There have been questions over Tottenham Hotspur over the last few weeks. With a healthy league position and an abundance of talent new and old, it all looked promising in the fledgling Premier League with some even pegging Spurs as potential championship contenders. More recently, hindsight has unveiled some worrying statistics, and results against their potential Champions League peers have been less than encouraging.
Tottenham haven’t been short of a penny or two over the last few years and with the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for an ungodly sum, Spurs had money to burn over the summer. And they weren’t shy in coming forward. Marquee signings were bussed in with some of Europe’s most promising joining the ranks at White Heart Lane to be part of the AVB ‘project’. Players of undoubted quality like Soldado & Paulinho were brought on board along with hot prospects like Lamela and Eriksen. With seven new faces joining Tottenham a period of adjustment would be expected but after nearly a third of the Premier League season already gone, Spurs are no closer to looking like a serious contender. But why?
9 league goals (and only 6 from open play) in the first 12 games of the season is cause for concern. Especially when on average Spurs are conceding 1 goal a game. If not for a succession of one nil wins early on, and a few fortunate penalties, Spurs predicament could look a lot more hairy. Tottenham have seen a fair amount of the ball though. The third highest average possession stats in the league this season is not as surprising given the standard of player they have at there disposal. The problem seems to be they don’t know what to do when they have the ball. Individual quality will only go so far so why has a system to make all the possession fruitful failed to be implemented. A young manager known for his tactical grasp suggests some of the blame should lay at the feet of the players, but the fact Spurs have started the 12 games this season with 9 different line ups may go some way to explain the lack of a ‘team’. It’s true that time is needed to gel a a finely tuned unit but when the components of a team is constantly in flux then that time is surely increased. It stands to reason that individuals will be unsure how the team around him will function when that team is constantly changing.
Maybe it’s difficult to manage a team full of stars with the egos and tantrums that that may imply. Or contractual agreements for first team appearances. Or maybe AVB is indecisive on his best 11. But time is not on his side.
With the bruises still fresh from the beating dished out by Manchester City, and undesirable results from ‘big games’ against Arsenal, Everton & Chelsea, Tottenham need to find form in front of goal quickly if they are to make a serious assault on the champions league places. Consistency is needed for the talent that they have to shine. But that may leave one or two egos bruised.