With Tottenham failing to capitalise on Manchester City’s slip-up at Everton at the weekend in only managing a draw against relegation-threatened Blackpool, Harry Redknapp’s side virtually conceded any hope they had in securing fourth place this season. And it has not just been Manchester City’s form that has helped The Citizens open up a 6-point lead over their North London rivals as Tottenham have been in awful league form of late.
Despite their fantastic run to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League, Spurs have won only once in their last ten League games and have lost to both Blackpool and Chelsea. Although they made a fantastic comeback to draw against local rivals Arsenal, they have drawn a further five games, including against bottom-four sides Wigan, Wolves, Blackpool and West Ham. During the same period, Manchester City have beaten both West Ham and Wigan as they racked up five victories. Whilst they have lost four times, these defeats have come at the hands of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton and they only drew once.
Whilst Spurs have done well away from home, they have struggled at White Hart Lane this season and scored only 28 times. They have also shared the points more than any other team at home with nine draws.
The real threat to Tottenham now is sixth-placed Liverpool who can leapfrog them into fifth with victory over Fulham this evening. And, with crucial games against both Manchester City and Liverpool still to come, Spurs still have much to play for if their domestic season isn’t to be a real disappointment. But why have Tottenham been so disappointing in this season Premiership?
Honourably enough, Redknapp has refused to blame his players instead citing a series of injuries to key players such as Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale as a key motive for Tottenham’s loss of momentum. There is clearly a lack of adequate defensive cover and natural leadership on the pitch in Ledley King’s absence, whilst fans are still uncertain over Heurelho Gomes due to his inconsistency.
Redknapp had initially hoped the ‘unwelcome distraction’ of the Europa League would hinder Manchester City’s league performance and enable Spurs to capitalise. But, having played twelve games in the Champions League themselves, have Tottenham fallen victim to a similar problem?
Admittedly Tottenham have had a phenomenal first campaign in the Champions League but this must not draw attention away from domestic troubles, particularly due to its absence next season. And, if Tottenham are to challenge Manchester City then there is clearly work to be done over the Summer.
Credit must not be taken away from Manchester City as they have developed well as a team and had a productive season. But, with so much money spent and with only a faltering Tottenham team challenging them for fourth, there is still much to be achieved by Roberto Mancini’s side. This has been the third season under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour, but in a similar time period under Roman Abramovich, Chelsea had won the League. Therefore Mancini will surely be grateful for Tottenham’s inconsistency against in gifting Manchester City fourth place.
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