TF90M' James Bailey feels that Harry
Redknapp needs to nip the recent complacency in the bud before it manifests
Two points out of eight
games and their worst start to a season ever. Despite the arrival of Harry
Redknapp and positive signs of change, Tottenham Hotspur still find themselves
ominously close to the relegation zone.
The incredible first week
in Redknapp's spell at White Hart Lane saw the North London club defeat Bolton,
rescue a point in a 4-4 spectacle with rivals Arsenal and steal three points
from Premiership title contenders Liverpool. Subsequently a convincing win in
the UEFA Cup, the defeat of Manchester City and another win against Liverpool
led to fans heralding "Harry Houdini",
taunting former Spurs hero Robbie Keane and already booking their Carling Cup
However whilst the
immediate impact was certainly impressive and a relief for Spurs fans to find
themselves out of the bottom three and safe from horrendous jokes, many issues
still need to be dealt with.
historically are never reliable. Whilst the outfield players are illustrating
the flair, the flicks and the fancy skills that reward the nation with their
title of masters of the beautiful game, the keepers often feel the need to join
in. Despite Doni at AS Roma and Júlio César at Inter Milan seemingly bucking
that trend, there are numerous examples of dodgy Brazilian keepers. Whilst the
veteran Rogerio Ceni displayed he could be a good shot-stopper in Brazil, his
record goal scoring tally speaks for itself – Brazillian goalkeepers feel the
need to join in with the attacking play. Tottenham's much maligned keeper
Heurelho Gomes is a converted keeper, previously playing as a striker. The
point regarding Brazilian keepers could not have been illustrated any better
than in the Carling Cup match versus Liverpool. Liverpool's keeper Diego
Cavalieri let one goal go in through his legs and, perhaps over-anxious to make
amends, charged rashly out of his goal and gave another one away. At the other
end his international compatriot felt the need to join in the antics and Gomes,
the big-money recruit, allowed Liverpool to nearly claw their way back into the
It was another of Gomes's
catastrophic mistakes that led to Redknapp's first defeat in charge at the
hands of fellow London side Fulham. The Brazilian allowed a cross from former
Spurs winger Simon Davies to slip through his fingers and into the back of the
net. Whilst Liverpool signed Cavalieri as back-up to Jose Reina, Gomes was
signed to be a reliable and consistent back bone to the Tottenham team. Costing
a reported £8 million Gomes is yet to find the form that he demonstrated in
Holland where he holds the record for highest percentage of clean sheets in the
Eredivisie with him keeping a clean sheet in 60% of his league games for PSV.
In the wake of Gomes'
blunders Tottenham's goalkeeping coach Hans Leitert was sacked and despite a
couple of clean sheets against Blackburn and NEC Breda, many fans and pundits
are still wary of the liability he causes.
Furthermore whilst a
resurgence in form looked optimistic, apparent complacency has once again
entered the Tottenham camp demonstrated perfectly in the London derby with
Fulham where the players appeared to believe they were too good to try. Wanting
to reach the top half of the table, the North London team could not afford to
drop points at home to an injury struck Everton side. An unconvincing
performance against lower league opposition in the Carling Cup quarter final
saw Spurs scrape through to the semis after beating Watford 2-1.
Sitting in 17th
place, whilst a couple of wins will mean they move quickly up the league, the
star-studded side must realise they still remain too close for comfort to the
relegation zone. A relegation scrap is the last thing Spurs need and it is
always this festive period that makes or breaks club's seasons.
Whether or not Spurs fans
receive a merry Christmas, late presents are assured to arrive in January with
wheeler-dealer Redknapp certain to make the most out of the transfer window.
As usual the daily transfer
gossip columns link Spurs with players from across the globe. Redknapp is
rumoured to be planning a raid on his former team Portsmouth, as well as
looking at the Ghana international Stephen Appiah, summer target Andrey
Arshavin and Sporting Lisbon's £20m striker Liedson.
Though if Gomes continues
to drop clangers it will surely be a goalkeeper on the top of Redknapp's
Christmas wish list as he strives to implement consistency in the team. The
summer signings still need to find their feet and it is imperative that Modric,
Bentley and Pavlyuchenko show the class they demonstrated regularly at their
previous clubs. With a hectic schedule of games upcoming, an exciting Carling
Cup semi-final and both the UEFA Cup and FA Cup coming alive after Christmas
only time will tell if Redknapp can live up to his nickname and turn the disastrous
start to the season on its head. However it is currently too early to state
Spurs are safe with Redknapp needing to nip the recent complacency in the bud
before it manifests itself.