So another Tottenham Hotspur match has come and gone, and like so many before it and presumably like so many to come, it ended in disappointment. Nonetheless, there were some positives to be taken from the match, and so in a feature I’m hoping will be semi regular throughout the course of this season – here are Three Observations.
Romelu Lukaku is going to be an incredible player. His introduction in addition to the withdrawal of Sandro and Van Der Vaart were the key factors in the panic that set into the Spurs ranks in the last fifteen minutes. Countless times have the press and fellow fans told me what a player he is, but, Football Manager informed knowledge aside, this is actually the first time I’ve seen Lukaku play – I can now see what the hype is about. Quite why Chelsea have waited for the season they no longer have Didier Drogba in their ranks to loan him out to another team is beyond me, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him starting for West Brom in the coming weeks.
For Spurs, this highlights something rather uncomfortable – for all I didn’t think much of Van Der Vaart’s contribution whilst he was on the pitch, we did miss him when he went off – visibly so. Sandro followed him off the pitch, Jenas came on, and the structure went to pieces.
Jan Vertonghen is looking like a very shrewd piece of business indeed, I thought he was outstanding today. Twice he could have scored, finding himself in a scoring position, and at the back he made a series of important blocks and linked well with Benny. Elsewhere, Sigurdsson and Bale made some nice shapes with their passing after the Icelander came on, showing hints of the promise they showed together in pre-season. Adebayor also looked lively up front, though the fact that he’s not fully match fit yet hampered what could have been a brilliant start to the game if his presence in the last half hour had been combined with Bale and Lennon’s performances in the first half hour.
What is clear is that this isn’t Andre Villas-Boas’ team yet though. There was no drive through the centre of the park. Sandro and Livermore together had West Brom all but neutralised for much of that match, but going forward they offered relatively little. There is transfer business yet to be done, clearly, and whilst I’m not sure it does anyone any good to ruminate on possible names coming in, the likes of Moutinho, Dembele, Niang, Varela, Willian, M’Vila, would all strengthen the team in one way or another. It goes without saying that a Luka Modric that wanted to play for the club would be just what we needed to plug the gap, but the less said about that little saga the better as far as I’m concerned. I will say however that I think his eventual transfer will be the domino that topples a lot of activity.
If we are to play to AVB’s style, we are going to need players AVB can use in those roles. It’s only natural. And whilst they’re not there yet, I have confidence that they will be. Which leads me onto my final point…
I am currently avoiding the #thfc hashtag on twitter after games, as it is just too embarrassing. AVB and this squad need time to gel together. New signings, new manager, new system, new era at the club. We’ve got a relatively young team, so let them grow together. You can’t just buy a cutting edge if you’re a club with the stature and spending power of Tottenham Hotspur, and the way the fans’ expectations appear to have shot up in recent seasons makes me uncomfortable as a Spurs fan. What do I expect from this season? A season of transition. I think you’d be foolish to expect anything else.
Yes, once again, Daniel Levy is more like Daniel Leave-It-Late in the transfer market, but you have to get behind your team as we move from one system to the other and learn to accept that we simply cannot punch at the same weight as the Manchester clubs or Chelsea in the transfer market – or at least, certainly not on a regular basis. Harry Redknapp would never have offered us long term progression, and it was always clear from the very minute of his original appointment that this day would come.
Audere Est Facere, guys, it’s in the flaming motto! To Dare is To Do. Let’s give them a chance, yes? Calling for dramatic action like sacking AVB and/or Levy isn’t going to help anybody. So sit down please, you’re making the rest of us look daft.
Besides, you’ve got to admit the man looks damn good in a suit…