Honestly you’d think Spurs had just landed on that massive snake (square 97) at the summit of a Snakes and Ladders board, in light of the way the media have condemned their recent slump. The truth of the matter is, aside from a disastrous 45-minute spell at the Emirates, we’ve still been watching the same free-flowing, attacking team that the nation has grown to love.
This stage of the season was always going to prove testing for Spurs with an immensely brutal run of fixtures that’s included a match against the current champions, a deceptively difficult encounter at Goodison and the aforementioned North London derby.
Spurs have a notoriously dire history against United, it’s been eleven years since their last victory, but despite this I thought they dominated proceedings at White Hart Lane. It was only after two expertly crafted goals by Ashley Young that the Red Devils looked comfortable and had everyone in the pub uttering the phrase, ‘that’s the sign of champions’.
Their latest defeat at the hands of David Moyes and his overachieving Toffees was arguably a more difficult pill to swallow. A quick glance at the stats reveals Spurs had an overwhelming 61% of the possession and notched up 22 shots, compared to Everton’s 9, two of which clattered off Tim Howard’s post.
Just about every journalist, pundit and member of Twitter has been eager to associate Tottenham’s recent woes with the ongoing saga regarding the future of Harry Redknapp. Every game seems to be considered an interview for the England role, with each tactical decision being scrutinised under the media spotlight. I’m sure the constant speculation has made Harry’s job more difficult but to suggest that it’s been anything more than inconvenient is a lazy and short-sighted argument.
Redknapp is perhaps guilty of reverting to the traditional 4-4-2, from his more familiar 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to incorporate the arrival of Louis Saha. However, the absence of playmaker Rafael Van Der Vaart is clearly the underlying reason for this move, especially considering Spurs do not currently possess a worthy replacement in his position. This has perhaps prompted Spurs to step-up their chase of Lille’s Eden Hazard in amongst the increasing competition for his signature.
Tottenham’s recent dip in form has been magnified by the recent resurgence of London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. The Gunners last gasp victory against Newcastle means they sit just a point behind Spurs with Chelsea a further three points back. Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final fixture at home to struggling Bolton will provide the club with a much needed reprieve from the Premier League and presents the perfect platform to restore some much needed confidence. A convincing victory against the Trotters would be the optimum springboard into the midweek fixture against Stoke, with Chelsea lying in wait on the following Saturday.
The game of football will always be utterly unpredictable, which is one of the many reasons it’s such a compelling and attractive spectacle. There will be twists and turns at both ends of the table as the season reaches its climax, with very few elements of the Premier League resembling a forgone conclusion. So unless Harry turns to religion in his quest to change his teams fortunes and repeatedly utters the phrase ‘what would Jenas do?’, then just sit back, relax and let the football do the talking.
If you have a spare 5mins why not watch the latest episode of ‘The Football Coffee Break’
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