Tottenham may have to get use to the parking of the bus

defoelennonFootball FanCast columnist Andrew Fitchett feels that Spurs will have to get use to rival teams parking the bus.

After the absurdity of the Wigan game, Saturday evening’s trip to Villa Park came as a gentle bump back down to terra firma for Tottenham. The second half performance was arguably as dominant as that 9-1 shellacking – the passing was as good as it gets – but the result was a reminder that the Premier League is an unpredictable beast.

The reasons for that dose of reality are fairly clear. Wigan’s defence had more holes than a bullet-riddled colander, while Villa plugged the gaps by sacrificing any type of attacking ambition for a ten man backline. It would be fair to say that Spurs were reaping the whirlwind after their intimidating display the week before: Villa had been scared into submission so they hunkered down and tried to ride out what they saw as an inevitable onslaught from an in-form team. Perhaps Spurs had been greedy against the Latics.

Critics made a lot of the 9-1 win, saying that it sent out a signal to the Premier League of Spurs’ qualities. Villa were only a place behind but it appeared that they got the message loud and clear and Spurs will have to get used to being unwelcome visitors.

How times have changed. There was a time when teams in need stopped at Spurs’ door. You could bet your season ticket that if a team hadn’t won an away game in ten years that they’d come to White Hart Lane and nick one. If a striker was going through a 30 game goal drought, our defence would oblige him. If a manager was in danger of getting the sack, we’d make sure he got another game. We might as well have lined up with a back four of Bob Geldof, Bono, Sue Ryder and Pudsey Bear for the amount of charity being dished out.

That Wigan result has turned Spurs into a team to fear and the cold reception of a defensive rear-guard is bound to become a familiar sight. They’ll have to learn how to pick apart a defence with a spot of cunning and invention, making use of the talents of a varied squad. Much has been made of the return of Luka Modric, who will be key for this sort of problem-solving, as will Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar, summer signings which give us yet more dynamic options.

Spurs have a run of very winnable games in the coming two months – Manchester City on 16 December looking a particular highlight – and it would be easy to expect a bright new dawn after an eight-goal hammering. However, it might be that the Villa game is the start of a trend, and rather than handing out a string of batterings like an over-eager fish and chip shop owner, Spurs get a frustrating run of niggly results. However, if we can box clever and break down defences, we should be sitting pretty come the New Year.

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NEW Soccer AM IIII DVD OUT NOW – Order your copy now