the shocks of the season to finish above both Madrid and Dortmund and qualify for the knockout stages of the competition at a canter. It was a European campaign that saw some unforgettable performances, such as the stunning 3-1 win over Madrid at Wembley and the home and away defeats of Dortmund.
Expecting a slightly more lenient draw as reward for topping their group, Spurs had the misfortune of being drawn against Italian giants Juventus in the round of 16, the Bianconeri finishing second in their group behind Barcelona. Though Spurs battled hard to draw 2-2 in Italy and took the lead in the second leg at Wembley, the pressure of the occasion seemed to get to the players as Juve came back to win 4-3 on aggregate.
Overall, this was an entertaining and memorable European campaign for Spurs, featuring some of the most magical nights in the club's recent history. However, with Liverpool reaching the Champions League final, one wonders how far Tottenham could have gone had they only managed to hold their nerve against Juventus. Spurs fans will hope that the players can come back stronger from the experience and go further next time.
4. Best Player
Though Harry Kane had yet another astonishing season in front of goal and Christian Eriksen ran entire games with his creativity and work rate, one player stood head and shoulders above the rest this season for Spurs. That player, of course, is Jan Vertonghen.
Despite having been rock-solid at the back for Spurs over the five seasons prior to this one, the 31-year-old Belgian took his game to a whole new level in this campaign. In 38 games across all competitions, Vertonghen hardly put a foot wrong, terrorising strikers from Romelu Lukaku to Alvaro Morata with his pace, pressing and inch-perfect tackling.
The loss of Toby Alderweireld led many to assume that Spurs would struggle at the back. Instead, Vertonghen rose to the challenge like all great players do, striking up a strong partnership with new signing Davinson Sanchez and allowing Tottenham to remain a formidable defensive force.
Top marks for Vertonghen. Spurs will be hoping he can take his immense form with him into the new stadium.
5. Worst Player
You thought it was going to be Moussa Sissoko, didn't you?
While Sissoko's inability to trap, pass, shoot or even recognise a football continues to mystify Spurs fans two years on from his big-money move from Newcastle, giving the Frenchman too much stick feels a little harsh. Whatever you might say about him, you could never accuse him of not working hard. Besides, he actually had one or two decent games this season - albeit against the likes of Swansea.
No, the title of Spurs' worst player goes instead to the infamous Fernando Llorente. Signed on deadline day for around £12m, the Spanish poacher won acclaim at Swansea last season for being a top-quality target man, notching an impressive 15 goals in Wales. Compare that to just one solitary league goal this season and you can forgive Spurs fans for wondering what all the fuss was about.
The truth is that signing Llorente was simply a poor piece of business by Spurs; a player well past his best who was never going to adapt to a more intricate style of football than he was used to at Swansea. Watching Llorente amble aimlessly about waiting for a cross soon grew so frustrating that the striker could hardly even make the bench towards the end of the season.
Trying to find a Harry Kane backup seems like a good idea given Spurs' heavy reliance on the striker, but after the failures of Llorente and Vincent Janssen, it is proving to be easier said than done.
6. The Manager
Tottenham have continued to punch above their weight, finishing in the top three for the past three seasons despite having a significantly lower net spend and wage bill than the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. Credit for this monumental achievement belongs to Mauricio Pochettino, who has transformed the club into a genuine force since his arrival in 2014.
Spurs' performances in the Premier League and Europe have given fans plenty to cheer about this season, as well as a solid foundation to build on in the years to come. However, there is still much to be desired about Spurs' domestic cup performances, which Pochettino has been open about not prioritising.
Pochettino is still a young manager with much to learn but the Argentinian is without a doubt Tottenham's best manager of the Premier League era and is the right man to lead the club forward.
With Pochettino going public in his desire for the club to 'take risks' in the transfer market this summer, it is vital that Tottenham do whatever they can to keep the manager happy and secure his future as the club enters a new era.
7. Overall Grade
With both Manchester sides improving significantly this season and Spurs being forced to play their home games at Wembley, Pochettino's side have done well to keep pace with the other heavyweights of the league and challenge at the top end of the table once again.
Although Spurs have been arguably weaker than last season, maintaining their place among the Premier League's finest is no small achievement and the fans have been given plenty to smile about this year. The club's performances against European heavyweights showed that although Spurs might not be an elite club just yet, they have more than earned their seat at the table.
With a busy summer ahead, as well as more to come from big-money signings such as Lucas Moura and Serge Aurier, Tottenham have given themselves an excellent platform to build on as they begin life at their new home. If Spurs can continue to improve as they have under Pochettino's leadership, the club will be able to look forward to an extremely bright future.
Overall Grade: B+