It's been a restless few weeks at my house and not just because of my impending decision on whether or not to attend law school, the University of Missouri basketball coaching search, and my inability to keep Blackpool from getting relegated in Football Manager. No, the chief cause of my sleepless nights and general irritability of late, has been Tottenham Hotspur.
I've always found that writing things down helps get clear your head. So, in the interested of my sanity I'm going to subject you to the things that I think during the day that keep me from being productive and at night that prevent me from sleeping.
- League Form - Obviously, this is at the top of my list because of our abysmal performance against Wigan. We've now taken three points from our last four matches all against teams that are propping up the table. These are the games that we should be able to win, even without our best players on the pitch.
- Motivation - Harry Redknapp has been hailed as a master motivator, particularly after our comback victory over Arsenal at the Emirates. But if he's such a master motivator why is the team coming out flat against lesser opponents? Sure, it's great that we're up for the big matches, but don't Harry and the players realize how important these other games are?
- The Champions League - On Friday, I talked about how important the Champions League has been to Tottenham Hotspur's finances. Even if you put aside the monetary aspect it's clearly an important factor in attracting good players as well. At this rate we won't make it back next year...unless we win it this year!
- Real Madrid - Jose Mourinho is a genius. I mean, he is the "Special One", right? He's never lost to Harry Redknapp (albeit during a time when Harry was managing squads with less quality than Tottenham) and I don't think he'll be keen on starting now. If he's watched any of our games this year he knows how to beat us and it's a plan he'll be comfortable with. If Real sit back and make Spurs break them down we'll be in trouble and, undoubtedly, vulnerable on the counterattack.
- Cristiano Ronaldo - He's injured...allegedly. You can never be certain if Jose is just playing mind-games. If Ronaldo plays I can just see him blowing past Vedran Corluka as he cuts inside and then firing past a helpless Gomes.
- Gareth Bale - This morning he says he would not be opposed to a move abroad. Now that's far from saying "I want to move", but that's a lot more than he's said previously on the subject. This is very worrying.
- Our Strikers - Why are Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and Peter Crouch so poor in front of goal? Why do they refuse to score? I was encouraged by the 3-3 game against Wolverhampton Wanderers if only because both Defoe and Pav scored excellent goals, but since then...nothing. At this point I almost wish we had Robbie Keane back.
- Our Playmakers - If they're not hurt (Aaron Lennon, Bale, Tom Huddlestone) or unfit (Rafael Van der Vaart), then they're just plain not getting it done. Niko Kranjcar still can't get a game. Luka Modric is doing his best, but still looks labored with Huddlestone in the middle with him. Early on this season our passing was top drawer and we looked like we would finally be able to breakdown teams that elected to park the bus against us, but that hasn't been the case of late. Hopefully, everyone can return to fitness soon and this will change.
- Our defenders - I don't think Ledley King or Jonathan Woodgate will ever play again. Michael Dawson and William Gallas are our best defensive pairing, but Gallas, though he'll play Wednesday, isn't fully fit. Younes Kaboul still isn't healthy and Sebastien Bassong is pretty much useless. The best thing to happen to the Spurs defense is that Alan Hutton is now out for the season. How the heck are we going to stop Real Madrid, or anyone for that matter, from scoring with our back 4 in shambles?
That's enough for now. There's plenty more thoughts buzzing around my head, but that's enough pessimism for now. God, this team is giving me ulcers...