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Premier League: Tottenham 20/1 to lose next three, Harry Kane 16/1 to score 20+

It’s safe to say the honeymoon period is well and truly over for Antonio Conte at Tottenham.

There are some things you expect when you appoint Conte as your manager, such as high-intensity running, the use of a 3-5-2 formation, and a ferocious passion on the touchline.

But placidity, particularly regarding recruitment, isn’t one.

After winning the title with Chelsea, he fell out with the club over transfers and after a fifth-place finish, was sacked. After winning the title with Inter, he fell out with the club over transfers, and left.

But he’s voicing his displeasure over transfers unusually early at Tottenham.

After just three games in charge he publicly called out his squad as not good enough. He seemed fractious throughout the January transfer window as the club failed to strengthen, and most recently he’s claimed the squad actually got weaker after replacing Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil with Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski.

After sacking Mauricio Pochettino and replacing him with Jose Mourinho, whose best days were behind him, and then replacing Mourinho with Nuno Espirito Santo following a desperate managerial search, Daniel Levy seems to have finally stumbled upon a world class manager in Conte, and a premature departure must be avoided.

To Conte’s credit, he got the very best out of the squad he was unhappy with very quickly. Between him taking charge and the unforgettable win at Leicester, only Manchester City had taken more points per game than Spurs. They’d picked up two more than Chelsea despite having played nine games to Chelsea’s 13.

However a step-up in opposition exposed Tottenham’s weaknesses, falling to a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, after deploying an ultra-cautious 4-4-2.

Having been outplayed by Southampton, they looked like coming away with all three points until two late goals condemned them to another defeat, and unable to recover from two early goals against Wolves made it three on the bounce.

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You’d understand a manager as idiosyncratic as Conte to not get instant result after moving to a new club before he gets to put his stamp on it. A system that requires three centre-backs, two wing-backs, two centre-forwards and midfielders who all require certain characteristics isn’t often found at clubs, and needs to be moulded over time. If they’re not bought, Conte will look to develop existing players, such as when he turned Victor Moses into a Premier League-winning wing-back.

Strangely, results and performances were excellent at first but three losses on the bounce raises concerns, particularly with three away games to come.

Next up is Manchester City, who’ve taken 43 points from a possible 45. For Tottenham’s perspective, the less said about that the better…

After that is the midweek trip to Burnley, who desperately need points, and then it’s Elland Road, to face a Leeds side who aren’t yet safe and certainly won’t roll over. Conte’s men are 20/1 to lose all three and 25/1 to win all three.

1-2 points is 4/1, 3-4 points is even money, and 5-7 points is 7/4.

So much of Tottenham’s season and whether they’ll qualify for the Champions League depends on the form and fitness of Harry Kane, who by all measures has had just about the worst campaign of his career.

Certainly hampered by the style of Santo in the early part of the season, he found a new lease of life under Conte. Prior to the three straight defeats, Kane found the net four times in five games, registering 5.0 xG.

Clear-cut chances were much harder to come by in their next three, leaving the 28-year-old stuck on a miserly five for the season.

Kane is one of only four players to score 20+ goals in five Premier League seasons – he’s 16/1 to reach the milestone this term – and has reached double figures in each of his last seven, but even that run could be in doubt.

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