The constant fear of it all going wrong

Discussion in 'Featured' started by Craig Emanuel, March 7, 2017.

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  1. Craig Emanuel Member

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    At a time where most football writers and bloggers are heaping praise on Tottenham, it might seem odd to focus on the downside scenario. What could go wrong? How many more points do we need to accumulate to secure top 4 and, almost more importantly, finish ahead of Woolwich? Where are the potential banana skins? As a Spurs fan, I’m hardwired to be pessimistic.

    Some might say that this negativity is holding Spurs back from truly achieving something remarkable. It is certainly true that in the past our ambitions have been effectively limited to 4th place but under Pochettino that has changed, certainly within the club. Our aspirations are higher and there is a belief in the squad that we can challenge at the very top of the table.

    However, any long suffering Spurs fans will tell you that if something can go wrong, it usually does. You just need to look at the end of last season, when we managed to achieve our highest league finish for 26 years and still felt gutted at the end of it all. That is why, no matter how well we’re playing and how consistent our form, I can never really enjoy it. I bask in the glory of a victory for a half hour at most after each game. By the time I’ve walked down the High Road and descend the stairs at Seven Sisters tube station, I’m onto the next game. It has been a good weekend but there’s still a lot of football to be played and I won’t allow myself to celebrate. Not until it’s done.

    Spurs are on fire at present, second in the league and it is fortress White Hart Lane this season, where we boast the best home record in the Premier League. We haven’t had it so good for many a year and with a youthful team we are hopeful that there is far more to come. Harry Kane is top of the scoring charts – hammering them in from everywhere – and the defence is as miserly as they come (notwithstanding some uncharacteristic sloppiness towards the end of yesterday’s game).

    In stark contrast Woolwich are in the midst of a civil war, with demonstrations planned before tomorrow’s dead rubber second leg against Bayern Munich. Currently lying in fifth place, they are tearing themselves apart. The main protagonists on the best sitcom around – Arsenal Fan TV – are calling for wholesale changes. Wenger out. Gazidis out. Keswick out. Kroenke out. The only noise you hear nowadays at the Emirates are the boos at half time and full time, and the clashes of fans fighting each other in the stands. The atmosphere is toxic. And to top it off, their star player appears to be disillusioned, fed up with his manager and teammates and angling for a move away in the summer.

    It truly warms the heart to see, but the reality is that if they win their game in hand, they are only three points behind us, albeit with a far inferior goal difference. And we’ve been here before. Oh so many times. If history repeats itself yet again, then they will beat Munich tomorrow night 3-0 and get eliminated in a blaze of glory. That will galvanise them and they will go on a familiar run to secure 4th on the last day of the season at our expense, courtesy of us getting hammered by an already relegated Hull City team. And we’ll have to endure another St. Totteringham’s Day humiliation all over again, sending the Lilywhite half of North London into our annual hibernation from social media – from any form of social interaction in fact – so that we can wallow in self pity until our misery has subsided just enough to enable us to stomach the relentless mockery that will ensue. And for three long months until the start of the following season, I’m filled with anger, despair, disappointment and numbness, generally in that order.

    So how could this Armageddon scenario unfold?

    My main concern is injuries to key players. The bench is weak compared to our top six opponents. With Lamela destined to be out with a mystery hip injury for eternity, Son is our only source of hope amongst the substitutes. We’ve scored two league goals all season off the bench – both from Heung Min Son, against Southampton and Manchester City, the latter being the only one of consequence. I’m a fan of Harry Winks, and his quick thinking yesterday to tee up Dele Alli ultimately won us the game. I have high hopes that he will continue to develop into a very good midfield option for us. But beyond that, our midfield and attacking options outside of the first XI are fairly non existent. Sissoko, Onomah and Janssen have struggled to make any real impact, and although N’Koudou shows glimpses of promise, Pochettino clearly doesn’t fancy him.

    In comparison, Manchester City brought Kevin De Bruyne, Nolito and Fabian Delph off their bench yesterday. Take into account the fact they have Kelechi Iheanacho available too and the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan are long term injuries; it demonstrates the uphill battle we are fighting. That in itself is not a criticism of the club as I’m aware we have limited resources with which to compete, especially with the stadium under construction. But in my eyes our squad looks weaker than last season, having released (via sale or loan) Chadli, Townsend, Bentaleb, Mason, N’Jie and Carroll. I wasn’t desperately upset to see any of them leave but in aggregate we seem to have weakened the squad, with Wanyama the only successful addition this season.

    We have too many irreplaceable players to get overly comfortable.

    Not just injury but a lack of form in respect of key personnel could also be catastrophic. Peaks and troughs have accentuated our season, with barren spells following the Manchester City and West Brom home wins. Fortunately the second of these wasn’t too damaging (other than in Europe), but another poor run could seriously jeopardise our top 4 chances.

    Harry Kane won’t be scoring worldies every week and when his goals dry up, which they will at some point, I worry about the supporting cast.

    Dele, Son and, to a lesser extent, Eriksen are our only other reliable source of goals. In fact, we’ve only had 9 different scorers in the Premier League this season, and outside of the aforementioned four, the rest have only registered a total of 7 goals. This is comfortably fewer than all of our rivals and demonstrates a worrying reliance on a core group of players. For example, Manchester City have had 14 different scorers and have registered 23 goals from players outside of their top 4. Impressively, a total of 9 players at City have scored three or more.

    Arsenal: 13 scorers, 14 goals outside top 4

    Chelsea: 11 scorers, 16 goals outside top 4

    Liverpool: 12 scorers, 23 goals outside top 4

    Man City: 14 scorers, 23 goals outside top 4

    Man Utd: 10 scorers, 11 goals outside top 4

    Spurs: 9 scorers, 7 goals outside top 4

    Similarly, the impact of the absence of Toby Alderweireld earlier in the season demonstrated a real reliance on his presence in defence, and the same goes for the rest of the back 5, for whom the understudies represent a significant step down. We are already feeling the loss of Danny Rose for example, despite a decent showing from Ben Davies against Everton. Trippier is probably the best of the alternatives but Wimmer has struggled to recreate his form towards the end of last season when filling in for Vertonghen, and Cameron Carter-Vickers is still unproven.

    With no more European football this term the squad will hopefully have sufficient recovery time between games to reduce the chance of injury, but the worry is still there.

    The next run of league games offers an opportunity for us to tighten our grip on a Champions League place before a nasty group of games at the end of April and beginning of May including trips to a revitalised Leicester City and West Ham, and home games against Arsenal and Manchester United. We must make it count. If we can build up a healthy buffer before our trip to the King Power stadium, then maybe I’ll be able to enjoy the last few games. However, the likelihood is that it’ll be nail biting until the end. After all, we’re Spurs – when have we ever done anything the easy way?!

    As ever, COYS!!!
    Last edited: March 7, 2017
    Spurporter, Bazza47, burnt and 2 others like this.
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  3. jjmspur Guest

    We will not have much to spend and Mr Levy has said as much.
    You are right that our bench is weak and Poch is going to new to be shrewd in bringing players in.
    There is always that fear that Spurs will get things wrong but that feeling is less since Poch came in.
    Hopefully we will stay positive and finish the season strongly.

    Whatever happens , we are certainly as strong a team as we have been in a while and all we as fans can do is get fully behind the manager and the team.

    Craig Emanuel likes this.
  4. Craig Emanuel Member

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    Agreed. It's just such a shame that we seem to have squandered so much money on Sissoko and Janssen as our cash reserves are limited. It's not easy to find gems in the transfer market but we desperately need reliable cover at centre back and game changing subs in the attacking positions. Pochettino really is working miracles at the moment given the lack of depth in our squad. We just have to keep everything crossed that players stay fit and in form.
  5. Whippet Guest

    Great article that explains exactly what the word 'Spursy' truly means! So many false dawns from dodgy lasagne to complete end of season capitulation! Lets just all start thinking positive now, PMA and all that!
    I will end with a ray of sunshine that brings me a smile everytime i think about it, and that is that this month is the three year anniversary of the last time the Gooners beat us in the premier league! And they call us deluded! Long may it continue, in Poch we trust.
    Craig Emanuel likes this.
  6. Keith G Guest

    And to top it all we could be playing woolwich in the FA cup.
  7. Big fran Guest

    Forget finishing above the goons. 2nd has to be the target as it marks progression which hopefully encourage our big names thier future is with us! Were in the box seat and with decent fixtures to boot.
    My concern is that dembele is consistently taken off around the 75 min mark and were losing control of games as we did v Everton at two up and coasting. Winks is neat tidy and a prospect but feel he is unnecessary being pushed upon us before he is ready for the sake of promoting youth.
  8. Mick_T Guest

    Thanks for that mate I was in a cheery mood this morning now feel like jumping off a bridge haha. I agree tho, the fear of us capitulating again when it matters is spoiling the fun of being 2nd for me too. We should all be buzzing with how well we are doing but there's too much niggling doubt at the back of my head that we are gonna go to West Ham and Leicester and bottle it, cos both those teams will be well up for it. I don't know if I can handle another end of season let down, it would be an absolute disaster now if we didn't finish above Arsenal or get top 4. Just praying that things don't go tits up and it's our year for a change. That's all we can do, pray
  9. Craig Emanuel Member

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    Assuming we get past Millwall (which I'm not taking for granted), Arsenal looks like the most favourable draw in the semis, barring any upset in the Boro v City QF. If we do get them then let's just hope we can recreate 1991. It's been far too long a wait for an FA Cup semi final win. I was 8 at the time and didn't get taken to the final. Have dreamt of singing Abide With Me at Wembley ever since. I'm hoping this could be the year. I certainly think a trophy would instil a huge amount of confidence in this young squad and could propel them to much greater things.
  10. Craig Emanuel Member

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    I'd take third and the FA Cup! Second is achievable but we need to steer clear of injuries.
    Separately, i think Winks is ready and has yet to let us down. He's not Dembele but that shouldn't be the benchmark. He's 21 and if we want him to develop he has to be given game time. He's very economical in possession, rarely gives the ball away and usually looks for a forward pass. The assist for Alli on Sunday demonstrates this positive approach when he could have just taken the safe and easy option of playing it short and taking it into the corner to run down the clock. I like him and Poch clearly does too.
  11. Craig Emanuel Member

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    I don't think any of us are getting carried away. We've seen it all before. Cautious optimism. I'm happy to wait until May to laud it over the gooners. Once it's all signed, sealed and delivered I will have the whole summer to scream from the rooftops that North London is ours! Although I want the bloke to stay, putting the final nail in Wenger's coffin would be incredible.
  12. PeeLee New Member

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    I must arrange with myself to worry more about Spurs. I've been too busy enjoying this season.
  13. burnt Active Member

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    Did you enjoy our European escapades ? ....
    Felon82 likes this.
  14. johnnyhrvat Guest

    I guess many of us have the feeling that when things are going well, something bad is just about to happen - it's in a Spurs fan's dna.
    With regard to strength-in-depth, it will only work if Poch actually uses those players by rotating the squad. Take Wimmer for instance, finally got into the team in the second half of last season, did a great job, and then was unceremoniously dropped and forgotten about when Jan returned from injury - incidentally coinciding with our poor end-of-season run. It is not surprising that when given the odd chance this season, usually in a totally changed line-up, that he is struggling to perform. The past few games have had nearly identical starting X1s and we have a great player in Winks sitting on the bench. There are games when we could ditch the defensive Wanyama for the more creative HW. If we had strength-in-depth would some players merely be sitting on the bench getting frustrated and becoming a negative influence on the team?
  15. Craig Emanuel Member

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    You make some valid points but it is difficult to tell whether Poch doesn't trust them because they're not good enough or if they're not good enough because Poch doesn't play them. It's a bit "chicken and egg".

    Performances of the second string have continually disappointed in the cup competitions and Wimmer did look out of his depth at the Etihad. But, as you say, he was unfortunate to be dropped at the end of last season having formed an excellent partnership with Toby. He certainly looks more comfortable in a back 4 rather than a back 5, where there is more onus on him to step out and carry the ball forward.

    However, I do sympathise with your view that when players don't play together regularly and/or are thrown in when not match sharp, they are somewhat doomed to failure. Davies has now been given a run in the team and does seem to be improving. I think the players have to take some responsibility for staying as sharp as they can so they can do themselves justice then given the chance.

    Janssen had a run of games when Kane was out and didn't grasp the opportunity. Sissoko has had game time, including a few starts and several cameos, and he just isn't really contributing. Onomah too often takes the safe option for me and isn't brave enough on the ball.

    I would like to think that if we had a stronger squad that Poch would rotate and that competition for places would hopefully spur our players on and also relieve the burden on the likes of Kane and Alli. A winning camp is generally a happy one and Poch generally looks for footballers who have the right attitude as well as the requisite talent - hence why he cleared out the likes of Adebayor.
  16. Spurporter

    Spurporter Active Member

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    I think most would like to think that. Yet, we are building new stadium. Think about generations of Spurs fans that came and passed away not having the joy that we will experience soon. In MHO, any Spurs success during stadium construction period must be viewed as a fringe benefit. Therefore I do not share your concern, although I very much appreciate the effort you put into expressing it. Good job!! COYS!!!
    burnt and Craig Emanuel like this.
  17. J O'Neill New Member

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    It's called Murphy's Law ..... if something can go wrong will ,Has anyone ever checked where Poch. was born ? just in case nobody has, it was in a town called Murphy , Argentina.
    burnt likes this.
  18. burnt Active Member

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    Very good J O , your spot on , a place called Murphy .....

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