Following Tottenham’s away win at Blackburn last weekend, this week Rafael Van Der Vaart claimed that Spurs have the potential to have a great season.
Spurs currently sit 5th, with their only two defeats coming against the current top two, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Indeed, Van Der Vaart seems to see no reason why the North London club cannot finish second, stating ‘Maybe at the moment Man City are just too good for everyone else, but for the rest of the teams, it is very even.’
Following his comments, it seems apt to look at the strength of the current Spurs squad, to judge the team’s potential this season?
At the back
Summer signing Brad Friedel has rid the club of the goalkeeping errors that now second choice Gomes had previously made far too persistent a problem.
In William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and Sebastien Bassong Spurs have a strong set of centre backs. It is Ledley King however that makes the club tick, due to injury problems the former England international is unable to train regularly or in the same manner as the other players at the club. Yet, when King plays Spurs’ win percentage is significantly higher than when he doesn’t, which is a clear testament to his influence at the club.
Kyle Walker looks exceptionally promising at right back, with his recent winner in the North London derby certainly endearing him to Spurs fans. While Benoit Assou-Ekotto is much improved at left back.
In the middle
Sandro, Modric, Parker, Van Der Vaart, Huddlestone, Kranjcar and Livermore provide great depth and variety for Spurs, with varying levels of experience. Modric and Van Der Vaart are exceptional players on their day while Scott Parker has excelled thus far this season.
On the left, last season’s PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale is a formidable opponent for any full back while on the right Aaron Lennon provides great width. If Lennon is unavailable, Spurs have the option to move Van Der Vaart, Kranjcar or Modric wide and allow one of them to influence the game from there.
Emmanuel Adebayor, a former hate figure for Spurs fan has now turned hero. The Togo born striker is an exceptional talent and has settled in immediately at White Hart Lane, while Jermain Defoe still has a knack for goalscoring as he has proved so far this season. Despite recent questions about his future, Roman Pavlyuchenko’s goal against Rubin Kazan last week showed he still has the ability to change games at the top level. The Russian is certainly not a bad third choice striker for the club.
Since taking over in October 2008 Harry Redknapp has worked wonders at White Hart Lane, notably guiding the side to Champions League qualification in his first full season. Indeed, the victories that followed against Internazionale and AC Milan will live long in the memory.
Redknapp has been heavily tipped for the England job following next summer’s European Championshps, which could make this his last season with the club. If that was to be the case, Tottenham will be losing a manager with the distinct quality of getting the very best out of his players. Under Redknapp, Spurs must believe that the sky is the limit and the club are capable of challenging for the FA Cup and the upper reaches of the league this season.
Spurs, if they believe in their many qualities, could finish in the top 4, or possibly even higher if United or Chelsea leave the door slightly ajar. While fans will hope that the vast improvement in recent years will see the club see off expected challengers Arsenal for the final Champions League spot.
Verdict – 4th
The very nature of football makes it unpredictable, however the lessons learnt from Spurs’ matches under Redknapp in recent seasons will guide them to fourth place this year.
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