The new-look Spurs will hope to complete the final third of their season with more consistent play, less injuries, and less distractions than the dying months of the 2011/12 campaign. 

On February 1 2011, Tottenham were 13 points clear of their north London rivals in third place, with a Champions League spot almost guaranteed. They looked more likely to pose a threat to the two Manchester clubs at that time, and nobody could see Arsenal causing them problems. 

Ten days later, despite a 5-0 thumping of Newcastle United at White Hart Lane, Tottenham were still ten points clear after Arsenal played their game in hand. 

Gunners fans everywhere began cancelling their St. Totteringham's Day celebrations.

Then it all fell apart.

It took a replay for Spurs to beat League One side Stevenage in the FA Cup and defeats to Manchester United, Everton and the 5-2 loss to Arsenal, marred the next two months for Tottenham. 

Off the pitch, Harry Redknapp's tax evasion case and then his seemingly inevitable move to become England's new manager took the focus away from the team, and meant the players started to ask questions about their manager's loyalty, rather than concentrating on their league form. 

Likewise, Luka Modric's discontent took centre stage all too often in the media, and 24 separate injuries over the course of the season, resulting in an astounding 1,450 days lost to injury (only topped by Manchester United in the Premier League) made it impossible for the first-team to maintain any sort of rhythm.

Over the final two months of the 2011/12 season, Spurs managed only 13 points from a possible 24 in their fixtures, losing to Norwich City and QPR.

This allowed not only Arsenal, but also Newcastle to leap-frog Tottenham by late April.

From there, Spurs were tasked with holding on to the Europa League spot whilst fighting a lost cause to regain their Champions League place.

By the season's end, they had regained the fourth spot in the table, only to be demoted to the Europa League by Chelsea's improbable Champions League victory. 

A season that started with such promise ended with few successes.

Fast-forward to the 2012/13 season, and much has changed at Spurs. Having said goodbye to Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart, Ledley King and manager Redknapp, the Lilywhites were looking to the future.

The hiring of Andre Villas-Boas raised some eyebrows and some social media know-it-alls showed their disgust, but Tottenham's positive early season form, even with injuries to key players, quietened most of the doubters. 

Factoring in the smart signings of Jan Vertonghen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Moussa Dembele, Hugo Lloris, Clint Dempsey and new-boy Lewis Holtby, this new-look Spurs squad has strength in numbers.

With 12 players permanently departing White Hart Lane from last year, their form has not been disrupted.

Yet, this squad still shows depth in attacking with the pace of wingers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, whilst Scott Parker and Moussa Dembele are available to orchestrate the middle of the park.

Whilst Clint Dempsey has been brought in to help clinical finisher Jermain Defoe, Jan Vertonghen has proven to be their most impressive signing with his form in the back-four. 

Kyle Walker continues to improve his already brilliant play, and once Younes Kaboul returns from injury, Tottenham will brag of an embarrassment of defensive riches to go along with a dangerous midfield and striking core.

With this improved squad, there is still a lot at stake this season, domestically and in Europe. 

Currently fourth in the Premier League, Spurs must avoid a repast of last year's collapse to hold on to a Champion's League spot. 

Personnel like Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto have missed extended periods of time, but are due to return to help Tottenham secure Champions League qualification. 

And with Gareth Bale on fire once again, Spurs will prove a difficult opponent to French table-toppers Lyon in the upcoming Europa League fixtures. 

Hopefully, the recent draw at Carrow Road will serve as a reminder to the team that vital late-season points must be fought for and earned. They only need to look back to last season for a reminder of what happens when you lose focus and concentration.

 

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Topics:
Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League
Gareth Bale
Clint Dempsey