Will The Real Tottenham Hotspur Please Stand Up?
What on earth is going on at White Hart Lane? Two games into the new Premier League season and Spurs have put together two convincing performances on the trot and have two wins secured.
Liverpool were put to the sword on the opening weekend, despite Rafa’s bleating about penalties, Spurs should have had the game wrapped up at half-time if Robbie Keane had not been quite so profligate in front of goal. Then Hull were dispatched in a manner that displayed a growing confidence amongst the Tottenham players.
As an Arsenal fan whose brother is a Tottenham supporter I have always had a strange curiosity regarding our North London rivals, their endless optimism in the face of false dawns was something that was almost endearing at times. The question now though is, are Spurs the real deal? I have a horrible suspicion they might be.
Since Harry Redknapp’s arrival last term Tottenham have found a fluidity to their play and a hunger that was not prevalent during Juane Ramos’ brief time at the Lane. Spurs have long been capable of putting in big performances against the big teams, so I wasn’t that surprised by the Liverpool result, to follow it up by swatting aside Hull like they did though was very impressive.
Granted, Hull defended like they had all spent too much time on Phil Brown’s sunbed but Tottenham were ruthless in their execution on Wednesday. Quick on the counter, breaking in numbers and a virtuoso display from Jermain Defoe all point to big progress for them this season.
Harry Redknapp has acquired a plethora of attacking players and the variety that the quartet of Keane, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and Crouch offers means they can change their style for the requirements of individual opponents.
What has also been striking about Tottenham’s play is the balance that has been struck in the midfield. Palacios provides steel but defensive discipline that was beyond the ken of the frustrating Didier Zokora. His partnership alongside Huddlestone has already shown promise, but their are players in reserve like Jenas that can also do a job.
It is early in the season but Luka Modric finally seems to have grapsed the pace of the Premier League and can be the dictator of play that Tottenham believed he could be when they signed him. He was not bad last season but certainly did not show the influence he had when playing for his national side and for club side Dinamo Zagreb.
Key to Tottenham’s season will be how many times they can get Ledley King out on the pitch and fit. I am not sure he is quite as good as the likes of Jamie Redknapp will have you believe but there is no doubt he exudes an authority that players at Spurs respond to.
Again, Spurs have options in defence, they have enjoyed collecting a harem of full backs over the last number of seasons so will not be found particularly wanting on the flanks. But, when King is out of the side the heart of the defence looks a little bit suspect.
Heurelho Gomes is not the best friend of a football fan with a dodgy heart but to take away all sense of impending calamity from White Hart Lane would spoil the fun. Tottenham fans like it exciting and Redknapp has certainly given them that but he has also instilled a greater sense of stability. His transfers this summer have been astute and not too flashy and Spurs seem alot more together than at this point last season.
The Jekyll and Hyde show that Tottenham have often embraced looks to be consigned to the past and this season offers them an opportunity with the squad they have to prove their detractors wrong. It is going to be an interesting season on the Seven Sister’s Road and ‘Arry Redknapp may be the man to guide Tottenham to greater heights.