Tottenham’s season has been a great mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good has been exceptional, the bad hasn’t been too bad and the ugly were the unfortunate incidents which happened on foreign shores during two Europa League trips.
- Andre Villas-Boas settled in quickly to his role and developed a great bond with the players – it was good to see them on the touch-line taking advice during a game and many have benefited from his coaching including Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon.
- AVB appears to have a warm affinity for Tottenham and speaks highly of the club and its traditions.
- Gareth Bale has been exceptional throughout the past season. His contribution in goals, assists and all round play has made it a very memorable season. So many of the goals were outstanding that we had a Gareth Bale only ‘Goal of the Season’ poll. Those goals will be talked about for years to come as we still do about some of those scored by Jimmy Greaves, Glenn Hoddle, David Ginola and Jurgen Klinsmann.
- A total of 72 points is a record for Tottenham in the Premier League in Villas-Boas’ first season is a commendable achievement and in true Tottenham style, not just enough for a Champions League finish. Tottenham becoming the first club to miss out on qualification with that number of points.
- The win at Old Trafford was unexpected but thoroughly deserved. Spurs were ahead in the opening minutes and United didn’t know what had hit them. Spurs outplayed them in the first half with Bale scoring a second and then showed an unaccustomed resilience to hold on in the second half for a memorable victory and record their first win there since 1989.
- Wins at White Hart Lane over Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham and Swansea who finished in the top half of the Premier League.
- Ten away wins and a total of 34 points on their travels while scoring 37 goals was an excellent record. Spurs only failed to score in one away game in the League – against QPR at Loftus Road.
- All of the new signings contributed to Spurs’ season although some took time to adjust to their new team and manager. Jan Vertonghen was the best signing closely followed by Mousa Dembele and Hugo Lloris. Three class players – Vertonghen displayed a wonderful ability in defence and was a very suitable replacement for the retired Ledley King, a footballing central defender. Dembele brought strength and control to midfield and alongside Sandro developed into a very good partnership. Once Lloris took over as the number one goalkeeper he showed his ability on numerous occasions. Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby who signed in January, contributed through the season. Vital goals at important times were scored – Dempsey in both games against United and against Stoke while Sigurdsson came up with a number of goals in the last few matches, especially the equaliser against Chelsea.
- Tottenham showed great team spirit and fighting qualities with numerous late goals to snatch a draw or claim all three points. Unlike many previous Tottenham sides, they seemed to have a belief in themselves and a ‘never say die attitude’ which paid off abundantly.
- It was good to see the enthusiasm that Andre Villas-Boas and all his coaching staff, especially Steffen Freund, had for every goal that Spurs scored.
The Not So Good
- Unfortunately injuries played a part in Spurs’ season with Younes Kaboul making only one appearance. Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker missed the first half of the season while Sandro was out during the second half. To lose such key players for long periods restricted AVB’s options in team selection.
- The summer transfer negotiations weren’t completed until the end of August which led to a slow start to the season and only two points from the opening three games. To have only one senior striker on the opening day was not the best way to start and the season and Spurs had an element of good fortune in that Jermain Defoe avoided injury.
- At home Spurs drew 5 games and lost three but their record did improve as the season progressed although they only scored 29 goals.
- The lack of goals in the second half of the season from the two strikers was a problem but fortunately Bale stepped up to fill the void. Defoe had a good opening four months and Adebayor only came good in the final few games after struggling with fitness and injury for large parts of the season. Daniel Levy may have regrets at not signing an additional striker in the January transfer window.
- Conceding late goals in the early part of the season proved costly. After the disappointment of the defeat at Everton, AVB addressed the issue and rather than conceding late goals it was Spurs who started to score them in dramatic fashion.
- The number of goals conceded at free-kicks and corners was disappointing. Why did Spurs not put a player on the posts at corners? Also Spurs failed to take advantage of the numerous corners they won with only Steven Caulker when he played providing a regular threat at set-pieces.
Tottenham supporters who travelled to Rome for the match against Lazio and to Lyon were subjected to attacks on the evening before the games as they sat in pubs quietly enjoying a night with fellow supporters. The pubs were clearly targeted because they were being frequented by Spurs fans leading to serious injuries to a number of supporters and much damage to the premises. It must have been a frightening experience for everyone who was present and unfortunately on both occasions UEFA took the easy option and turned a blind eye as they had done over the chanting of the Lazio fans in both games when the punishment was another meaningless fine which is no deterrent to a club the size of Lazio.
Tottenham have had a memorable season and can look forward to a bright future under Villas-Boas and hopefully it will be with Gareth Bale still wearing the lilywhite shirt of Tottenham.