Tottenham suffered a big set-back last weekend, losing to Fulham 1-0 thanks to a goal from ex-Spurs man Dimitar Berbatov.
Last season it was arguably one loss, a 5-2 reverse against Arsenal, which caused Tottenham to capitulate and end up finishing below their north London rivals, which in turn, forced them to miss out on Champions League football. Overall a 10-point gap was conceded to Arsenal, leaving Tottenham fans devastated.
This season looked just as promising for Tottenham with regards to finishing above Arsenal. This was until their loss at Anfield at the hands of Liverpool. Coupled with Sunday’s loss to Fulham the signs are that a classics Spurs slump is on its way again. However, Tottenham are stronger than last year so can they hold off the challenge and finish in the top four?
Their players are a year older; but it’s not simply age that has helped this team to mature. The introduction of Andres Villas-Boas as manager has changed something for Tottenham.
Harry Redknapp, is a wonderful man manager, the job he did at Tottenham has to be lauded as an amazing feat, taking them from the relegation zone to a top four finish, twice in four years, but AVB has something he doesn’t.
AVB is a tactician. If he had come in to Spurs when Harry came in, I don’t think he would have succeeded at the same pace that Harry did, because the players weren’t happy. Harry changed the mentality, and Tottenham started doing well.
AVB on the other hand has taken over a spurs side full of confidence, that has strength in depth, and has helped them believe that a top three finish is possible.
There has been a shift in power in North London, from red to white. People have said that for the last two years, but since AVB has taken over, and Robin Van Persie has left Arsenal, the statement carries more weight than ever before.
Gareth Bale has been in scintillating form this season, scoring 16 goals in 26 starts for Spurs.
Tottenham are going to be hard pushed to keep him this summer. But, Tottenham isn’t simply a one-man team. Bale’s form certainly helps Tottenham in every game he plays, but they don’t have a mentality of ‘send him the ball whenever we get it’.
AVB has taught them pass, move, run. Something he tried to do at Chelsea, but wasn’t given enough time to do so - a fact that Tottenham fans will be thankful for.
Tottenham’s manager will utilise the squad’s strength and ability to ensure this dip in form turns around and they will secure third place and, with it, automatic entrance into the Champions League next season.
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