Date: 3rd September 2019 at 7:30pm
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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!

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77 Replies to “Not So Long Ago At Spurs ….”

  • The simple fact is some of our players no longer wish to play for us. That not only impacts on their level of performance but affects the rest. The only way to solve this is to move those players on, unfortunately that’s proving hard to do. Its the first time we’ve had this problem and I’m not really sure how you solve it except for letting their contracts run out which will obviously cost money but may be unavoidable.

  • TQ….very true in your last post.

    jod….your post is as you say “the simple fact”, the sooner its all sorted the better for everyone. COYS

  • TQ.. you have said some good points. Same as I have mentioned on recent threads. We are outnumbered in the box by opposition defenders, 6 or 7 to spurs 2 or 3 in Newcastle game, or indeed villa and other bus parking teams. This bus parking is used as teams know we don’t have the player movement like City & Pool. which is so annoying, as we have sonny & Moura, to make fast wide / runs take measured shots and eriksen , lo celso dele tanguy to find them running, / make runs / shots of their own. Harry needs to be in CF position in these attacks, pick up deflections (see villa game) and shoot instantly when he can.

  • Geofspurs….I’ve just read your post regards shooting, so true! but it isn’t just the midfield, even “our Arry” seems more reluctant to shoot these days, Son tries to hard to get into a position to shoot and has become a little predictable, as you say shoot into a packed penalty area and anything can happen, but for that to happen the majority of our shots have to be at least on target, which unfortunately when we do actually shoot they are not. COYS

  • A fantastic article Geofspurs. On the face of it we have a fantastic squad, maybe with the exception of the full backs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though everyone is pulling in the same direction. If there are players looking to leave that can only have a negative impact on the whole squad and it makes Poch’s job really difficult. It is clear that Eriksen wants to leave (should we play him as he is our best creative player). Rose and Toby would also leave if a decent offer came in. Personally, I think that if a player has expressed a desire to leave and will not sign a new contract then we should attempt to sell them (not always easy – we cannot force clubs to buy our players).
    I think we are paying the price for historically low salaries that we have paid. This is not any ones fault, we simply did not have the income to pay the salaries that other top six clubs pay. We were also building and we still have to pay for the best stadium in the world (I have been there nine times and it still takes my breath away).
    Our salaries now appear to be rising and hopefully we will not have the same issue again.
    Looking forward to the international break ending – hopefully we will have a full squad to pick from – and the quality of our play will improve COYS

  • Jod while you say some players dont want to play for us, I assume you mean Eriksen / toby, poss. rose? Is very close to the truth. Unfortunately Levy did not give them new contracts,( especiallly Eriksen) when he did with Sonny & Dele / Harry, this is when the bad feelings started. Now we are suffering the fate of those actions, sad but there it is.

  • jod …. Saying some players do not want to play for us does not necessarily equate to some players are not giving the best they can. That is a sweeping statement that could well be doing them an injustice. It is far from a ‘simple fact’ …. in my opinion of course.

  • Some on views on here disagree with jod’s post, fair enough, me I do not, disruption is being caused in the dressing room.

    Block…. you said “this is when the bad feelings started” again fair enough, but I ask if the players concerned got disgruntled, why didn’t they go and ask why not them? as I have said many times before nobody forces anybody to sign a contract, as is being proven now, again why sign the contract’s they are running down now if they were not happy with them at the time. Simple questions. COYS

  • PY… while you say players should have asked why not me?…. how do we know they didn’t ? Did Levy say you signed a contract get on with it.. Your agent is a pain to deal with? We will talk in 2 yrs time ?

    From my ITK (he also knows / plays golf with a players & mangers agent)….. it is mentioned spurs have a good bonus contract based on performances… Like in many occupations a high basic salary may not mean high bonuses on the companies profit earnings that individual brings in… In football image rights etc. are add ons to any contract, Dybala’s transfer is a good example of how difficult these negotiations are.

  • block 108…..thanks for replying, to be perfectly honest your answer is as I expected, all you said is probably very true, so if what you say is true then as others have said its back to DL, but for the life of me why accept contracts if you think/know your worth more? I think the best thing for me is to give up lol! COYS

  • PY.. players sign contracts when they are young (20 21 etc.) so a sharp operator like levy puts them on say 5 years deal, then increases the contract terms as they get better players and their transfer values go up !. So after 4 years they are looking for top money. Remember Levy & Joe are jewish and usually dont pay top money if they can get away with it.. Hence THFC is a well run and financially stable club.

  • Verts and Toby are getting older but neither was ever blessed with great pace but I take the point and think it’s worth reflecting on, the main problem though I think is full-back – we had Walker and Rose in their pomp and then there was also Dembele in CM running things. Rose is nowhere near his best, Walker is gone and so is Dembele. We now have N’Dombele to replace Dembele and most probably Sessegnon to replace Rose but we’ll still need a replacement for Walker – not so sure Foyth (attacking wise) or KWP (too lightweight defensively) are the answer. That said N’Dombele and Sessegnon need to settle and show their worth whilst I think January could be time to move for a quality RB (I see we’re being linked with Steven Sessegnon already – time will tell if he’s good enough and if he also arrives but can’t see a deal here until next summer at the earliest so we may be in for a wait if he’s to be the answer). Also club morale is questionable at the moment with the rebels whereas a few years back everybody was focused on progressing – we’ve done that but now need to take the final hurdle and actually start winning things – the hardest hurdle to clear but that’s how it is – hopefully the squad with a bit of tweaking here or there as necessary can prove it’s worthy.

  • EJ …. The other thing is that for a few seasons Spurs have been on the rise. The players have enjoyed great results, a higher profile, and a belief that success will come. Now that scenario is being slightly shaken, so much will now depend on the character of the players to ‘dig in’ both mentally and physically. It’s a challenge but if MP can get them all focused and playing the way we know they can as a team, the push for success will continue in earnest.

  • Geof – great post. I’m excited by the squad – just a bit cautious about RB situation – you’re only as strong as your weak link and RB is surely our’s. I want to see what Foyth can do there, then want to see Sess hopefully get a run at LB and also how the partnership in CM develops between SIssoko and even WInks with N’Dombele. Also want to see Eriksen and Lo Celso in tandem with Sonny and HK10 especially but also Dele and Lucas.

  • Block 108….your post yesterday at 5.28pm, so bloody true HaHa!

    Like a few others I am also excited by the squad, but not as cautious about the RB situation, generally I trust in Poch who will see more than we do, esp’ when he gets the few conundrums/team selections we have at the mo sorted out. As Geofspurs says “questions will be answered soon and that we will have a better take on where we stand. COYS

  • Just thinking that maybe our quest for a trophy especially getting as far as possible in the CL may cost us in the Prem – it almost did last season as we were successful in getting to the final of the CL but had to rely on early season form to finish top 4 as we stumbled across the line from a long way out – is the squad strong enough to put up a fight on all 4 fronts? At the back we keep leaking goals – I’ve already mentioned the RB situation but also potentially the LB if Sess is to play there – he’ll need bedding in. Technically as Poch has said our 2nd main striker is Parrott whose an un-tried 17 year old. It’s not an ideal situation, far from it – look at City and especially Liverpool and how settled their squad’s are and how big – the results speak for themselves. Last season we also got to the semi’s of the EFL and crashed out early of the FA Cup – the mass of games coming thick and fast and not being able to line up the weekend match properly may cost us dear in the Prem but also as a knock on effect the cup games aswell – TRYING too damn hard could actually be counter-productive! City showed last season that quality and quantity are both required in equal measure’s to win big as they did – Liverpool similar. Not sure if we shouldn’t prioritise Prem over everything but then there’s the CL and all it’s money and then there’s domestic trophies and the taste of some glory and gaining a winning mentality – it’s a hard one IMHO. City had to settle for the treble and Liverpool had to settle for the CL, neither could come close to winning everything even with their vast squad’s of quality so I’m wondering if we shouldn’t prioritise 1 over the other and see how it goes – either Prem or the cup’s instead of trying to fight on all fronts and falling way short especially in what could be a transitional season with the contract rebels possibly wanting out and the new signings needing bedding in not to mention players having to acclimatise to new position’s Foyth/KWP being 1 example.

  • Just because I’m excited at the general quality of our squad as I think it’s the best in the 30 year’s that I’ve been a supporter does not mean glory is anywhere near guaranteed. As Frank correctly stated this is not fantasy football – it’s real football and as a few have also stated Poch needs to bring all on side and get the most out of each and everyone of them. It does of course depend also on views of success – success could be categorised as playing good exciting footy without winning anything (Wolves even Spurs), a top 4 spot and CL qualification meaning getting to play against some of the best team’s in Europe and maybe sign and watch some top players (Spurs amongst others) could also be categorised as success and then there’s traditional success ACTUALLY WINNING something lol! As a fan I think we’ve been successful (as a share-holder also – I’m up 250%) as we’ve played some decent stuff, we’ve got top 4 – 4 years in a row now, had title and cup challenge’s and now have some real quality players in the squad. That said, as originally stated this is not fantasy football – it’s real football and we’re still to win anything in terms of trophies and I wonder if this season as a potentially transitional one whether we shouldn’t just prioritise top 4 again over everything else – especially with stadium costs still in the early days of being financed?! THAT having been said – this could be our last season with the contract rebels Toby, Verts, Chris, etc and even if it is transitional if it ain’t our best chance yet of winning something?! So maybe we should prioritise the cup’s or everything and go out in a blaze of glory style and put strongest team out for everything?! A lot of speculation I know but it’s all well and good speaking in hindsight, but what about speaking in earnest and being of a balanced opinion?!

  • Predicting what we want as supporters, for the future of our club, is always pretty much a game of fantasy football, EJ.

    Personally, I look forward to watching us play great and entertaining football that gets us a win. That’s what I want from every match we pay, in every competition. Realistically, this doesn’t and won’t happen.

    For over 50 years now I have wanted Spurs to win, first; the old Division 1 and then the PL. I wanted us to win the European Cup and now it’s the CL. So far this has all proved to be fantasy.

    If we want to be truly realistic about every match we play, in every competition, then; Simply, we will win, draw or lose.

    So, here’s a prediction for first of all Palace and then every other match we play this season. We will W, L or Draw in them all! Scoring and conceding a few goals along the way. There will be some injuries. There will be misplaced passes. Some yellow cards (for and against) and maybe a red or two. Some good luck. Some bad luck. Supporters will moan. Supporters will praise. Spurs may or may not win a trophy. Blah, blah, blah…

    How’s that for Balance? How’s this?

    THFC 6-0 CPFC!

    By the way… Does anyone think Pochettino has maybe taken us as far as he can? Is it time for a new guy, with fresh ideas? Or shall I expect no opinions on this at all and just continue to talk to myself in a most random fashion? ……….

    Spurs 7-0 Palace! Why not?

    Or, nil, nil. Three all? 2-2? Anyone have a clue?

    Anyone really care?

  • Here’s another question that I rarely get an answer to. At the end of the season, is it to be considered a successful one if we do win a trophy (any trophy) but finish outside of the PL top 4?

    What I know is that folks will go nuts if anytime after Christmas we look to be out of the top 4 race. But they will love it it if we then win the FA cup. But is this good enough? It used to be…

    Personally, this is why I have to just enjoy each match as it comes. (Or not). Worrying about winning trophies will just get in the way of that. After all, winning the FA cup or even the CL trophy comes right at the end of it all… Which is why I ask this question in the first place. How can we enjoy a season that sees us as being rubbish in one competition, the PL. And yet win in another?

    And please don’t say, “I want both the top 4 and a cup”. We all want that, don’t we?

    Perhaps we should want everything but expect nothing. It’s just football, after all…. Just a bunch of vastly overpaid Prima Donnas kicking a ball about! And that ain’t like real life is it? For the vast majority of us this is just pure fantasy… “£200k a week for just playing football, young Harry?” “Get a life and get a real job, you dreamer, you!” I can hear the parents say…

    Spurs 8-0 Palace!

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