Looking back and looking forward

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Much has been made of the collapse at the end of last season that saw us lose out on second place to a club that made the disappointment bitter. There was one point in it but we had a far superior goal difference. Would we have taken third place at the start of the season? You bet! It means qualification for the CL group stage without the inconvenience of the play-off round. It means being in the premier European competition, with the money and prestige it provides.

Let’s look again at this view about the end of season collapse. Yes, it was not good, but those final losses to Southampton and Newcastle and the draw at Chelsea were no more to blame then some other results. In fact, the results at the start of the season, whether due to luck or anything else, put us in a position at the end that need not have occurred.

Here are the first four results.

Aug 8 Man Utd 1 – 0 Spurs

Aug 15 Spurs 2 – 2 Stoke

Aug 22 Leicester 1 – 1 Spurs

Aug 29 Spurs 0 – 0 Everton

 

There were four games and a possible 12 points, of which we gained just 3. The MU game can be attributed to a spot of bad luck. Leicester ended being champions, so a draw there was a decent result. We should have beaten Stoke and Everton.

Some other games also played a key part.

Oct 17 Spurs 0 – 0 Liverpool

Apr 2 Liverpool 1 – 1 Spurs

Nov 8 Arsenal 1 – 1 Spurs

Mar 5 Spurs 2 – Arsenal 2

Nov 29 Spurs 0 – 0 Chelsea

May 2 Chelsea 2 – 2 Spurs

Dec 5 West Brom 1 -1 Spurs

Apr 25 Spurs 1 – 1 West Brom

Dec 13 Spurs 1 – 2 Newcastle

Jan 3 Everton 1 – 1 Spurs

Jan 13 Spurs 0 – 1 Leicester

Mar 2 West Ham 1 – 0 Spurs

 

By the way, of course there were some good wins, but if we want first place and not third something has to improve. Why are these games so important? Drawing home and away against rivals for the CL spots can perhaps be forgiven, but, if that were the only issue, we may still have got second place. Drawing home and away to West Brom was at least two points thrown away. Those two points would have meant second place. Similarly, losing at home to Newcastle cost a place. Having drawn at home to Everton in August, we then drew away in January. The home game against Leicester was at least two points dropped, as was the away game at West Ham.

What does this mean for the coming season? Here is a list of the first four games. Getting some decent results at the start matters and none of the games are easy.

Aug 13 Everton A

Aug 20 Crystal Palace H

Aug 27 Liverpool H

Sep 10 Stoke City A

 

Two home games and two away games. If we can kick off with a win at Everton it would be a real boost. My optimistic view is D W D W. Eight points, giving four more than at the same stage last season. I obviously hope for four wins!

What can make the difference? Wanyama is proven in the PL and should help avoid some of those silly errors that were costly. We may be surprised and find Janssen playing with Kane. That could prove to be a great combination. I know Lamela has improved. I know he has lost of fans. I won’t go on about the stats as I have previously, but it would be great if he could chip in with a few goals and if he kept out of the referee’s way. Eriksen was not at his best last season, but still did a good job. If he can regain his form it would make a huge difference. There are some players who really are not first team material. Yes, nurturing is important, but winning is important too. Finally, there may yet be another signing or two. As usual, the rumour mill has us linked with everyone! I would like to see someone with pace and skill, but who wouldn’t?

Over to you.

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Brian has been a Spurs supporter from around 1960, so was there for the double, the FA Cup in 1962 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963. He admits to having cried when Spurs lost to Benfica in the 1962 European Cup Semi-final and to times when he could weep when watching Spurs for the past few years (but for very different reasons). Brian has been lucky enough to see greats such as Jimmy Greaves, Pat Jennings, Glenn Hoddle and Paul Gascoigne. During the 60s, 70s and 80s Spurs won at least one domestic trophy and one European trophy each decade (with those wonderful all white strip floodlit games). It has taken Brian more than 20 years to realise that may take a while to come back, but hope lives on.

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