Fading Direction: Tottenham then and now

3
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

With our Champions League hopes taking another blow last Sunday away at Norwich, I felt compelled to question; where exactly Tottenham Hotspur have gone as a club since our inaugural Champions League campaign of 2010/11. With no second season at Europe’s top table yet to emerge, how does our progress and resulting squad now compare with the one of 2010/11

Taking into account players in the both squads and to have played over 7 games in the respective seasons, I have merged what I view as our ideal starting line-up if all players were still available today.

Note: They would fit a 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 system as such.

GK- Gomes vs Lloris

This would probably be one on the least questioned decisions. Lloris for me is one of the top Goalkeepers in world football, and although Gomes had many a good moments in a Spurs shirt, the uncertainty and error prone personality he bought to the team means there’s only one winner in this case.

Pick – Lloris

 

RB- Corluka vs Walker

Corluka was a tough, consistent defender but completely different to walker, mainly due to his lack of pace and agility. As a result I think most fans would agree that Walker despite some defensive positional deficiencies, which admittedly are becoming more irregular, poses greater and stronger attributes to ‘Charlie’ and thus pips him to this position

Pick – Walker

 

CB1- King vs Kaboul

Both similar players; comfortable on the ball, quick, agile, an aerial threat but most disappointingly injury prone. However, any Spurs fan would be mad not to have the class of Ledley King in the team. Sadly, we’ve only seen the best of Kaboul in one season (2011/12), due to his plague of recent injuries, and what with his contract up in a years time; we may never see it again.

Pick – King

 

CB2 – Dawson vs Vertonghen

However much we love the desire and commitment of Michael Dawson, there is no way in the world he would get in a side over Jan Vertonghen. Again possessing greater attributes in all areas (apart from throwing himself at the feet on defenders) there is only one man to pick; creating a centre-back partnership that dreams are made of.

Pick – Vertonghen

 

LB – Assou-Ekotto vs Rose

Perhaps one that will divide more than any. No doubt BAE had deficiencies; most significantly a lack of concentration and a somewhat relaxed approach. However, with Rose having done absolutely nothing yet to convince anyone he’s of a continental standard mixed with his complete inability to focus, position himself correctly and an apparent greater interest in running forward than getting back, there is again only one man I can pick. Yes he had his moments but people forget the solid seasons of work Ekotto gave us.

Pick – Assou-Ekotto

 

RM – Lennon

An ever-present so much so you can hardly imagine a modern Tottenham without his pace and occasionally wayward final ball. Nevertheless, he played and still plays a pivotal role in both teams

Pick – Lennon

 

CM1 – Sandro

Again a man of both teams, with his role unchanged. Representative of the character and steel every team is the world needs a slice of.

Pick – Sandro

 

CM2 – Modric vs Paulinho

Despite the steady start made by Paulinho any team would be worse off without Luka Modric; in fact we still haven’t replaced his creativity nearly two years on. His ability to find the pass, keep possession, mesmerise and delight, as well as score the occasional wonder goal, signifies he has to be in this team.

Pick – Modric

 

LM – Bale vs Townsend

This one isn’t even close; so I won’t bother even making a debate of it. Bale is a far better player in every single physical and mental area of the game.

Pick – Bale

 

AM (Attacking Midfield) – Van der Vaart vs Eriksen

Another tricky one between two very similar players. Eriksen has again made a good start to his Spurs career despite being in and out of the team through injury. However, the greater ‘know-how’ of VDV and his ability to put up his best performances, and usually scoring in the big games; namely several times against Arsenal, sees Rafa just pip this one.

Pick – Van der Vaart

 

ST – Crouch vs Adebayor

Another divisive one. The role of Crouch in our Champions League campaign cannot be underplayed; he scored goals at Bremen and in the San Siro but his recklessness in Madrid cost us dearly. Adebayor incidentally, scored in that game for Madrid; and perhaps has received a harsh press since the success of his debut season at Spurs but the simple fact remains; he scored more goals (3) than our much heralded Berbatov in his first 70 Spurs Premier League appearances.

Pick – Adebayor

 

Result:

5 Players from 2010/11

4 Player from 2013-14

2 Ever-presents

Conclusion

Questions have to be asked about the direction of the club. The simple facts were that Champions League football was supposed to boost the club onto a whole new level; however, we find ourselves in a situation of repeated Europa League football and a team of ‘nearly men’. Our CL team would probably beat of current team, due to personnel but tactics also. Tottenham Hotspur, is currently and has been for the last few years, a club meandering; finding itself as a testing ground for managers and players alike, who eventually either don’t work out and we’re back at square one again or move on to bigger and better things.

But where does the blame lie?

Now I’m a fan of ENIC, Lewis and Daniel Levy; where they’ve taken us, and their ability to normally get the best deal for the club; yet ultimately the blame must lie at their feet, and more specifically those of Daniel Levy. Poor managerial appointments, bad decisions and horrendously advocated transfer business has left the club in the uncertain position it’s in. However, it’s not too late for them or us. Spurs is a club with massive potential, but Levy and his colleagues have to make bold and correct decisions this summer or risk seeing us fade back into the pack and cement our place as one of the recent ‘Nearly-clubs’ of English Football.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with comments above apart from choosing Rose, however least we not forget, Levy and Co, whilst hardened Spurs supporters (proved by the sacking of Graham without hesitation or real reason) are first and foremost hardened business men. Spurs, without champions league football is ranked inside the top15 richest clubs in the world!!!! The Levy´s of this world are the modern day Wengers….stability of the club and financial reward weigh above trophies and glory!!! Stability gives longevity and survival………………Question is what do we want?

  2. If you're going to lay the blame at Levy, let's look at an average start of the 07 squad.

    Robinson, Chimbonda, Rocha, Gardner, Stalteri, Zokora, Jenas, Malbranque, Huddlestone, Keane, Berbatov

    Hardly the 94 Milan team is it. So yes we're not as good as the talent we have, but Bale papered over a lot of flaws, and in depth we're much better (the appalling Rose and show pony Townsend notwithstanding)

  3. Completely agree with both points; Levy runs the club terrifically as a business, but not so well as a successful sporting team and this is something i address in an upcoming article this week; so keep an eye out!
    Secondly, squad depth is certainly greater and i think it is this that leads to further fan frustrations. However, maybe fan aspirations are unrealistic considering the amount of cracks Bale did paper over.

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