12 games, 17 points. We're currently far off the highs of last season in Gameweek 12 where we were 11 games played, 8 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses, 25 points. Tottenham have been copping it left right and centre this season so let's just go through what I'm terming the "Bitch about it list" - aka the list of things I and the rest of the fanbase have bitched about endlessly because of our recent poor run (Despite that run including Chelsea, Man City away and Arsenal away which are three of the hardest fixtures around). Then I will look forward to our next four games which we play without Emmanuel Adebayor and will remind everyone that THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!
-Sales of Luka Modric/Rafael Van Der Vaart (Including in here the retirement of Ledley)
-Arsenal beating us 5-2 again <-- This game deserves its own point.
So let's take a quick recap of the end of last season. Spurs go into freefall following this same result in February. We still finish 4th but Harry faces backlash for not pushing for a win away to Aston Villa which would have sealed 3rd place. This backlash is proved to be correct after Chelsea win the Champions League, forcing us via UEFA's stupid rule down into the Europa League. Plans for signing big names like Eden Hazard and Leandro Damiao all go directly down the gurgler with the former choosing to move to Chelsea in a particularly sucky kick in the crotch. Luka Modric makes his typical fuss, Harry Redknapp is sacked, AVB is brought in. Tottenham troll Liverpool spectacularly by nicking Gylfi Siggurdson from under their noses and then again with Clint Dempsey. Modric is sold, Emmanuel Adebayor comes in alongside Jan Vertonghen in what was the most boring pair of transfer sagas since Fabregas. Tottenham surprise us by signing Moussa Dembele, selling Rafael Van Der Vaart, buying Hugo Lloris and then surprise nobody by not signing another striker and once again being unable to sell Jermiane Jenas and David Bentley. AVB's time at Chelsea wasn't particularly fantastic as the "New Special One" pissed off the major Chelsea players in his attempts to change the team to fit the blueprint he brought from Porto so everyone was a bit nervous about this appointment. Tottenham miss out on Joao Moutinho due to dodgy Porto paperwork which was a real kick in the teeth but entirely unsurprising given Daniel Levy decides to begin negotiations far too late.
OK so now that that is all out of the way. AVB looks at his roster and knows the 4-3-3 won't work, adapting it to a 4-2-3-1 with a high line and energetic pressing. As everyone knows, a new system with a new manager with a new ethos about the game is going to take time to implement to the extent where we can dominate matches with ease for 90 minutes. The adjustment period is going to be greater when we go from Harry FRAAB Redknapp to AVB, master of the chalkboard. We've seen the system work spectacularly this season - see 3-2 win at Old Trafford and go completely to the dogs - see 1-0 loss to Wigan at the Lane. This is not a great surprise. Yes our roster is very talented but learning a new system and philosophy takes a lot of time and match practice. Tottenham have in the last few seasons been reliant on that one player in central midfield who held possession and was the creative hub. Previously it was Modric, now it's Dembele. Without Dembele in the squad we have looked far far weaker. He is due back in time for West Ham. Thank the Lord. We need to give the team time to learn the new system without having to chop and change for injuries/suspensions/childbirth (he didn't even have a boy to become the next Weezus) before we judge them. We're not even a third of the way through the season yet and we've already played Newcastle away, Manure away, CSKA London at home, Man City away and the Gooners away. Perspective please people.
Yes we have had a buttload of injuries. Currently the list reads: BAE, Parker, Dembele, Caulker, Kaboul. So that's two of our best midfielders, two of our best centre-backs and our left back. Factor in that Adebayor and Naughton just returned from injury and it's not been an easy time for us on the medical front. I give AVB credit for making it work as best he can. Everyone moaned about JD up top alone but with Adebayor injured what else could he do? He's played with what he's got available. We should be able to cope without Dembele but until Huddlestone returns to his form of 2010/11 we won't be able to and still look like a top4 team. Let's just look at the games where we've actually played badly this season. Norwich at home in the first half before Dembele came on, QPR at home, Wigan at home. William Gallas v Chelsea at home. The thing that kicked us on our amazing run last season was the injury list clearing up. I have full faith that we can go on another run when it does this time.
This one looks like it's been resolved because I can't see AVB playing Lloris in the derby away from home and then dropping him against West Ham. Regardless, the main bitching about this was "Lloris saves that goal". I'm guilty of this one too but we've all been incredibly harsh on Brad purely because he has Lloris on the bench. Yes it means he had to be pretty much perfect but every mistake was pounced on like he's bloody Heurelho Gomes. Give the American a break.
So-called "Big Game Gallas" is past it. That's really all there is to it. The only game where I haven't come away thinking he's been absolutely a liability is the Man United away game. I think it was Ed in the reaction thread who said that if he's going to be the old experienced head he has to be marking better in the box. I'd put him directly at fault for both the Podolski and Giroud goals, not to mention Chelsea's first three goals against us. As soon as BAE comes back I want AVB to use a back four of Walker/Caulker/Super Jan/BAE.
Yes Kyle Walker is more of an athlete than a footballer. Yes Kyle Walker is actually still a good player. Yes Kyle Walker can be a lax defender. This is not in any way shape or form a sudden revelation. He's had some shockers this season but he has turned a corner I think and looked pretty good against both City and Arsenal. He's still very young, he'll develop the defending better as he matures.
I've been a big Dempsey critic, I didn't want him to begin with. I was happy with Siggy and Rafa as our #10s. Dempsey actually looked decent against Arsenal and has managed to nick two crucial goals that got us wins which I will give him credit for. I expected more from him though. He was so lively and involved at Fulham and he's the complete opposite here. For now, AVB's done the right thing and dropped him although I expect he'll return against West Ham unless Siggy or Falque have screamers against Lazio.
Defensive Subs and Late Goals
This is a contentious one and AVB pointed out quite truthfully that if he makes an attacking change we could get caught out just as easily. However at this stage I don't trust our defence to park the bus and survive. Plus, it's not Tottenham to park the bus. To Dare is to Do. Go for more goals, flair, attack attack attack. Speedy wingplay, pass and move, creativity. That's the Spurs way. If we have the ball attacking their net they're not attacking ours. Plus the players AVB puts on aren't exactly world class defensive players. Jenas, Huddlestone, Livermore. None of these players scream "brick wall of defence". Yeah we've gotten done late this whole season and yes it would be nice to be the team doing the late winning but it happens. The league is far more even so there's no easy three points anymore, except Aston Villa and QPR.
Been done to death, not an excuse for everyone believing we're going to be doomed.
Arsenal 5 Spurs 2 for the second consecutive game
Adebayor is a complete cock for doing that. I maintain we would have won had Adebayor not been sent off but for that sheer stupidity they deserved the win.
So in conclusion, most of the reasons why we're not doing that well are eminently fixable. THE SKY IS NOT FALLING! WE WILL STILL FINISH VERY HIGH! WE CAN STILL MAKE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Does it suck that we have lost 4 of our last 5? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No. I will do a preview of the next three tomorrow after my ancient history exam which will mean the end of uni for another year and give me from now until the end of February off.