If the season ended on something less than a high at White Hart Lane, it was more to do with the visitors than with the hosts. A win would have kept Birmingham in the Premier League and yet they never looked like getting it. Whether that was down more to ineptitude than a lack of ambition is hard to gauge, but it's probably safe to say that they will not be much missed by the neutrals. True to form, the only team that has failed to average even a single goal a game this season exited the Premier League with a whimper.
Spurs, on the other hand, were ambitious from the start, knowing that a win would guarantee fifth place and avoidance of qualification (and an early start) for the Europa League through the fair play system. Pavlyuchenko scored two fine goals, illustrating once again that he has the ability, if not always the application. Other bright spots in the game included the contribution of Danny Rose along with those of - almost inevitably - both Sandro and Modric. The latter has been named player of the year by the Spurs fans, showing that they are perhaps somewhat more discerning than the members of the PFA. Hopefully that award will help persuade Modric that his future remains with Tottenham, although in truth this exceptional footballer does not appear to require much convincing.
Jermain Defoe, by contrast, has expressed his dissatisfaction at the club and received short shrift from his manager in return:
"He hasn't played well enough to play regularly, that's the top and bottom of it. There is no other reason. No one has more faith in him than I do. He is a fantastic player but his form this year has not been anywhere near it has been in the past. He has to let the football do the talking really on the pitch. If he does it on the pitch then I will pick him."
A number of Defoe's compatriots have suffered a similar loss of form at various points in the season, including Crouch, Palacios and, most notably in recent weeks, Heurelho Gomes. The early erratic displays had seemed to have been consigned to the past, but the goalkeeper has managed to reawaken some bad memories with his costly errors against Blackpool and Chelsea. There is now talk that Gomes would welcome a return to PSV and certainly there is a section of the Spurs support who would be glad to wave him goodbye.
Carlo Cudicini has just signed a one-year extension to his contract but it seems unlikely that he would be elevated to the number one spot. Consequently, Spurs have been linked with a number of keepers, including Brad Friedel and Shay Given, either of whom would fit the bill. A slightly less safe pair of hands has also been mentioned and was on view at the Lane in the concluding fixture. Ben Foster has had an outstanding season but he also has a history of high profile gaffes. It's hard for the Spurs fans to forget the image of Paul Robinson's free kick bouncing over his head and into the Watford net in 2007. Robinson himself is, of course, still plying his trade in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and if this outstanding goalkeeper had never been sold in the first place, then Spurs might not be facing their current dilemma.
Whether Gomes stays or goes, there will undoubtedly be changes in the summer. They need to be carefully thought through - in terms of both players in and players out - if Spurs are to reclaim a place in the top four in season 2011/12.
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