May 26, 2009
A strange sort of season for Spurs came to a subdued end at Liverpool. After the first eight games of the campaign, the fans might have looked ahead to this fixture and imagined the possibility of needing to win it to stave off relegation. The arrival of Harry Redknapp, his reinvigoration of the team, and his signings in the January transfer window ensured that that scenario did not come to pass.
And yet this was a game that did need to be won, if Spurs were to cap a marvelous turnaround in their fortunes with qualification for the Europa League. Admittedly Anfield has not been a happy hunting ground for the club, but even so, the match was played out - on Spurs' part at least - as if it were meaningless. Even the manager described it afterwards as "a typical end of season game".
May 19, 2009
Every team has opponents against whom they always seem to get a result, whatever the circumstances. As far as Spurs are concerned, Man. City have filled that role in recent years, with ten victories for the north London club in the last eleven meetings. City have also been horrible away from Eastlands this season, having won just twice and picking up a meager eleven points in total.
Disappointing to report, then, that this was yet another close-run thing, with Spurs coming out on top thanks to a dubious penalty and a glaring late miss by Benjani. Before the game, it looked like Spurs were lining up in an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and Keane up front. In practice, Keane was deployed on the left hand side of midfield, the position where he ended the game against Everton a week ago. A well-taken penalty aside, he put in yet another ineffective performance, admittedly in an unfamiliar role.
May 12, 2009
Saturday’s game and the good point won at Goodison have, unfortunately, been overshadowed by events off the field. The tragic death of Palacios’ brother, a matter of days after the fatal attack on Defoe’s half-brother, was followed by the arrest of Ledley King. Perhaps the less said about this latest nightclub "incident" the better, but certainly the television images of Spurs’ club captain were not to his credit.
One image that will, however, stay long in the mind is that of poor Wilson Palacios, sitting in the lobby of the team hotel on the morning of the match. Having known for six hours that the body of his kidnapped brother had been found, the young Honduran waited, conscious of not wanting to rouse the manager too early to pass on the dreadful news. As Harry Redknapp himself observed,
May 5, 2009
Spurs kept their hopes of Europa League qualification alive with yet another 1-0 home win, in this case over bottom club West Bromwich Albion. On the face of it, the race for seventh spot looks finely balanced, with Spurs level on points with Man City and Fulham, and just one behind West Ham, the leaders of this four-team "mini league".
Yet while both Fulham and West Ham face a bottom three club as part of their run ins, Spurs have away trips to Goodison and Anfield to come. A top ten finish may be as much as the team can hope for this season.