The Rise And Stalemate Of Tottenham

Heading into 2010, the sky seemed to be the limit for Tottenham. After a few rough seasons and tough times, Tottenham began to make a name for itself as a top-flight club and European powerhouse, finishing fourth in the Premiership, and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1984. Unfortunately for the Hotspur’s they became the poster boys for the well-known saying: “what goes up must come down”. The fans at White Hart Lane would soon witness the fall of their up and coming club quicker than they expected or would’ve liked. Currently sitting in fourth place, two points ahead of defending champions Chelsea, manager Harry Redknapp has admitted it would take a miracle for Tottenham to duplicate last seasons success and finish within the top four.

Offense and Defense were key components to last years success, after scoring sixty-seven goals and allowing forty-one, Tottenham has struggled in both departments. After Tuesday’s shock defeat against twelfth placed Blackpool, the teams’ strikers have accounted for only seven of their thirty-eight goals. Redknapp and Tottenham faithful were all psyched up for 2010, the English manager secured the services of Netherlands star Rafael Van der Vaart, William Gallas, and Sandro. The signing of Gallas was intended to shore up an already stellar defense, it has been the opposite for the Spurs. The back four has allowed thirty-one goals through 27 games, with eleven games remaining, last years mark of 41 will most likely be surpassed. Although Van der Vaart has excelled in England with ten goals and seven assists, he hasn’t been able to help out the teams’ top three strikers; Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Niko Kranjar, and the departed Robbie Keane (on loan to West Ham). Crouch, Kranjar, and Keane have each struggled but neither of their troubles compare to Defoe’s. The England international marks the biggest drop off on the goal front from a year ago. The twenty-eight year old has yet to score this season, but managed to find the back of the net 18 times in 2009. Despite the teams current mishaps, the development of Gareth Bale and success in Europe has been the teams only bright spot in a dark season.

In the months leading up to the January transfer window Bale played his way to the top of every managers wish list. After putting in a string of strong performances, opposing managers found themselves abandoning their current game plans and revamping them in order to prepare for the Welshman. Only twenty-one years old, Bale has developed into a game changer with lightning quick speed, incredible vision, pace, and a rocket of a shot that has made him seem unstoppable. Playing in Europe’s toughest competition has allowed Bale to improve on all aspects, and he has undoubtedly become Redknapps most lethal weapon, and prized asset. In such a shot time the young defender has become a prominent figure in European football.

After twenty-six years from their last appearance in the Champions League, the Hotspur’s showed no signs of stage fright. The premiership squad advanced past the playoff round with ease, proceeding to the group stage for the first time in club history. Tottenham continued it’s European dominance leading the group with eighteen points, well ahead of defending champions Inter Milan. Before falling to Blackpool in league action, Crouch led the Spurs passed AC Milan in the first leg of the knockout stages. Regrettably for fans and the squad itself, Tottenham’s European success hasn’t transferred to the domestic stage. For the Hotspur’s to remain in the Champions League they must put aside their troubles and finish ahead of Chelsea for fourth place in the premiership. This might be Tottenham’s last chance to remove itself from the mediocrity label under Harry Redknapp. The manager has been dubbed as a potential possibility to take control of the English squad once Fabio Capello’s reign is over.

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