Monday 11th November 2013.
What is going so wrong at White Hart Lane?
We sit 7th in the League after 11 games with 20 points, 5 points off Arsenal at the top. We have played 3 teams in the top 8, gaining 2 points, a draw to Everton and Chelsea, and loss to Arsenal. We are not in a dreadful position, but it could be much, much better. The stand out defeats are to West Ham at Home and Newcastle at Home, two teams which we should have beaten, no doubt about that, we have the better team on paper and their form was nothing of a concern; particularly West Ham. With wins against those teams, we would have been top of the league, you can see why they are so frustrating, of course they happen from time to time, but two defeats like this in 11 games is extremely disappointing, if we want to aim for the top.
Most of our Summer signings have not hit the ground running like we’d hoped for, the sale of Gareth Bale hurt us deeply, something we could see coming but thought we could do enough to keep him. If Bale had to leave, serious reinvestments had to be made, and they happened, we signed seven international level players who had been key players for their retrospective teams, every single one. What we had hoped for is them to continue to be a ‘main man’ for Spurs as they had been for previous clubs. They need time, and we have to be patient with them, especially players as young as Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, they need time to adapt, and they are starting to do that. Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Etienne Capoue have impressed with Nacer Chadli not having enough game time to judge, but Roberto Soldado has disappointed, we can sugar coat it as much as you want but he has to do more for an experienced striker who has proved himself at Champions League level and international level, although his service has been appalling.
We aren’t scoring enough. 9 goals in 11 Premier League games is simply unacceptable, especially as 3 of them were from the penalty spot. Our offensive play hasn’t clicked and our build up play is too slow, it’s not the Tottenham way, we were grown on attacking and exciting football, that’s the way we’ve played since we were founded back in 1882, it’s our philosophy. Playing with two inverted wingers is not the way to go forward, it hasn’t clicked and it is starving Soldado of chances, it needs to change and AVB needs to see that now. Yes, defensively we have been supreme, but we can’t be too cautious when a team like West Ham comes to the Lane, we need to use attack as our best form of defence in those sort of games in my eyes. ‘The game is about Glory, about doing things with a flourish’
Away is the new home for Tottenham Hotspur, a complete opposite of previous years; winning at home was a foregone conclusion while winning away was something of a luxury. We need to win our home games and make White Hart Lane a fortress again, AVB has blamed the fans, Dembele has blamed the size of the pitch, while Spurs fans blame AVB. What is the problem? Why do we find it so difficult at home, especially against the so called ‘smaller’ teams? It’s a mixture, the fans creating a negative atmosphere with too many moaners and groaners instead of singers and cheerers, there is no doubt home support helps, it gives that extra push to the players and we need to create that, we are responsible. The pitch is probably a silly excuse, we’ve played our football there for hundreds of years and scored goals and won games, although it’s the second smallest in the Premier League, it’s not a legitimate excuse to lose 3-0 to West Ham. The big problem I think is how difficult we find it to break teams down, the teams lower down set up to stop us, with 11 men behind the ball defending for their lives, so it’s going to be difficult, and will need players with creativity to find a way; I don’t like the football the teams play to win or draw the game, but if it’s how you beat us then they are going to use it.
It’s time to unleash Lamela into the Premier League, I really believe he could help a lot with creating and scoring goals; he has that raw ability to run a make something happen and create things for the strikers, while chipping in with a few himself, why won’t AVB let him at it, especially after the sort of performance he produced against FC Sheriff!? Andros Townsend shouldn’t play on the right hand side, that should be Lamela’s spot, with Townsend on the left. Townsend should play like an ‘early Bale’, getting to the byline and getting dangerous crosses into the box, he can use his right foot and cut in, but he can produce dangerous crosses, and I’d prefer he’d do it with his favoured foot. Upfront I think Soldado is the man, despite his poor start he is a player who given chances to put away, he can duly deliver, he can also bring others into play, unlike Defoe, only Adebayor can do that better; he’s a goal scorer, give him the conditions in which to score André!!
Andre Villas Boas is a great manager, who I believe in to take us to the top, he has the potential to get this spot on, but that needs to happen soon, otherwise there will be pressure on him. The obvious need for goals is one that needs to be addressed, if we click offensively, and stay solid defensively, we could be on to something special and challenge for trophies and the top four at least, but time is running out, we can’t be left behind and continue to lose ground in such a tight race. COYS!!