And finally, it’s all over. Aston Villa come to WHL on Sunday for the denouement to a season sprinkled more liberally with disappointment than achievement I think it’s fair to say. Whether it was right, on reflection, to expect any more given the exit of Champions League Final bound Bale and the multiple signings is debatable but the points record total in 2013, the ambition of Villas-Boas, the purchase finally of a proven goalscorer, the promise of Lamela and the scrapping of ‘dead wood’ in the shape of Dempsey, Livermore, Big Tom and Adebayor (!) all gave the impression that we were heading in only one direction.
I personally bought the hype. When the defence initially proved impenetrable we were able to forgive the spluttering attack, it was just a matter of time before Soldado, Lamela and Eriksen came good surely? As we know, only one of those has thus far proved their worth and the defence quickly went from solid to comic. AVB’s search for an exit strategy for Adebayor was one of the main factors that led to he himself leaving whilst the object of his opprobium has ended up as a favourite for Player of the Season. What a mess. Oh well, there’s always next year.
So what about the Battle for the Europa League then? A point is all we need to join Everton and Hull City in UEFA’s unloved bastard of a competition. I believe I’m right in saying that should we finish sixth we’ll join in in the third qualifying round if Hull win the cup, ie one stage earlier than normal and two behind Hull who will go straight into the group stage. If Hull lose the cup final we’ll go in at the playoff stage. In the former scenario our first game in the comp would be on July 31st. Yikes. The two cup game credits you get as a season ticket holder will have vanished before September, assuming we qualify for the play-off round of course.
Our game at Aston Villa in October supplied one of Bobby Soldado’s many false dawns. His calm take of Paulinho’s pass and finish past Guzan put us two nil up after what turned out to be Townsend’s only goal of the season had given us an early lead. His, Soldado’s, inability to add regularly to that notch since has had a silver lining in that Harry Kane has been allowed a run in the team and has done his best to make us think about the possibility of a home grown hero leading the line. A long way to go of course but he’s better this year than he was last and better than the year before that… you get my point I’m sure. One thing you can’t fault Sherwood on is his bringing through of youngsters. I’m personally hoping that Alex Pritchard gets on the pitch on Sunday, if he were to show signs that he can live up to his promise it’ll put a spring in the step for the summer.
The team for the weekend is unlikely to be much different from that which started last weekend’s disaster at the Hamsters, Chiriches or Fryers for Kaboul is all. We’ll be seeing some players for the last time in a Spurs shirt. Lloris? Sandro? Rose? Adebayor? Who knows? Not me. Jonathon Moss is the referee. COYS.
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