Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Season Review - Tottenham Hotspur. Part Two.

Continuing our new series of articles reviewing the past season's fortunes of teams from across the footballing world, here's the second and final part of Guest Writer Lewis Buckler's Season Review on his team Tottenham Hotspur.
By Lewis Buckler @YidoBuckler
Luka Modric continues to be a key part of the Tottenham side.
The league campaign didn’t really have the same glitz and glamour as the wonderful run in the Champions League Tottenham endured. 

The highlight has to be coming from 2-0 down away against Arsenal to win 3-2, the 1st win at the Emirates Stadium and the 1st win away at Arsenal since 1993. It looked bleak when Nasri and Chamakh had put Arsenal 2-0 up within 20 minutes and they threatened to run riot. A half time switch from Redknapp changed things. Spurs were full of energy and running when an early Bale goal got them back in it. Fabregas conceded a needless penalty, confidently buried by the dutch master Van Der Vaart. Game on. The key moment came when Bale was cynically scythed down just inside the Arsenal half. The free-kick was swung in, Younes Kaboul, of all people, got up highest to glance a header into the far corner. Pure elation from the 3,000 Spurs fans inside the Emirates. This victory was probably sweeter for William Gallas more so than anybody else in the Tottenham line-up, especially as he was controversially made captain for this match.

Younes Kaboul celebrates his winner against Arsenal.
Eventually, Tottenham finished with 8 defeats in the league, the same as Arsenal and actually less than Chelsea and Manchester City, both of whom eventually finished above Spurs. The downfall of this side was the lack of a potent goal scorer and too many draws, especially at home. There were other bright spots in this season, including a 2-0 win at Anfield in May against an in-form Liverpool side. This result, coupled with the away win at Arsenal, could suggest the tide is turning after such a long run without an away win against any of the ‘SKY4’ teams. This was the stand out result in what was ultimately a poor 2nd half of the season. 

Up until Christmas, Harry Redknapp’s claim that his team could win the title didn’t seem that far-fetched after all. The Champions League though, despite the brilliant run, ended up being more of a hindrance to Spurs than a help. The squad seemed to lose form in the league matches during the latter stages of the Champions League which cost them the chance to return to the competition next season. I saw a different side to Tottenham at times this season, signs of a mature Tottenham. I’m used to the na├»ve Tottenham who would go out all guns blazing and get ripped to shreds at the back. On many away days we played a controlled, intelligent game and came away with victories. This was our most successful season away from home in the Premier League, picking up 26 points. Only Manchester City (28) and Arsenal (31) picked up more.

Harry Redknapp believes Spurs are capable of pushing
 for the Premier League title.
It is hard to sum up whether the season for Tottenham could be deemed as a success or a failure. High points and low points aplenty, the aim for most fans would have been to finish in the top 4 and establish the side amongst Europe’s elite. But 5th position and a run which defied the odds in the Champions League will be difficult for Tottenham to top in coming seasons. It is important that the club can keep the nucleus of the squad together for any chance of future success. Selling the likes of Modric, Bale & Van Der Vaart would obviously weaken this team and hence weaken any chance of at least competing for the Premier League title in coming seasons. Keeping these players at the club whilst fine tuning the squad with the quality that is needed to take us up that one more level alongside the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea could see Tottenham challenge for the title in the next season or two. It is a pivotal transfer window for the future of the club. I will keep believing though. Some of the stats provided show we really are not that far away from the likes of Manchester Utd and Chelsea. The gap is closing.

The future is bright, the future is lilywhite.

Up the Spurs!

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