So, the last few weeks have been extremely worrying for us White Hart Lane faithful, the statistics speak for themselves:
- Defeat at home to a Fulham side that has struggled away from home all year
- Shipping two goals at home against Basle in the Europa Leage making qualification for the next round an uphill battle
- Injuries to our key playmakers Bale and Lennon
- Having to salvage a last-gasp point at home to Everton
So in the midst of all this doom and gloom is there any light at the end of the tunnel? well, there are a few reasons to have some cautious optimism for the weeks ahead.
The return of Younes Kaboul
The big Frenchman returned to action on Monday with a 60 minute appearance for the U21’s. The former Portsmouth man will provide some much needed cover at centre-half possibly even allowing Vertonghen to move out to left back on a more permanent basis, he can also play a few different roles and might even give AVB food for thought in deploying him as a holding central midfielder.
Bale’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared
Admit it, when you saw him crumple to the ground in a heap against Basel, you feared the worst didn’t you? I had visions of a Hollywood blockbuster when the main antagonist gets shot: “Bale down, I repeat Bale is down!” Thankfully the damage doesn’t seem to be long-term and he could be back for the Man City game, it’s vital that the potential player of the year is back in action asap.
Fringe players getting their chance
The afore-mentioned injuries to Lennon and Bale have allowed bit-part players Holtby and Siggurdsson to step up and they have done admirably well under the circumtances. Siggurdsson’s 1st season with us has been a tough one but it was always going to be hard to have a repeat of the impact he had last year, however, his goals in the last few games could be vital when it comes to the end of the season. Holtby also looks like a good edition to the squad, after being thrown in at the deep end due to our injury crisis, his technical nous and hard graft will make him a future fan-favourite.
Rescuing a point against Everton
True, a victory on Sunday last was the priority but the manner in which we fought back from 2-1 down shows that at least there’s fight in this Tottenham side. A defeat would have been unthinkable, giving the gooners further traction in the fight for fourth and also allowing Everton back in the race. When the smoke has cleared at the end of the season how vital might that point prove?
No league game this weekend
The lack of Premier League action at the weekend means that the gaffer can go with a strong side against Basel giving us a chance of clawing our way back into the tie. The Europa League has been a poison chalice of late, often meaning that the team looks tired and sluggish in the following Premier League match, the games against Fulham and Liverpool being good examples. This week’s break will also mean that Lennon and Bale’s rehab continues without having a detrimental effect on the league campaign.
The nay-sayers have been in fine voice over the past few weeks and some would say with good reason. But we’re still in with a fighting chance, let’s be honest if you were asked at the start of the season would you take the current position in mid April? the answer in most cases would be an emphatic yes. The fixtures don’t make pleasant reading but cast your minds back to the last time the lilywhites qualified for the Champions League and some of our remaining fixtures at the same stage: Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City all stood in our way of Champions League qualification and all were put to the sword.
Let’s remain positive, to dare is to do.