Tottenham set out this season with such high expectations but have clearly taken a step backwards from the levels achieved in recent years. Amid the gloom and despondency around White Hart Lane, however surprising it may seem, the records show that if Spurs were to defeat Arsenal tomorrow they would have their highest total of points in the Premier League at this point of the season.
Record Total of Points After 30 Premier League Games?
A tweet by Tottenham Hotspur @THFC_Fans, using data from the myfootballfacts.com web-site provides the evidence,
The records on myfootballfacts.com indicate that on two occasions after 30 matches in the Premier League Spurs have had 55 points – in 2011-12 and two years earlier in 2009-10 when they went on to achieve a then record total of 70 points and gain Champions League qualification. Last year, after 30 games, Spurs had only 54 points but finished the season by setting a new record of 72 points. This season with Spurs on 53 points, a win would put them ahead of their previous best while a draw would keep them apace with last season.
At the start of the season, we were led to believe that the Tottenham hierarchy thought that Spurs could make a breakthrough into the top-4 as a number of the clubs were under new-management and it was expected that that would have an impact on their challenge and consistency. For that reason Spurs had made early investment in the transfer market to strengthen the team but in the end it turned out that they were actually spending the Gareth Bale transfer fee. The top clubs, from their position of financial strength still managed to acquire players at the top end of the transfer market while a number of Spurs’ first options – Joao Moutinho, David Villa and Willian – preferred the Champions League experience.
Fortress White Hart Lane
Over recent seasons, Tottenham had made White Hart Lane a place where the top clubs knew they had to be at their best to get a result and even then Spurs still managed to get a result as evidenced by their last gasp draw against Manchester United last season and a late recovery to dent City’s title hopes. Early this season Spurs gave Chelsea a difficult first half before being grateful for a point.
Since then, it has been too easy as first Liverpool and then City have plundered their way to goals and the three points. Benfica outclassed Tottenham in Thursday’s Europa League tie while Spurs have struggled against teams like Cardiff and Crystal Palace who have been battling against relegation. On both occasions, it wasn’t a defensive, rearguard performance by the visitors, it was actually that they outplayed Spurs for long periods of the game.
No longer do teams fear coming to the Lane.
On Their TravelsThis season Spurs have the best away record in the Premier League, taking 29 points, from 9 wins and 2 draws. That’s 3 points more than Arsenal, 4 more that Chelsea, 7 better than Liverpool and 8 ahead of City. In recent years Tottenham have managed to end some terrible sequences of results at Old Trafford, Arsenal and Anfield. Only Stamford Bridge still has to be conquered and for almost an hour last week Spurs were putting up a credible display until a series of individual errors and the penalty plus Younes Kaboul’s sending off led to another capitulation.
It has been the nature of the defeat at those grounds this year which has seen Tottenham also concede 6 goals at City and while the scoreline in both games at the Emirates suggest the games were close, that was far from the case. Arsenal, on both occasions, dismissed Spurs with disdain. The first was put down to Spurs new players not being fully prepared for the intensity of a north London derby while in the Cup game Spurs offered nothing whatsoever to threaten or unsettle the home side.
In recent years, Spurs had moved away from the dark days of the 1990s and early 2000s when fans went to those games expecting defeat and hoping to keep the score down and avoid an embarrassing defeat. Unfortunately, at the present, that feeling has returned. The quality in the present Tottenham team is so much better than it was in those earlier teams but they seem incapable of producing any level of performance that will get a positive result against the top sides.
The departure of Gareth Bale has been a factor in Tottenham’s decline this season. As a tweet I reported yesterday suggested, Bale’s brilliance hid many shortcomings last year while the new signings were never going to be able to reach that level of performance and with injuries, a change of management in mid-season and the uncertainty over Tim Sherwood’s future, it has been a very unsettled season.
Can Tomorrow Be The Day?
We so much want tomorrow to be the day when Spurs step up to the mark and put the disappointments of the season behind them but I doubt that there’ll be very many Spurs supporters inside White Hart Lane or watching on television who actually believe that it will happen.
Spurs have managed to do it before, remember Danny Rose’s goal and the win over Arsenal which set Spurs on course for a Champions League place after the great disappointment of losing at Wembley to relegated Portsmouth.
A win tomorrow would give them a new record high of points after 30 games and while it would lift the spirits around the club, it might just be too late to have a major impact on the outcome of the season.