Tottenham Hotspur fans have had the privilege to witness some truly outstanding football in the 2010/2011 season. The outstanding talents of Bale, Modric, and Van der Vaart now grace the Spurs line up, terrorising the opposition with their skill and ability, as opposed to the days of average players like Postiga, (Michael) Brown, and Ghaly.
Whilst it is clear Spurs are a force to be reckoned with, in recent weeks drawing to teams like Wigan, Wolves and West Ham has harmed our chances of regaining the coveted fourth place, and our 4-0 defeat at the Bernabeu has left us needing a miracle to remain in this years Champions League (and if we do get through we will be up against Messi and co in the semis). Our Champions League experience for this year is likely to end, with no guarantee when it will start again. Why is this the case?
Problem No.1 – Strikers
Unfortunately this year Defoe, Crouch, Pavlyuchenko, and in the earlier half Keane, have not been good enough. Last year Defoe was on fire scoring 24 goals in all competitions. In stark contrast our combined goal total for the strikers this year is 30, hence not one of our strikers has been prolific. For Pav to be our top scorer (excluding VDV and Bale) with 7 goals in the Premier League is unforgivable. Ultimately, goals win matches, and our lack of them has lead to disappointing results.
Solution No.1 – Buy 2 new Strikers
Whatever happens this summer we should be looking to sell Crouch and Keane, who are both highly ineffective (except yes, Crouch HAD done quite well in the CL) for a combined total of 15-20 million. With this plus the Champions League money, we can buy a world class and upcoming striker. I’d buy Llorente/Forlan and Lukaku/Wickham, with first two proven goal scorers and the last two likely to become future stars of the game.
A big mistake this year was not buying Suarez, who although might have been ineligible for the CL would have almost certainly aided our push for fourth with his goals and frightening skill. Suarez’s arrival would have been well-timed, as January was when VDV began to lose form. We would also then not needed to play the out of form Defoe (who I’m sure will get back to his best next year).
Problem No.2 – Form against ‘Lesser’ teams
This year we have lost to Wigan (at home!), West Ham, Blackpool, and Bolton, and failed to score against West Ham and Wigan in both matches (links to problem 1).
Of course every team has the odd slip up – Man U have lost to Wolves, as have Chelsea and Man City, and Arsenal have lost to West Brom and Newcastle at home. However, this should be a reminder to Tottenham at a time when many teams are slipping up, we could have put up a serious challenge for the title! If we want to be in the Champions League on a regular basis, we will have to cope with playing many games. Europe cannot be an excuse for dropping ‘easy’ points.
Solution No.2 – Make greater use of squad
I believe we have the BEST squad in the league. Furthermore, I think players like Kranjcar and Jenas should get more game time when the likes of Bale and VDV are not fully fit, since they have the quality to make 1 point turn into 3 e.g Kranjcar vs Bolton and Sunderland.
Problem No.3 – Manchester City
This year the likes of Tevez, Silva and Yaya Toure have shown City are now close to becoming a great side. Add players like De Jong and Kompany to the equation and they have a strong spine to their team. Regardless of where they finish, they will continue to bring quality players to Eastlands. Therefore Spurs have to gain fourth place to make sure money is the only motivation for players to go for City, whilst we can tempt players with Champions League football.
Solution No.3 – Beat them in the League and hope for their form to collapse
Having watched Man City lose 3-0 to Liverpool it is clear City are on the brink collapse. If they go into their FA Cup Semi Final against United without Tevez, they will almost certainly lose. We must capitalise. Beating City at Eastlands is a priority, because as long as we are in a competitive position when we play them, I can’t see them finishing fourth if we beat them. Moreover, we cannot afford to lose to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and it is likely we will need to win at Anfield. Next week’s match against Arsenal is a must-win as well.
Problem No.4 – Trouble in Paradise
A once positive and productive relationship between Redknapp and Levy appears to be well and truly over. This is because Redknapp appears to having not so subtle digs at Levy in his post-match interviews regarding our form and how he is valued. This may well be due to stress on Redknapp’s part over his upcoming court case, and his desire to become England manager (which I must admit irritates me).
Solution No.4 – Keep faith in ‘Arry
Whilst Harry may not believe his future lies with Spurs, lets hope for the final few weeks of the season, he regains the teams morale, and guides Spurs to a second successive fourth place finish. He defied many critics after our semi final loss to Portsmouth when many claimed our season was over – whose to say he cannot do this again?
Finally lets hope Daniel “The Weasel” Levy lets Redknapp get on with his job, by giving him money to solve problem 1, and perhaps give Redknapp his blessing over England if any problems lie there. Finally, he should give up on Stratford- it is clear the reason he persists is so he can receive a nice sum of money saved from building the Northumberland project.
Well there you have it. What is so fantastic about Tottenham’s current situation is that there is so much potential for success (all problems have a solution). Yes Madrid may be a step too far, but for god’s sake we are up against Real Madrid!!!! Achieve fourth place and we can address the problems we faced this year, continue to improve in the Champions League, and have a shot at the title. But for now I look to tonight, and pray we beat Madrid! COYS!!!