So far this season Andre Villas-Boas’ team has been all about the new players coming together as a team and finding their feet in the Premier League as they become accustomed to English football. They have had almost four months of playing together, two games every week in the League, European matches and the Capital One Cup.
To date, Spurs have beaten most of the sides they’d been expected to defeat in games against teams lower in the Premier League with the exception of West Ham. It hasn’t been pretty to watch with only 15 goals scored in the League, 7 in 7 games at White Hart Lane, including a few penalties along the way. They’ve progressed to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals and strolled through their Europa League group with ease against weaker opposition but haven’t shown any form in the league.
Coming Up Short!
When faced with top teams or sides in form, they’ve yet to show they can do it in those games. After two wins in August, they failed their first test at the Emirates – the new players weren’t prepared for the intensity of a north London derby.
At home to Chelsea, they appeared to have learned their lesson about derby matches and played well in the first half with chances to go in at the interval with a commanding lead, rather than with just a one goal advantage. Having failed to be clinical in their finishing, Chelsea came at them in the second half to equalise and could have won the game.
Against Newcastle who had come into some form and had defeated Chelsea the previous week, and won at Old Trafford last week, Spurs started poorly, conceded early and couldn’t beat Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal despite an improved second half.
Their humiliation at City started after 14 seconds and continued to the final whistle.
Since then the players have redeemed themselves somewhat with a draw against Manchester United and two wins at relegation threatened Fulham and Sunderland. Even in the draw against United, it was a defensive blunder which handed the visitors their equaliser and while satisfying not to lose, it should have been a win against a poor United team as has been shown in their subsequent games.
Spurs are now 7th in the League, three points behind Liverpool but with a negative goal difference compared to the visitors +16. The other top sides have vastly superior goal differences to Spurs, ranging from +12 to +29.
Now is an opportunity for Spurs to make a statement of intent against one of the sides which is challenging near the top of the League, to show that they are capable of mounting a challenge rather than just trundling along on the edge of the contest for a top four place.
A Win Today:
- would only move Spurs up one place to 6th but they’d be level with Liverpool and 5 points behind Arsenal and just behind the other top teams while opening a gap on those teams behind them. It would show they were up for the challenge.
A Draw Today:
- would also take Spurs up to 6th but they’d remain 3 points worse off than Liverpool and 7 points behind the leaders.
A Loss Today:
- would leave Spurs in 7th, behind Newcastle, and see a gap of 4 points open up to 5th placed Everton while Liverpool would climb to 2nd ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
With playing so many Sunday games, Tottenham have had to play catch-up for most of the season. The players know exactly what’s needed today so it’s time to deliver!