Throughout this season, Spurs have had great highs to celebrate about; however there have also been some crushing disappointments in amongst those highs. Altogether we’ve lost 10 games this season but theіr have been 5 defeats especially that have really dented our hopes this season and here they are:
Why does it always happen to Spurs? Start a season with hope, only for it to drizzle away with a few games remaining. We look to blame the finger and eventually the manager gets blamed. But there is only so much one man can do. Has the board finally accepted that they are to blame for the inconsistency and poor signings in recent years? Not really, as poor players are still being signed and sporting director Franco Baldini still has a job. Is there even anyone to blame for this season? No one can solely be blamed, as it is finally being shown to be a club failure. The players aren’t good enough; the board doesn’t seem to be ready to take the blame as of yet. But where does that leave Mauricio Pochettino?
It’s not like he’s doing a bad job. I mean, the team is playing much better than last season, and fitness seems to be improving, but in his defense, there is only so much he can do with players like Paulinho and Erik Lamela. I understand they need to adapt to the style but including Roberto Soldado, the amount that was paid for them, they should be able to at least play well consistently at this level. That is a defense for Pochettino, as not even Jose Mourinho could win anything with these players. He’s implemented his style of play as well as he could to the team, but the consistency levels vary week to week that it must be frustrating for the manager, even more so than for the fans, as he has no choice but to start these players, who we as faithful fans know aren’t that great.
After seeing the reaction to managers such as Andre Villas Boas and Tim Sherwood, its safe to say that Pochettino is getting a fairly easy ride. Yes, some fans want him out, but every club has fans that constantly want change, mainly for the sake of change. Some wanted Frank de Boer, others didn’t. That’s fine, but it’s the Pochettino supports from the beginning that seem to be turning on him, but why? Because we cant finish top 4? Well, it took us 20 plus years of the Premier League to do it one time, so don’t panic if it doesn’t happen straight afterwards.
Would it be best for business to change manager once again? Not when Tottenham have a track record of changing a manager and replacing him with someone who starts off well, finishes the season poorly and gets the boot without affecting the team at all. If Pochettino were to be sacked, the Spurs cycle of “lose, sack, appoint new manager, and repeat” would continue. How does this cycle stop? By the looks of it, until someone comes in and wins everything immediately, it is set to continue. And quite frankly, if that’s how the club will be run, I will struggle to believe that we will ever achieve much under the current regime.
This has been something bugging me since the backlash of the draw against Burnley and loss at home to Aston Villa. Boos were expected at the end of the Villa game, but it made me wonder who is really fully supportive of the current regime.
This could be one of the reasons for Tottenham’s crushing defeat at home to Aston Villa. Certain members of the squad may be suffering from burnout, and are in need of a week or two off.
Burnout results in a low intensity game from the team that is suffering, and this is exactly what we got from Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon. Naming just a few, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Christian Eriksen looked like they were in need of a rest.
So, what is the answer to this problem? Name a different starting eleven. It is as simple as that. However, it not quite as simple as that when you have the likes of Paulinho in your squad.
I don’t mean to be unfair to the lad, but he just hasn’t settled into the Premier League at all and the performance against Burnley summed up his time at Tottenham, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was offloaded somewhere else in the summer transfer window.
Looking at the bench we named against Aston Villa, there wasn’t really anybody that could change the game, and that is something that you are crying out for when you are trailing at home to a side like Villa.
Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and DeAndre Yedlin all came on in the defeat to Villa at the weekend, and hardly made an impact, we just needed that somebody that could turn the game on its head that wasn’t already on the pitch.
Also, we will need to field a very competitive side whatever players we pick, this is key when we are competing in European competitions, as the same players can’t be played twice a week on a regular basis.
So, this summer, I would like to see Paul Mitchell and Mauricio Pochettino sign some talent that can give us some depth in the side, and somebody who can turn a game on its head.
Amongst the disappointment of losing to Aston Villa at home on Saturday there was one moment that shone through, we saw the much-prolonged and anticipated debut of American DeAndre Yedlin.
The Full-Back was signed from the Seattle Sounders last summer, but was then loaned back to complete the MLS season before joining up with Spurs in January. But we hadn’t seen him anywhere near the first-team until Saturday and may fans started to wonder what the logic was in holding him back.
It’s down to clever man-management from Mauricio Pochettino. It’s easy to forget that Yedlin is a 21 Year-Old coming to England and Poch has let Yedlin settle down in the country first before throwing him into the deep end of first team football.
Now after a string of impressive outings for the U21 side, he made his first forte into the first team and should remain there for the rest of the season. Considering that Kyle Walker is out injured and Vlad Chiriches and Eric Dier are having to deputise there it leaves us with a lack of width defensively and a lack of threat going forward on the break.
Starting Yedlin in the remaining six games that we have this season would be beneficial to us and to him. As these games are perfect to settle him in and prepare Yedlin for next season, also it gives us a new dynamic option as he offers a lot going forward with his blistering speed and awareness with the ball.
So there may not be much to play for but there is a lot to learn from some of our players and Yedlin can show a lot of his worth to the Spurs faithful in this final run-in of fixtures and maybe DeAndre can start to make a name for himself in N17.
Tottenham fell to a crushing and disappointing defeat at White Hart Lane at the hands of Aston Villa. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came out second best to Tim Sherwood’s side, who made his return to North London. So, what actually went wrong for the Lilywhites?
Well, where do I start? The performance was lacklustre, full stop. Too many passes failed to reach their intended targets, and what happened to the crossing? Or lack of it, should I say? There was always one needless pass that was made before the ball was delivered, and the ball was actually delivered into the box on very few occasions.
The pace of the game was very much dictated by Spurs, and for me, the pace of the game was far too slow, and the unwillingness to play a long ball forward was very frustrating to watch. It very much reminded me of the AVB days with the slow build-up play, which was also very frustrating to watch.
Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen failed to perform. Now, I am not saying that I have a problem with this, but the sign of a good team is when other players can step forward and perform when the best players don’t, and unfortunately, this isn’t something that happens at Tottenham Hotspur.
Everybody seemed to have an off-day (apart from Danny Rose), and that simply is not good enough. Harry Kane looked like the only man on the pitch that could make something special happen, and got a few shots on goal off. However, the rest of the players simply didn’t perform, and shows that we cannot become too reliant on the likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, because we have just seen what happens when we are.
For me, Mauricio Pochettino made his substitutions way too late in the game for them to have any impact. DeAndre Yedlin for Vlad Chiriches in the 79th minute was not the substitution to make at all from the Argentine coach. If you must make this change, it must be made at half-time or on the hour mark at the very latest. A right-back for right-back was not the right substitution eleven minutes from the end when you are chasing the game and searching for an equaliser.
Eleven minutes is not enough for a substitute to make an impact, it is as simple as that. Erik Lamela played a solid game, and so did Roberto Soldado, who was brought on in the 62nd minute.
Spurs must invest in squad depth during this summer transfer window. Looking at the bench from today, there wasn’t really anybody that could turn the game on its head for us, and that needs to be rectified ahead of next season.
When Tim Sherwood was let go at the end of last season, the general consensus was that the club needed a fresh new face at the helm. The club drew up a shortlist of managers who they felt were capable of leading the club, with Frank de Boer and Mauricio Pochettino top of the list. Whilst de Boer was leading a youthful and exciting Ajax to there 4th Eredivisie title in as many years, Pochettino was guiding a young Southampton to an impressive 8th finish in the Premier League. It left Daniel Levy with a rather difficult task of choosing between the two. The fans were split. Some wanted proven winner de Boer, others wanted the Premier League proven Pochettino.
The club chose Mauricio Pochettino and looked immediately to bring in targets such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana, both of which worked with Pochettino at Southampton, but Spurs failed in their attempts to sing either of them. After a while, the Spurs faithful looked set to be stuck with another “transition” season after missing out on multiple targets and bringing in a backup left back and goalkeeper, two central defenders who were relatively unknown in England and still no striker. I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to this season. Yet again, the club failed to address the issue that had been holding the club back for years, and that was the lack of a top-class striker. Nonetheless, in my typical Spurs fan fashion, I believed we could actually achieve something this season.
When the season started at West Ham away, a lot of the fans wanted to win at all costs, because it was West Ham, never mind the new style the manager brought, or whether Soldado would actually score, or if Lamela played a good game. We won the game 1-0 with a last minute goal from one of the new signings Eric Dier. The month continued to be promising to Tottenham, as wins over AEL Limassol home and away in the Europa League, and a 4-0 home demolition of QPR were the providing the fans with hope, and actually left us top of the table, albeit for a couple of days.
But in typical Spurs fashion, all the hard work had been thrown away after simply being outclassed at home by Liverpool, losing 3-0. This ended up being the start of a huge wake up call for the team, as in the month of September, they only managed to pick up 2 points. One of these points, however, was away at archrivals Arsenal, with a Premier League debut for youth star Ryan Mason, who impressed in the week against Nottingham Forest. Was the emergence of Mason the start of a youth revolution at Spurs? Pochettino was key in the rise of players such as James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers, and maybe one of the key reasons for his appointment was his youth policy. The performances were rather average with a few exceptions, but signs of improvement were there. It was just taking a few months to really show its strength.
You know a tem isn’t performing to its strengths when their fans boo at home. Spurs fans weren’t afraid to show their feelings, and many were starting to doubt whether anything had really changed with the club. They were performing well in the League Cup, but on the league front, they were languishing around mid table and just outside the Europa League positions. Sound familiar? Despite multiple manager changes, the club always seems to end up in this position regardless of the players. Makes you wonder whether it’s the players, or even the manager, or the club in general.
The club went into the winter months not really expecting much, with Arsenal still to play, as well as Chelsea home and away. But this is where the season starts to get fun. Late goals galore all away from home at Hull, Swansea and Aston Villa mirrored what were quite frankly awful performances, and sent the fans home happy. Finally, the fans had a striker they can get behind, someone who can fire them to glory! And he had been at the club the whole time. Harry Kane seized his opportunity with his big Walthemstow hands. After going out to various clubs on loan such as Leyton Orient and Millwall, and after not starting a Premier League game until November, he started firing goals on a consistent basis. I think Spurs fans had forgotten what it was like to have a striker who actually scored on a consistent basis.
As the winter games started piling up, Pochettino managed to get his players ready for the challenge of playing Manchester United at home, followed by Chelsea at home on New Years Day. On that New Years Day game, it was really a performance worthy of any team in the world. The Pochettino style that he made famous at Southampton finally reared its head for all to see, and provided the fans with a moment they can hold onto for a long time yet. Coupled with the Chelsea game, the team had just gotten into the semi final of the Capital One Cup.
Had this team improved? Had the influx on youth helped the squad develop into a force that could be reckoned with for years? All these questions were still to be answered and Pochettino was still being scrutinized for his youth policy. People always compare Tottenham to Arsenal, and in this season, it appeared that the gap was being closed. But again, we have been in this position before, with a better team and much better players. How many years will it take to get close to our rivals? Slowly, as the season dragged along, it appeared that Tottenham had improved massively and had jumped leaps and bounds to get anywhere near the top 4 race, and as the showdown of North London approached, the squad was booming bright with confidence.
On February 7th, at White Hart Lane Tottenham faced Arsenal with the chance to jump into the top 4. I am very proud to say that I managed to take Andrea, my girlfriend, to this game and even she recognized that our team outplayed Arsenal at her own game. Young players, closing down at tremendous pace and passing around the midfield, everything football is meant to be. As Harry Kane soared through the air, you could feel the optimism around the stadium, loving this team and feeling such a connection. They felt the squad was improving, and so did everyone else. Was this really our year? Could we really finish above the old enemy?
Loses away at Liverpool and Manchester United dented our chances of top 4 drastically, which ask the question of has he mentality of the players really changed. The loss in the Capital One Cup final provided the fans with much hope for the future, but Chelsea were there for the taking in that game, and I sat there watching thinking, “were the players happy to just be there?” They seemed to give up after the first goal, which is a “Spursy” characteristic. When the going gets tough, cave in and try not to be embarrassed. That’s how I’ve always remembered it.
I think that the most important thing from this season was that the youth had finally taken over, which will be key during the development of the stadium. When the stadium will be being built, funds for players will be non-existent, similar to what happened to Arsenal in the early years of the Emirates, so the development of this young batch of players will be key to how the squad goes for the future.
Do I believe the team has improved since Pochettino took over? In some ways, yes, but the other areas that haven’t changed run deep in the club and have done for years. The inability to take control of a situation when it really matters is something that has always plagued Tottenham Hotspur for as long as I can remember. I do believe In Pochettino, but when I see Ajax play, I can’t help but wonder if things would’ve been better under Frank de Boer. Unfortunately, de Boer will be taken up by another club, most likely Arsenal (because that’s our luck), and we will be left wondering “what if?” Nevertheless, “In Potch I trust” as the saying goes, and I’m genuinely excited for what the future holds for this club. The future is bright. The future is Lilywhite.
After Harry Kane’s incredible England debut, I think it’s time we considered which players in our current squad have a serious chance of establishing themselves in the England first team and who can help push the national team forward. England have looked good of late (although we all know that doesn’t mean to much) but the question once again is can they do it at a major tournament, and which Spurs players can help them?
Gareth Bale was a hero for Tottenham Hotspur. He played a huge part in our progression in the Champions League, as well as being undoubtedly our star player for a number of years. The chant “Gareth Bale, he was born to play for Spurs” echoed around Premier League grounds each week. But was his move to Real Madrid a move too soon? Some could argue yes, some argue no, but after coming under recent scrutiny for his performances in Madrid’s recent “Galactico” team, it is worth taking a look at whether or not he has proved to be worth his £85million price tag.
We all loved Gareth Bale in his last season, when he scored 26 goals in all competitions, nearly single handily carrying the team into that season Champions League, but it wasn’t quite enough. This was a time when we as fans were spoilt for quality in our team. Finally, Spurs had a squad who were good enough to challenge for anything and reach our expectations. The glory years, the years where Bale excelled under Harry Redknapp, he was in a midfield that featured Rafael Van Der Vaart, Luka Modric and Scott Parker, which was arguably the best in the league at the time. But slowly, that midfield was disbanded, leaving Bale on his own. That season where he scored 26 goals also proved to be his last. Understandably, when Real Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in the world, came in for him his head was turned. Everyone would probably do the same with the chance to win virtually everything in Europe. Who would blame him? Except, he refused to train for the club, and play for the club. This is where it gets difficult for some when hearing that some fans would take him back with arms wide open. This is a man who refused to do anything for the club who gave him his chance, and made him the superstar he is supposed to be, and fans forget this very easily.
His time at Real Madrid hasn’t been what was expected from the Madrid fans, known as Madristas in Spain. For a player who cost a world record fee of £85 million, it was expected he would reach the heights of Cristiano Ronaldo, which we know is nearly impossible to replicate, unless your name is Lionel Messi of course. Despite the expectations, he reached 22 goals in his first season, scoring in the Champions League final, the Copa Del Rey final, and the Club World Cup final which is impressive for anyone, but there is one thing that slips people’s minds when mentioning his Champions League goal. He was shocking for the whole game. He missed multiple 1-one-1’s, gave the ball away on several occasions and was kept relatively quiet by Juanfran of Atheltico Madrid. This performance placed seeds of doubt in the mind of the Madrid fans, and they started to doubt whether he was living up to his price tag. This is where it starts to get interesting.
This season Bale hasn’t exactly progressed like many thought he would. With 16 goals to his name, many of the media in Spain have started to question his ability and his worth to the team. “Marca”, who follow every move of Real Madrid even at the training ground to see how many shots are off target and on target, have started to scrutinise every performance to the finest detail of Bale in a Madrid shirt. For some, this may be unfair, or even nit-picking, but for £85 million, it’s almost expected. Ronaldo had the same scrutiny but passed the test, and Luka Modric, another Spurs hero eventually passed the test after being voted ‘the worst signing in La Liga history” by Marca readers. Will Bale past the test? Will he be given any more time or chances from the Madristas? If you believe the papers, then the answer is no.
The rumours linking Gareth Bale back to the Premier League is as rampant as every lately, and some reactions from Spurs fans sparked a thought in my brain. Would the club take back someone who refused to play or train for the club? Yes, he is a top class player and would easily improve the team, but is that valued over loyalty. Now, don’t get me wrong, if Bale turns up at the gates of White Hart Lane and begged Daniel Levy to join, i’d probably be set for that. But I couldn’t help but wonder where it would leave the club if they almost accept that they are the back up option. What would the majority of Spurs fans do? Would you take him back? Or let him slip to another team?
Does this show that Bale isn’t quite as good as everyone thought, or just a unfortunate move? His quality is there for all to see, but he isn’t world class or in the level just below it, with the likes of James Rodriguez or Zlatan Ibrahimovic just beating him in that level. So would we as Tottenham fans be ready to forget the past and forget the disloyalty and take back a player who couldn’t quite cut it at the very top level, or let him slip to a rival like Manchester United or anyone else? Just a thought.
There have been many ideas and strategies that Mauricio Pochettino has implemented into the Tottenham team throughout the season, but there has been one aspect of the club that he has transformed since the start of August when he took over as boss.
Tim Sherwood can claim as much as he likes that he left a legacy at Tottenham, but without Mauricio Pochettino, the amount of young players playing in the first team would be nowhere near as high.
Pochettino sent out a signal of intent back at the beginning of August when he signed young Eric Dier from Portuguese outfit, Sporting Lisbon. Aged at just 20 years of age at the time, Pochettino showed us all exactly what he wanted to do at Spurs.
Then came the inclusion of Harry Kane. His cup goals helped us considerably outside of the Premier League, and despite a lot of media pressure, the Argentine coach continued to play Kane solely in cup competitions, keeping him away from the Premier League.
Rather than rushing him in at the deep end playing in the league every week, it wasn’t until November that Harry Kane started to earn an extended run in the Premier League, after scoring a free-kick in the dying seconds to win the game at Villa Park, Kane made his first league start of the season in the next game against Stoke. You know the rest, Kane has become the top scorer in the Premier League, and has earned himself a call-up to the England national squad under Roy Hodgson.
Next comes the success of Ryan Mason. Like Harry Kane, Mason made his breakthrough in the cup competitions, scoring a wonder goal against Nottingham Forest in the Capital One Cup, and what a week it was for the young midfielder, the next thing he knew, he was standing on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium, playing in his first North London derby. Mason has gone from strength to strength this season, and has also earned his first England call-up this week.
These are just two of the youth successes that Tottenham have had under Mauricio Pochettino this season. Eric Dier has turned out to be a very calm and composed centre-back, and has earned himself and extended stay in the starting eleven ahead of Federico Fazio alongside Belgian Jan Vertonghen.
Nabil Bentaleb has grown a lot as a player this term, and has learned how to boss the midfield, and now pulls the strings for Spurs in that position. The improvement we have seen from Danny Rose has been exceptional, and you have to say that many Spurs fans have changed their opinion on the young left-back. You only have to look back at the reaction to Rose’s new contract to see evidence of this.
Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend have also earned a call-up to the England squad. Although not on current form, both of these players deserve a place in Roy Hodgson’s latest squad.
Why are we so surprised that this has happened? Pochettino did exactly the same thing at Southampton, and look where he took them with youth players.
The fact is that the future is looking very bright for Spurs in terms of the youth of the team. We have seen what Pochettino can do after just nine months in charge, but what can he do in three years? Five years? Only time will tell.
This Sunday, Spurs travel up north to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United team fresh off the back of crashing out of the FA Cup after losing 1-2 against our arch-rivals Arsenal, whilst Spurs are coming off a tremendous victory away at QPR. Goals from Harry Kane secured the victory for us, and the recent performances from Nabil Bentaleb provide fans with hope of having the first complete midfielder since Luka Modric or Scott Parker.
Tottenham go into this game full of confidence of knowing that a win this weekend will make it three wins in three years at Old Trafford, a feat not achieved for many years, whilst victories against Arsenal and Chelsea this season fuel hope that the rather good record against the big clubs can continue this season. United haven’t been at the races in terms of performance this season, but Louis Van Gaal’s team have apparently found a way to win vital games without playing fantastic, a key part to a sides place into the top four, a trait Tottenham are starting to pick up gradually throughout the season.