Manchester. So much to answer for.
A trip there and a 0-6 drubbing at the hand of City and the calls for the end of André Villas-Boas became more than chatter. A week later United come to White Hart Lane and even though it ended as a draw, and Spurs were probably good for the win, there were enough signs that maybe AVB has it right after all.
Spurs fans are in the not unfamiliar position of being split evenly down the glass half-empty / half-full line.
It is not so much the results but how the team is failing to gel. 13 matches into the season and only Sunderland and Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals.
Over the summer the club spent 110 million quid cashing in on the Gareth Bale windfall. 110 million quid; money that the club could only dream about before now.
Three times the club transfer record was broken. Two of those record breakers were Lamela and Soldado. Who is doing this scouting?
The sole striker formation that AVB is so staunchly sticking to has some merit, but not when the sole striker is as workshy as Soldado. He has cut a desolate figure on his own, and the confidence must be ebbing by now. He does take a good penalty though.
Lamela has started only one Premier League game all season. And that was against Manchester City.
But the transfer craziness does not end with the imports. Amongst all the hype of the Bale sale it went barely unnoticed that Benoît Assou-Ekotto had been loaned out. To QPR of all sides. This has had a significant impact at the back, that was so exposed at City. Danny Rose has spent the majority of the season on the physio’s table, which is not unusual. This has meant that Vertongen has had to fill in at left back, resulting in Spurs losing a very good central defender and picking up a not very good left back.
The jury is still out on Walker too. Last weekend’s game was a classic case in point. He did score from a free kick, albeit fortunately, but he also had a hand in both of United’s goals.
But that is not the main issue; it is the inability to score goals. Playing these brutes of holding midfielders, and three took the field against United, it has come at the expense of traditional Spurs creativity.
And hasn’t the hype around Andros Townsend vanished quickly? He is clearly talented, but someone needs to remind him that goals from 30 metres may look sexy, but they are hard to come by, and are not actually worth any more than other goals.
The snarking at AVB over the last week has been quite something. Say what you like about ‘Arry he knew how to play the media, and there has been a fair amount of proving loyalty since the trip to Manchester. Added to that, there is the annoying sniping from Lord Sugar who, in New Zealand terms, is an amalgamation of Bob Jones, Graham Lowe and Glenn Turner.
Bringing in seven new signings, while welcoming back Sandro and Townsend, was always going to take time. And despite the well-publicised issues Spurs finds themselves only three points off the Top Four, following a pretty brutal fixture list over the last month.
There is no doubt Spurs now possesses the strongest midfield in the league. Not the fastest or the most creative, but the strongest. Remember it was less than a year ago that the midfield was being anchored by … Scott Parker.
One of the advantages of deepening the squad following Bale’s exit was being able to contest on all fronts without burning out players. This has been the biggest issue for Spurs in recent years, as we have tended to fall away in the last couple of months of the season
There are improvements to be made in the Christmas transfer window. The weakness at fullbacks needs to be looked at, as well as a busier striker.
Gradually the team is fitting together, and in playing Chandli and Lennon together against Untied reminded us of how better balanced the side was going forward when Bale and Lennon were on the field at the same time.
Apart from a visit from Liverpool, the fixture list until the New Year is pretty kind, as long as there is not a repeat of a performance like when West Ham turned up and ambushed us.
On January 1 it is a trip to Old Trafford. There is the test.
In actual fact, the truth lies in between these two viewpoints, and it will be interesting to see how Spurs copes with what in theory should be a comparatively easy trip across to Craven Cottage this week. Against Fulham, and their first match under new management. And we know what tends to happen there.
This blog first appeared on Premierleaguepass ; albeit with a massively inferior photo