Not so long ago Spurs had (arguably) the least generous defence in the PL. It gave little away, maintained its shape and focus with relative ease, and contributed to a very healthy Goal Difference statistic.
Not so long ago Spurs had a midfield that was able to confidently retain possession and dominate most games, both home and away, with a useful degree of creativity.
Not so long ago Spurs had a forward line that was full of running and flexibility, and goals were regularly the final product.
That was all ‘not so long ago’ …. but what does it all look like now?
The unity that defined our back-line is not quite as solid and reliable. There is more hesitation in our play and less confidence. The combined midfield tasks of defence and attack are less successful. Our possession and use of the ball is somewhat more laboured and less creative. The players are not finding each other with the almost uncanny ease that they have in recent seasons. The fluidity and speed of movement has lessened. This all sounds like Spurs are going backwards, but if this is the case, why?
In this instance of time the answer seems to be ‘yes’. The reality is that we no longer have the same squad as not-so-long-ago. We have new additions to the squad that have cost a vast amount of money (relatively) and they have not yet been bedded into the team. Until that happens we cannot assess the capabilities of the team with any authority.
Every football club is constantly evolving, which often means two steps forward and one step back. It seems to me that we are currently experiencing a temporary backward step with, hopefully, a giant leap forward in the near future.
It is difficult for any club to achieve and maintain the balance of a tight defence, creative midfield and potent attack required for sustained success on the park. Not so long ago we were very close, but a lack of success in the various competitions suggest we were not quite close enough. Players leave, players arrive, players age, players get injured, and players lose form …. all contribute to the difficulty of a club developing and maintaining a push toward the ‘glory’ we all crave. And we are experiencing all of these difficulties in varying degrees at the moment. But they are not insurmountable difficulties.
Personally, when I look at the current Spurs squad, I am optimistic for the future. How could anyone not be? We do have an attack that has the potential to devastate the opposition. We do have creativity in midfield and we do have a defence that is more than capable of doing the required job. And although this is not happening at the moment to the extent it happened quite recently, we do have the potential to connect all of this into a team unit that will deliver the flowing football that defines our club and for which we are known.
Everything to do with the product that is THFC looks healthy. Unfortunately, as so often for all clubs, it is a matter of time. ‘Not-so-long-ago’ no longer matters. The past is irrelevant. What now matters is what lies ahead. All we can do is exercise some patience and enjoy the ride …. the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, it worked for Clint Eastwood!