Tottenham: Against All The Odds!
The World Cup is behind us and the new stadium is still somewhere in front of us. We’ve had issues with injuries and fitness since the start of the season but, despite it all, we’re sitting in the top four in the league, and competing for a Champions League knock-out stage place, a League Cup semi-final place, and an FA Cup (final) place …. having once again reached the third round of the latter competition without any apparent effort! We are currently ahead of the two points a game average in the league that (normally) ensures CL football the following season.
There is still a long way to go but, all things considered, we are doing remarkably well. This season looks like being the most competitive one for years. If any team is going to forge ahead in the title race you would expect it to be City. They are obviously the favourites but, after eleven games, they are still in the sights of four or five other teams below them. Finishing in the top four is going to be an exciting battle! I’m not even going to mention that we are currently above Arsenal and United. Oops.
Spurs have not reached the level of consistency seen over the last three seasons but the results have been just as good. We are not scoring as freely as we would like and we are certainly not defending as well as we did last season or the one before. We tend to lose our defensive shape far more often than we have before, but then, Pochettino is changing the team around much more than he has in the past so the back-line has lacked stability. The result of this is that we are not blowing teams away so easily and many of our games are akin to street-fights. It’s not so pretty to watch but it’s something we need to do to win trophies.
We have pace to burn going forward and the ability to create havoc in most defences so I can only see the ‘goals for statistic’ improving as the season progresses. The defence will improve once Jan returns and some of the players Pochettino has rotated become more experienced in their role.
Pochettino has shown his willingness to rotate the squad members to compete on many fronts. He has also shown his willingness to bring substitutes on a bit earlier because any player needs a bit of time to play himself into a game. In the past this has been my only criticism of our manager.
We have also stopped doing two things that many on VS have criticised Spurs for …. we are getting results against the lower teams we are expected to beat, and we are not dropping so many points in frustrating draws …. in fact we haven’t drawn a game yet. Winning 8, losing 3, and drawing 0, does make a significant difference on the league table in terms of points.
Despite our lack of transfer activity our squad has proved it does have more depth than some supporters suggest. Players returning from injury last season (Lamela, Winks, Rose) and a more experienced Moura and an improved Sissoko, have given the squad greater depth and more options. And that has been crucial.
Irrespective of poor results in the CL I believe our performances were not at all bad. We could easily have won three and drawn one …. but defensive mistakes cost us dearly. That’s how football works.
Analysing our performances in the CL should give us hope for the future …. not convince us that there is no future. At least, as far as the CL goes, it’s not quite over yet.
So it looks to me that, against all the odds, the season is going along nicely. Just my opinion, of course!