Rebuilt Spurs have all to prove this season against Arsenal and co.
Apparently, it’s been decided by universal acclaim that Tottenham have been more than a bit canny about the inevitability of losing their star player, and astutely got all of the buying to replace him done before every selling club realises that they’re loaded with the dosh from the deal. On top of that, it’s also widely accepted that they’ve ‘spent well.’ They’ve recruited a number of players to fill out their squad, spreading the quality. All praise to AVB and Franco Baldini. Hang on a minute though. Just what is this acclaim based on?
Although they’ve handed out a pasting in the preliminary round of the Europa League, their form in the Premier League has not really been the stuff to set tongues ablaze with talk of challenging for the title. A scrappy one nil victory away to the whipping boys-elect of the league, Crystal Palace, in the opening game of the campaign, was followed by a stodgy victory by the same score at White Hart Lane over the weekend against Swansea City. A team remember that was plundered for four goals by Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium the previous weekend. I have to admit that I haven’t seen much of the game against Swansea on Sunday, but I’ve read a couple of report suggesting that a draw would not have flattered the Welsh club.
Let’s not be sniffy about the outcome though. The net result of the two games is a healthy six points, coupled with two clean sheets. The slightly worrying aspect however is that Spurs have still to find the net from any position other than the penalty spot; both games having been decided by new – Bale-funded – Spanish striker Soldado from twelve yards. For a team that finished last season worryingly over-reliant on the goals from Bale, this should be a little disconcerting at the very least.
It may of course work out that in the fullness of time, Spurs’ purchases will prove to be just what everybody – well, almost everybody – is declaring them to be already. That is, the element to lift the club’s aspirations to the level of expecting to qualify for the Champions League on a regular basis. With the evidence of a mere two scrappy victories in what should be ‘nod through’ games for clubs with lofty ambitions of Europe’s premier club tournament, all that is to hand at the moment however, I’m prepared to wait awhile for a little more confirmation before declaring my hand.
A test for the new-look Tottenham squad will come when they meet top class opposition for the first time. Playing Arsenal over the weekend comes to mind. Knocking over teams that you are expected to beat is one thing, but to step up to the next level, you need to win games against clubs with similar ambitions. Until that happens, I think the jury is still out on the rebuilt Spurs.
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