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Tottenham Hotspur
Posted by Colin McCullough on 04/17/2012

Well, at least Spurs can now concentrate fully on finishing fourth. The "goal that never was" in the FA Cup semi-final has been analyzed, dissected and examined ad nauseam, and it could certainly be argued that it was the turning point in the game. The final score, however, would seem to suggest that a Chelsea victory might well have been the eventual outcome, regardless of the latest glaring error committed by the hapless Martin Atkinson.

Although Spurs pulled a goal back and played well for a spell after they went two-nil down, the players eventually ran out of steam. This seems to have been a recurring theme in recent weeks. While Gallas was shocking against Chelsea and Ledley King's lack of pace was exposed once again, it remains hard to point to obvious reasons why the season has started to go pear-shaped. The notion that the "Harry for England" crusade is behind the downturn in fortunes has been scotched by management and players alike. The players generally appear to be putting in the requisite effort and there's no doubt that the team possesses ability and experience from back to front. And yet - something is missing.

Whatever that elusive ingredient is, it needs to be rediscovered and double quick. Harry Redknapp appears to have some thoughts about where the problem lies:

"I've got to find a team among that group who'll have the nerve, the will power and the desire to get that fourth spot now. We have to go to QPR next week for a tough game and show we can bounce back. It's important. It's a test of character now. They have to show some character."

Nerve. Will Power. Desire. Character. It sounds like a description of Scott Parker (nominated, incidentally, for the Player's Player of the Year award). The implication of Harry's statement, however, is that these qualities are not universally present - at least currently - throughout his squad. Gallas certainly needs an attitude check but it was ever thus in the case of this particular individual. In the same vein, Adebayor showed plenty of fervour at the final whistle against Chelsea, but rather less during the course of the game. Van der Vaart often looks like a wonderful player when Spurs are well on top and somewhat less so when their backs are against the wall. Assou-Ekotto once famously - or infamously - revealed in a newspaper interview that football is "only a job" and "not my passion". Beyond that, is it at all conceivable that the likes of Modric and Bale failed to produce a game-changing performance at Wembley because their heads have been turned by other clubs?

What is for sure is that it will be hard to hold on to these sorts of players if Spurs end the season without a trophy in the cabinet and facing the prospect of Europa League football next season. Five Premier League games to go. Five winnable games. That may well end up being exactly what is required.



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Comments

Posted by simon on 04/17/2012

i think it would be more appropriate to ask ..."is it at all INCONCEIVABLE that the likes of Modric and Bale failed to have their heads turned..."

I think that Ledley King is, finally, over the hill. He has looked off-colour for the back end of the season, and not just because of pace, but he's lost his vision that had made up for his knees. We are really missing Kaboul at CB. Benny, well, he's always blown hot and cold, better the devil you know..?

You are right though. Without Champions League football, Spurs aren't going to be able to keep the side together for next season. If we do get that, hopefully we can build the side rather than replacing departees, which is critically important in progressing the club. Replacing modric 'for like' would be expensive and still probably inferior.

Posted by duane on 04/17/2012

we need to sort out the cbs. we could have got cahill for 15m and said no. then chelsea get him for 7m and he is a rock in both games against us. you cant have king, gallas, neilson, kaboule, bassong at our club. king= two many injs used to be a great player now past it. gallas mind aint in the game no more just not got it in him. neilson= to old, to slow, not good enough for top 4. kaboule= not good enough for top 4, hes heading is good hes markeing is poor. bassong= no where near good enough for top 4 thats why he is on loan to wolves. dawson good back up player. id go for jagjelka and hangerland in the summer and keep dawson as back up maybe even try for samba as well.

Posted by JOHN ADAM on 04/17/2012

Something else missing in the team that could be added to the list above is MENTAL STRENGTH.

Posted by ben on 04/17/2012

GIOVANI DOS SANTOS.....BUT IT IS TOO LATE!

Posted by anthony wade on 04/17/2012

we need to buy at the back, baines from everton get naughton back from norwich to compete with walker caulker from swansea, plus at least 2 more cb's. We also need someone to cover lennon maybe marko marin and 3 good strikers Ba of newcastle Damaio the brazilian and maybe berbatov or rossi from villereal.Keep only defoe. wouldnt be cheap but would really help put us in with a chance of a challenge next season. Brendan Rodgers david moyes or paul lambert as manager.

Posted by SilberSpurs on 04/17/2012

The biggest problem facing Spurs is that Harry hasn't rotated the squad hardly at all, and the players are worn out. You can see it in their play recently; what you might refer to as a lackluster effort to me is just the accumulation of too many minutes on the pitch.
You look at Man U or that other north london club, they rotate and give players different games depending on the opponent.
Harry barely does this. He almost always plays essentially the same XI unless he can't do to injury, and that's a huge reason why spurs are in bad form now in my opinion.

Posted by turbojim on 04/17/2012

Well, what can I say after been keeping quite for 5 months (at least). The same old problem - NO DEPTH in the squad.
Secondly, the England job saga is definitely affecting Harry's mind (even though he denies it). You can see the results lately.
Regarding players - Adebayor is under-performing, the Back 4 is lacking, Midfield is losing steam and etc.
May be the weakness in the strategy has been exposed. Worst, someone sold the games..
The boss really need to break the bank to do better next season or else the exodus of quality players will even rule Spurs out of Europa League qualification the season after next.
Lets say Harry leave for the England job, what next? Is the Swansea cheif good enough? I'll go for Capello, Hoddle or Venebles. But, I do admire Moyes and Roberto Martinez who can maintain with the clubs' limited financial resources.
Man City, MU, Chelsea, Gunners and Magpies shown the best side of their strength. Now what does Spurs has in spare to keep the Top 4 position

Posted by Curtis on 04/17/2012

If you had come to me in the summer and said that we'd be sitting here today tied for fourth with these five matches left, I would have been thrilled.

So I do think a little perspective is in order. I agree with others that center-back has been a problem. The injury to Dawson left us dependent on Kaboul. Having Dawson or Kaboul with King or Gallas has worked quite well, but King and Gallas together just is not athletic enough anymore.

I think 13 points see us safely into fourth and 15 points may well see us into third. Newcastle still have Chelsea and Man City on their card, while Chelsea still have Newcastle, Arsenal, and Liverpool on theirs, not to mention Barcelona twice and Liverpool again.

Right the ship on Saturday at QPR, and then hammer Blackburn at the Lane, and all the talk of panic will be gone, and we will roll back into the Champions' League.

Posted by Desinho on 04/17/2012

I think the problem now is tactics. Somehow, we need to get rid of Modric because he has been terrible lately. Bale needs to stay out on the left flank because he isn't creative enough. Harry has to get his tactics right for these crucial upcoming games. QPR is a game that we can't lose, but 5th place is looking more and more likely this season based on the poor play. Harry got all of his tactics wrong Sunday. Defoe shouldn't have come on. Sandro should have come on instead. Centerbacks are a must in the summer. We've postponed them long enough. Ledley and Gallas should hang up the boots. Their strength and pace just isn't there anymore.

Posted by Ow Kah Leong on 04/18/2012

@SilberSpurs Nail on the head. The squad is thin on quality. And Harry has operated on a shoestring basically not only for a club with UCL ambitions but even for European ambitions. What can you expect when all he splashed was 5m on Parker. Ade was loan, Nielsen free, Saha free. I think we exceeded expectation by finishing 4th, 3rd would out of this world. But I worry this may paper over the issues that need to be fixed.

If Harry does leave, sell Modric and Bale for all you can milk. Clear out King, Gallas, BAE, etc. Bring in Moyes and hand him the cash and build the team. Would Spurs still prosper without Modric and Bale? Yes. While it would be good that they stay, but they must put heart, mind and soul into the club. If not, they should go.

Posted by turbojim on 04/19/2012

As a Spurs fans for 30 years, it's sad the see a great club like this can't go futher than just being 'TOP 4'.
I do thank Harry who brought hope and joy to Spurs when it was at its worse position. Any one of you recall the first match he took charge? That is what I want to see- a team with excellent fighting spirit. Bent,Campbell and guys were great then.
Money seems to 'define' of all destiny, loyalty to team and love of the sport apparently become naive.
Chairman of Spurs is the one who should be responsible of the outcome of any season because the final decision is still his.
Spurs can be a champ for sure if drastic action is taken. But, for goodness sake NOT like Liverpool, please.
Furthermore, youth players development is for long term. Ajax and Southampton are good examples.

Posted by Colin on 04/19/2012

Why does everyone think Assou-Ekotto needs to go? Who cares if it's just a job to him, I think he does it well. Bale has been given too much freedom. If anything he's left BAE out to dry more often this season. His stats might be up but he's killing the shape of the team being all over the place like he is. I don't think we need to get rid of King either, he just can't start anymore simply because he's healthy. He should come off the bench when needed, and we should buy another CB to pair with Kaboul, who I think is good enough for the top 4 (if John Terry is considered good enough, Kaboul certainly is). If he gets a consistent pairing with another CB, He'll look better because the understanding will be there.

Posted by Mike in USA on 04/20/2012

We we RIDICULOUSLY thin at CB. Aside from Kaboul (who's been an absolute workhorse for us this year), I feel like we have a rotating door of older players who are injured half the time. Walker and BAE have been very good all season, but we need reinforcements in the back - really a shame we didn't Samba or Cahil when they were available.

Up front, Bale is killing out width when he comes inside. And Modric belongs in the middle, NOT on the wing. When Lennon is out, PLEASE play Krancjar - he's solid.

Posted by Shelby on 04/21/2012

Every game I watch Tottenham it is the exact same; same players, same plays, same everything. Their opponents know what to expect. Redknapp needs to rotate his players. If he would play the benched players more, they'd be in better form. Redknapp is ruining players careers (both the ones who play and the ones who don't) by refusing to rotate them out. The ones being benched are losing form. The ones playing are having bad stats. Giovani Dos Santos is a good player when he's in form but he's been benched for so long he's begging to lose that form.

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