Tottenham currently find themselves 5th in the table with only one win in their last nine matches. Tottenham who were 3rd in the league just before Christmas and seemed to be the only team capable of keeping in the touch with the two Manchester sides, who went on to run away from the rest of the challenging bunch. Tottenham, were, for many people playing the most attractive football in the league including Sir Alex Ferguson, and after 20 games they only failed to score in only one match.
So what happened to Tottenham after Christmas? What was the cause of the sudden drop of form? Many see manager Harry Redknapp being linked with the vacant England post, a job he has always seen as the pinnacle of football management, the main reason for him to lose focus and the teams drop in form. But Harry is a very professional manager and I don’t think it is to blame for Tottenham’s sudden drop in form. Redknapp also had to face court during the season which may have caused Harry a lot of stress and maybe he never regained full focus on the job at hand and that’s what is to blame for the collapse in form, but again I’m not sure it was, yes the case was long and arduous but Redknapp is a tough man and many would feel he would have coped. So what is to blame? Well, Redknapp is the type of manager who likes a strong squad and felt that was the reason of some of Tottenham’s short comings in leagues previous, not being able to qualify for successive Champions League campaigns and not taking the opportunity to fill up the trophy cabinet when the chances were there for Tottenham to grab. So this would mean that Harry would have a strict stance on outgoings of players and would never let his squad to run short, right? Well this didn’t seem to happen in the last transfer window. Tottenham sold four key squad players in January but only signed two, and the two brought in weren’t of better quality then the four that left.
Tottenham’s transfer dealings; January 2012
Louis Saha (Free)
Ryan Nelsen (Free)
Verdan Corluka (Loan)
Steven Pienaar (Loan)
Sebastien Bassong (Loan)
Roman Pavlyuchenko (£8million)
So did Tottenham get value in these signings, they sold two defenders even though they often face injury problems with the first choice central defenders in Ledley King and Michael Dawson, with Verdan Corluka often deputising for the pair alongside other back up choice William Gallas. Sebastien Bassong was always the fifth choice and wanted a move away from Spurs to get some first team action but, like, Corluka he was a versatile defender and could fill in at left back as well.
They also let Pienaar go on loan to his old club Everton after he never really got going at Spurs, but could have offered a lot to Spurs in the closing stages of the season with some of the Tottenham midfielders getting ‘leggy’ in the latter stages of the season. The other player sold was Roman Pavlyuchenko, a player who like Pienaar, never really got going at Spurs and only should his brilliance in little bursts and many fans weren’t too concerned about his departure.
So who replaced these players? Louis Saha came in as backup to Adebayor and Jermain Defoe, but has always struggled with injury during his career and it would be a big ask to fill in long term for an injured Adebayor or Defoe. So what about Ryan Nelsen, he is also prone to injury and at the age of 34 he too couldn’t be asked to fill in long term for Dawson or King.
So it seems these signings weren’t effective enough to cover key roles in the run in for a coveted Champions League spot and in my opinion the main reason Tottenham’s form ran short in the key stage of the season. Tottenham have four games left and are three points behind 4th placed Newcastle United.
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