Tottenham Hotspur: Can They Do It This Time?
Tottenham is a club trying to dwell on their unprecedented success in the previous season and hoping to prove a point this time starts with a barren draw in their first match on home ground. Everyone will agree this is BAD.
But consider the fact that they created 21 chances to fire shots on the goal and still failed to score. This surely is WORSE.
Then comes the first European match in last 50 years where they face the easiest side, at least on paper, and goes down 0-3 in the first 35 minutes. This is the WORST.
Yeah, Tottenham Hotspur started the season in the worst possible way. After finishing ahead of big spending Manchester City last season it was the time to say with a bang that they belong to top class of the Premier League. An intelligent coach, a young squad with everyone dwelling on their success of last year and trying to better it, and an innovative sponsorship deal to earn more money, this was going to be the season of the spurs. But in four days all the hopes were grounded, thud.
The match against Manchester City reminds against about the selective goal scoring prowess of the Tottenham players. On a good day there will be goals galore, and on another they are shy of the net. Peter Crouch was never looking like he wanted to score a goal, Jermaine Defoe missed from positions from where he would surely score goals on any other day, Roman Pavlyuchenko, as usual was in a shooting position number of times in his short appearance but failed to score, Gareth Bale missed an open post. When everyone seems to be in a competition to miss goals the team cannot win for sure.
In the second match of the season, the Champions League qualifiers against a certain Young Boys Bern, the north London boys started horribly. When the Swedish side hit the post at the 4th minute, everyone thought it was just the beginning and they will surely start to dominate after a few moments. Even after the goal at 5th minute nothing much had changed. But in the next half an hour, the Young Boys taught them a lesson on the game when the defence was torn apart by two beautifully played through balls.
Though Tottenham recovered well scoring two vital away goals and reducing the margin to just one, the alarm bells must ring in the mind of Harry Redknapp. The opponents they are going to face in the Champions’ League group stage, given that they qualify, will not be any easier than this in any case. Same is the case in the Premier League, at least the teams they are going to challenge.
Now let’s have a look where the problem was. If we look at the last years’ team, it was Luka Modric who led the team from front. Playing with a cool mind and finding the net occasionally, he became what Fabregas is to Arsenal and Xavi is to Barcelona. But in these two games Modric could not perform up to the expectations and the team suffered.
So much so, Modric had to be substituted after the first half in Bern. The defence line of Dawson and Bassong, which looked solid last year, was suddenly the weak point of the team. Leaving a lot of space behind, the Spurs defence looked like lacking a leader. But with Woodgate injured and Ledley King so much prone to injury, this is the pair who will protect Gomes’ goal most time this season.
With Defoe, Keane, Pavlyuchenko all continuing their missing spree, the need of a goalscoring striker looked imminent after these two matches. Especially when the wingers are Giovanni Dos Santos and Gareth Bale, who are not very efficient in scoring goals, there is a need of a player who can convert the chances created for him.
Left Back Benoit Assou Ekotto is one of the most unpredictable player in the team. On a day he can be dangerous with his blistering runs along the left flank and great defensive tackles, and on the other he may be invisible on the ground. With in-form Gareth Bale ready to take the defensive duty when needed, this is not a big problem as of now.
However, in spite of a bad start, everything is not lost for Tottenham Hotspurs. A draw in the first match doesn’t spell an end of the premier league campaign, and a 2-3 loss away also gives a lot of chances to recover. The pre-season has shown that the young players like Naughton, Dani Rose are good and can cover up whenever needed. Giovani Dos Santos is also fitting with the team well after a good world cup. After three seasons where he was declared misfit to the squad and was loaned out, this time the skilled winger his showing the flashes of his brilliance and hopefully will give Aaron Lennon a tough fight for the place on the right wing.
Huddlestone is doing well to take the control of the midfield, especially in the Young Boys match where the team was down 0-3. With Wilson Palacios and newly signed youngster from Internacional, Sandro, also being in the team, holding midfield looks problem-free. However, the problem seems to remain in the goalscoring department. The attacking line of Defoe, Crouch, Pavlyuchenko, Keane is not able to convert the threats that the midfield is creating into goals. If Radknapp is able to sign Luis Fabiano from Sevilla and offload Robbie Keane if needed, then Tottanham Hotspurs is going to challenge the other big guns for a place in the top four of the Premier League.