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Silky Spurs or Tumbling Tottenham? The Truth About Their Dramatic Downfall In 2012/13

With Spurs narrowly missing out on Champions League football once again, Jason Phillips looks at where it went wrong for Andre Villas-Boas’ men last season.

With Tottenham narrowly missing out on Champions League football once again, writer Jason Phillips looks at where it went wrong for Andre Villas-Boas’ men last season.

Andre Villas-Boas

“We are extremely satisfied with the way the season has gone.” (Source: Telegraph). Was this a way of reducing any appearing complacency, or was the “jig” really up? When Andre Villas- Boas uttered these words the week of Spurs’ vital last game of the season, the fans could sense that his army had fallen and the leader had accepted defeat. For supporters of the other Premier League clubs, (although the Wigan, Reading and QPR faithful may like to be exempt) the annual demise of Tottenham is amusing. However for the white half of London, this is no laughing matter.

The knowledge of conceding 46 goals, 9 more than their friendly neighbourhood Arsenal, in this erratic season, will rile the Spurs coaching staff and loyals. Sending pound notes flying with the signing of French international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will do little to put Daniel Levy in the White Hart Lane faithful’s good books again. To add to the frustration, the vocal satisfaction of the regular back four consisting of Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson and Assou-Ekotto did little in avoiding finishing below their biggest rivals and competing in the Europa League yet again next year.

What leaves little to the imagination is Tottenham’s form guide for three different parts of the season. From August to October, five wins, two draws and two losses put them in a good position to assault the top four and avenge their Champions League woes, after Chelsea’s unexpected and controversial trophy win in 2012.

November to February provides evidence to suggest why Spurs were perceived to be the big guns (irony) in North London at the time, a record of ten wins, four draws and four losses catapulting them to third in the league and four points above rivals Arsenal. It was on the 25th of February specifically that hinted towards Spurs finally proving that they were the side to beat, a last minute Gareth Bale winner against West Ham showing that Spurs could win at all costs.

With red delight and white fright, the prospect of six wins, three draws and two losses meant that March to May provided a final blow for a timely Tottenham demise. Despite being seven points clear at the start of March, another slip up meant that they faced missing out of the Champions League yet again, a last gasp chance on the last day of the season providing little consolation for Tottenham.

Another season and another slide down the table provides striking questions for the Spurs fans themselves.

What went wrong?

One Spurs fan believes that Tottenham’s season collapsed because of their weak attacking force, stuttering negotiations and midfield enforcer Sandros absence. “Levy not buying a striker in January and Sandros season-long injury are crucial, while Adebayor’s inconsistency and Defoe’s injury woes proved costly.” the fan voiced on Twitter.

What needs to change?

Another lifelong supporter believes that psychological factors may be key in changing Tottenham’s luck next year. “In the past 13 seasons, 72 points would have been enough, but what needs to change specifically is mentality and consistency. We were stronger this year, yet there is a psychological weakness at the club, with players feeling that there is an inevitability about throwing it away as soon as we put ourselves in a dominant position. To add to this, the lack of defensive discipline and ability to seal out wins against the ‘easier’ clubs (such as the unforgivable losses to Fulham and wigan at home) is unforgivable with Champions League ambitions. I think our transfer policy needs to change; bring in players sooner and get rid of the early season uncertainty and transition that costs us points.” Another fan claims.

But after all of that misery and negativity, is it possible to leave on a positive note? With a competitive squad, an ambitious manager and a generous owner, Tottenham have the resources to compete at the highest level. It’s common knowledge that Gareth Bale’s whereabouts next season is up for much debate, but his role in Tottenham’s team cannot be understated. 27 goals is just the least of his potential and with more investment and further experience, his team-mates may rise to his level and give him, the fans and the club what they want; The Champions League.

Where do you think it went wrong for Tottenham last season? Get involved in the comments section below.



  1. Sid

    June 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Perhaps the writer should look what went wrong with the 15 teams below Tottenham rather than hammering away at a club that finished 5th in the league and only lost out on Champions league due to a bad refereeing decision!

  2. tim

    June 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Downfall? sorry but the writer is the only one being dramatic. We had our highest points total. this was without a striker as well.most fans are happy and excited about the future under AVB.

    • tim

      June 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      the article is actually pretty fair it just the headline that is misleading

  3. Billy spurs

    June 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    What a load of rubbish, sixth form must have finished early this year, I bet the author has never been to a live EPL game!!

  4. KanKeano

    June 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Penned by a Gooner. Thats all you need to know.

  5. Mike S

    June 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I attended the final game of the season and I have to say the support given to AVB has shown that he is the one to lead us forward next campaign. Yes, we failed to break the top four again. But should we be disappointed? Hell no… we WILL break the hoodoo and finish above the Gooners and Chelsea next season. COYS

  6. Written By Arsenal Scum

    June 15, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Written by a gonner, no point in reading. Bye.

  7. Tim

    June 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    You do realise that points per game were almost identical for each of the three periods you’ve chosen don’t you? There was no collapse this year. The reason we lost fourth place was Arsenal’s fantastic run, not a drop in form from Spurs.

  8. Steve

    June 15, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Die-hard Tottenham fan 50 years.
    We insisted on putting ten men on the field against eleven. Hence we did not win as many games. Why is football the only sport where the thinking is…”he USED to score goals, so lets put him on and HOPE that he does”? We put out ten players – plus Adebayor. His problem was not physical, but was in his head. Could we not have put on someone else, who also may not score, but moves around a bit, in good receiving positions? Makes me wonder why we have Spurs U21 team.

  9. dave@spurs

    June 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    It aint all that hard to work out,the reason we missed CL was injuries to Kabul and Sandro,had we had them fit and playing
    we would have been 3rd with or without a striker in jan, nuff sais

  10. oldun

    June 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    The one actual quote in this drivel was “a Spurs” fan on Twitter. Sums up the level of this travesty of an article Presumably the only fact here is the name of the author but given the quality of the piece, I’m not convinced he even got his name right.

  11. Spur76

    June 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Give the guy a break, the headline is misleading and tbh we all like to think we know more then the media so quoting a fan is fair enough, however you need more quotes to provide a balanced argument. I agree with Tim, we were more controlled and dominant during the last half of the season but sorely missed a spark in midfield and up front along with Arsenals fantastic run meant we missed the boat. AVB is the best manager tactically that we have had since the 70’s/80’s, yes he did make some poor line up decisions but we all make mistakes. If we can bag 3/4 top quality players and hold on to Bale I think we could be top 3 next year. Bring in some of our attacking youngsters too.

  12. Justin martin

    June 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    We needed a decent striker! Overall we were strong but just lacked the quality up front at the most important times. Bale pulled us out a few times more than he should have had to but that is what he’s payed to do.

  13. Ken

    June 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Is stating the blinding obvious news…..We all know that Levy missed the boat in january regarding a striker why is this news in June what a load of crap news is current not 6 months old

    • oldyid

      June 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      the reason its mentioned is to be an answer to the written article on why we only came in 5th, when a striker would have gained 3 or more points over the later part of the season, nothing else needs to be said.

  14. chris b waters

    June 15, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    The football gods seem against us. There was lasagnagate some years back and then last season we got 4th but became the first PL team to suffer missing out on the CL because of Chelsea (remember when Everton still qualified in 4th when Liverpool, who finished 5th, won the CL?). This season, the amount of points we got would have ensured CL football 8 out of the past 10 seasons ..but again, Arsenal’s ‘run’, or dip over the line, did for us. However, what we desperately need for next season is someone like Modric ..and where can we find him? If we can replace the little weasel, plus add Dameao (or similar) then our squad will be much stronger next season. Our main enforcer (Sandro) will be back, and Kaboul will bolster the defence. With Bale staying too, we’ll challenge solidly (not just for 4th) and we don’t need to get rid of too many players. I’d keep Parker (who always plays well with a creative midfielder and can provide decent cover for Sandro).

  15. ColinSC

    June 16, 2013 at 3:56 am

    Chris I fell Parker would be better replaced at this stage. I do agree we need a midfield general however I would hate to see ratboy near the lane in any capacity as he is carrying on his treachery by chipping into the tapping up circus run by RM. Personally we have the makings of a truly interesting midfield anyway I am looking forward to seeing the Holtby/Sandro pairing and the Vertonghen /Kaboul. I seriously hope we find a buyer for Ade however he has a huge price tag and playing as he has, this will be a difficult task. If we got a couple of strikers in I would still like to see Defoe as a super sub. One of our problems this year was having two strikers where you really need a third as backup in case of injury.

  16. terry

    June 16, 2013 at 6:01 am

    cant wait to see the so called new contract for bale one would think levy would have his first priority would be bloody obvious get the boy signed up asap give him his 150 ooo contract before he gets ggtwice this amount in spain

  17. Gary Fox

    June 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Poor article. Spurs didnt stutter and fail as in 2011/12. We had to cope without sandro and kaboul whilst losing modric vdv and king too. Another striker probably would have made a difference but more defensive stability definitely would have……it was our goals against total that screwed us most of all. However its also worth pointing out that teams who get 9-11 penalties per year will usually do better than teams that get none! A couple of drawn or lost games would have been very different if referees had done their job properly.

  18. Simon Frampton

    June 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Spurs dropped 19 points in the opening 12 matches [W5 D2 L5]. In the remaining 26 matches only 23 points were dropped the record was W16 D7 L3 including being unbeaten over the final 8 matches. Where’s the end-of-season slump in those figures?
    And as Gary Fox says, Spurs were without King, Modric, Van der Vaart and Kaboul plus Sandro for half the season but still achieved their best ever Premier League points total.
    Every reason to be optimistic for 2013-2014.

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