Tottenham’s Season So Far: What We Had Hoped For or an Anti-Climax?
WARNING: The following 1200 words are the moans of a grumpy old man who believes even though Spurs are sitting in 5th, have AC Milan on the horizon in the Champions League and are still in the FA Cup things aren’t what they were last season. I blame Stratford. If you’re offended by such things please look away now.
Am I the only one who feels this season hasn’t really lived up to what I was expecting from it? The massive break through last season by achieving champions league qualification was followed by a very quiet transfer window in which we only managed to make it a half decent one by signing van der Vaart at the last minute. We’ve had some great games, mostly in the Champions League and breaking another hoodoo at The Emirates but it just doesn’t feel like this season has really “kicked off” yet.
We’ve enjoyed watching Bale destroy oppositions but then spend the next few games in the wilderness on the left flank. Modric has been in the form of his career which is a joy to watch and while he’s been subdued recently van der Vaart is worth the ticket price alone. We’ve been unlucky with injuries to key players, notably Dawson, Defoe and Huddlestone but that’s why we’ve spent so much to get the best squad in the country to cover, but they haven’t. At least it doesn’t feel like they have.
As a team it just hasn’t happened like it did last season. Even with my over pessimistic head on I was starting to believe the hype, but that’s quickly been overshadowed by a feeling of being completely underwhelmed. Whether that’s the lull in the Champions League, this once again disappointing transfer window, the whole Stratford / WeAreN17 debate or the gap appearing between us and 4th (3 points at the time of writing, 4 if you include the goal difference) I just don’t know.
Comparing this season with last is interesting because we’re only 3 points worse off than we were at the same stage and I was only a few weeks away from really believing we had a chance at the top 4. Even when you compare the teams we’ve played (replacing Portsmouth with West Brom and Hull with Newcastle) we’re again only 3 points worse off. However, it’s when I look at the goal difference at the same stage I start to suspect one of the reasons I’m less optimistic is because we’re just not as entertaining and free flowing as we were last season. We’re 14 goals worse off from 23 games played. Ok, so 8 of those goals were from the 9-1 win against Wigan and while they were scored and should count lets say because it’s a freak result we reduce that to a 5-1 win. That would still be 10 goals better off last season than we are now or almost 0.5 goals a game which is huge.
We were scoring goals for fun last season. We were the real entertainers. This season we’re pretenders to the crown and the press are to blame for that. Sure, games involving us are entertaining but that doesn’t mean we’ll win them. We go all out attack and yet we’re scoring less goals than we were last season. Our 32 goals scored so far this season is only 8th best in the league with teams like Newcastle, Bolton, Blackpool as well as the top 4 all scoring more than we have. Even the crisis club Liverpool have only managed 1 less than us as have Blackburn and Sunderland.
I mentioned back in November that there was a possibility that van der Vaart was to blame for our lack of goals and while I got quite a lot of abuse for suggesting such a thing I was right. At least what I was trying to say was right, if not my execution of the subject matter. Harry Redknapp didn’t want to sign vdV. Let me rephrase that, he wasn’t looking to sign a player like vdV. Of course when the opportunity came up there was only one answer and we’re all very glad that answer was yes. He’s been exceptional this season, however by trying to shoe-horn him into a team that played with 2 strikers and width we’ve become a team that unless all neurons are firing can be easy to keep at bay. Just look at our results, most of them are kept below 2 goals a game and winning margins are usually only by one. The formation we’ve been forced to play with only one real striker has resulted in 3 games where we’ve scored three or more goals from 23 attempts. The Champions League is a completely different story though with the figure being 7 times out of 8, only Bremen being able to keep us below 3 goals in our first group game.
Clearly the 4-4-1-1 or whatever you want to call it works fantastically well in Europe, just as many people believed it would before the season started. However, the lone striker (with our personnel) doesn’t in the league, but we have little or no choice if vdV is going to start games which of course he must.
I’ve got sidetracked somewhat as this isn’t meant to be going over old ground on the vdV position and how it’s actually been to the detriment of a team that finished in it’s highest league position for 20 years and almost got into the FA Cup final for the first time in equally as long. The problem is, it could be related to the way I feel. With every passing game whether we stay in touch with the top 4, lose touch, win, lose or draw the one thing that remains a constant is how we’re playing. It’s not this blistering, amazing stuff as we’re being made to believe. There’s been some fantastic moments of course, the vdV second goal against Villa on boxing day was a personal highlight of mine as I stood there freezing my bollocks off but I don’t have the same feeling as I did last season.
Would I if this whole new stadium thing hadn’t come up? Not only were we winning and playing well for a change but last year we were having our tastebuds teased with images of a new stadium in Tottenham. All very sexy, under lights with the large kop like stand. What have we got now? Fans arguing, the club arguing with West Ham, politicians wading in with their opinions and Pele taking a break from advertising his stiffy pills to talk about a subject he has no knowledge of whatsoever.
I was listening to the Spurs Show podcast last night and they mentioned briefly how we’re in the middle of one of our best seasons in living memory and I had to wonder if that was true. Of course it’s one of the best, but one of the best doesn’t have much to compete against does it? Compare it so far to that of Liverpool. A club in a crisis, swapping managers, player unrest, boardroom takeovers and they’re only 6 points behind us now. Sure we’ve got a game in hand but you can see what I mean. If this is one of our best season’s and it’s arguably one of their worse I don’t fancy our chances of remaining above them if they get things sorted.
Forget the extra few points we had this time last season, that’s a negligible amount that can change from one week to the next, it’s the manner in which we’ve gone about it this season with little or no end product and whether that’s down to the formation, the strikers or the opposition defence the more I look at the table the less I think we’ve got what it takes.
Wow, this has been a massive moan and I apologise for that. We’re sitting 5th and only 3 points behind the top 4 again with the best first team I’ve ever seen at the Lane. Moaning it is, but is striving for perfection a bad thing?
Submitted by THFC1882
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