Football

Tottenham have slipped back into mediocrity - can they get back?

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11th February 2012. Tottenham Hotspur have just beaten Newcastle United 5-0 at White Hart Lane in possibly the best performance from any team so far that season. Newcastle were a good side - 6th at the time and they would go on to finish 5th - but they were torn apart by a Tottenham side who, at the end of day, would be in 3rd place, five points behind top of the table Manchester City and ten clear of nearest rivals Arsenal who were in 4th.

It would be hard for any team to surpass the performance against Newcastle, but it was a culmination of many acts committed by that Harry Redknapp side. They really were the entertainers and in 2010 they were the first club outside the then top four monopoly of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal to break into that elite.

Those four aforementioned clubs had occupied those spots for six of the seven seasons before Spurs crashed in - with Everton being the exception in 2005 before messing around the league table in the years thereafter.

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I and others would always look forward to watching them on television and look out for their results, hoping they could be an alternative in the title race, especially with the way they played the game. The squad featuring Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Rafael Van der Vaart, Nico Kranjcar, Jermaine Defoe, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker in full flow were a sight to behold.

But now Tottenham are the forgotten team. Despite finishing in a respectable fifth last season only the emergence of Harry Kane was enough to remind us that they still existed. If it was Roberto Soldado who had scored all those goals instead of the young, white English hope of Kane then I doubt they would have got half the coverage.

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Who cares about coverage, just get on with the football would be a reasonable response to that, but Spurs really were forgetful. Nearly all the players from Redknapp’s era have gone, while the new ones have not gelled and would not have got into that side.

I think that even the trivial saga of Tottenham rarely playing on a Saturday 3pm or otherwise is a factor in this. Whether they have Europa League on the Thursday or not they are nearly always playing on a Sunday.

It is looking like current boss Mauricio Pochettino is trying to build a new young side with an English core to it with Kieran Trippier coming in from Burnley – although whether he will be a regular starter is another matter – but with Kane, Ryan Mason and hopefully Alex Pritchard returning from Brentford, Tottenham can give their fans AND neutrals something to cheer about; and a side to rival the flamboyance and relative success of the Redknapp years.

Can Tottenham ever break into the top four again?

Follow @rickyhornchurch

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Topics:
Mauricio Pochettino
Football
Harry Redknapp
Ryan Mason
Kyle Walker
Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Kieran Trippier
Tottenham Hotspur
Rafael Van der Vaart
Luka Modric
Gareth Bale

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