I’m much more annoyed about an away defeat against the Hammers than I am a Carling Cup hammering by the Gooners. It’s fine to prioritise some competitions over others but not if you can’t get a result in the bigger game.
What’s particularly annoying about the West Ham result is that you could see it coming, couldn’t you? We beat them home and away every year. They haven’t had a win in the league all season. Their keeper has become a national laughing stock. Cue defeat, cue wonder save, cue mass navel gazing by Tottenham fans everywhere as we ask: what is going on with our team this season?
The tea leaves are hard to read. Won two, drawn two, lost two. It’s definitely below par, but so far all the top teams have been except Chelsea and Arsenal (and they didn’t have particularly good days either). But with City’s result it’s becoming clear, I think. They are the team who’s coat-tails we need to hang on to. I’m starting to doubt that we can. Not because we’ve suddenly turned rubbish – on the contrary, we’ve been absolutely great at times this season. And it doesn’t look like we were that bad against the Hammers. A truly fantastic move from Lennon and Modric would have led to a goal nine times out of ten, and Huddlestone missed where Sandra would have burst the net. It’s just that we’re so damn schizophrenic. We’ll probably turn in a cracking performance against Twente this midweek, and maybe even sneak a win against Villa. But if we do, we’ll lose against Fulham away.
Meanwhile, I can’t see City dropping points against Newcastle at home and Blackpool away. They really are starting to look like a top four team now and the top level experience in their squad is frightening. We don’t look like a team that can put consistent runs of wins together, and in that respect we haven’t really changed. Even our glorious run at the end of last season consisted of only one away win – the key game at Eastlands. And whilst losing to Burnley didn’t really matter in the context of the season, perhaps it served as a reminder of our true place. You know that when Tottenham put a run of results together, it’s a good team at their peak, not a really good team at their true level. Perhaps “the era of new Tottenham has passed”. Perhaps they’ll always sink back down again.
Harsh, perhaps. We’re still my tip for 5th. It’s not about sliding down into the dank subsoil of the premier league jungle. Liverpool fans must at least be contemplating the possibility that they are worm food and it’s not so bad for us. It’s just that our true level hasn’t really changed. Lying in wait just below the canopy so that we can soak up the sun when it breaks through now and again.
I haven’t seen any evidence yet to suggest we can really make a long term break through. As I’m in the mood for metaphors from the natural world, here’s another one. For now we look like the vultures of the Champions League spots. Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, be warned. If you’re having a weak and sorry wreck of a season we will haul you down and pick at your carcass. You may never make it back to the land of the living. We’re there, hovering, circling, watching, ready to swoop. But unless the prey is already weak we can’t really hurt it. It’s looking like the vultures may go hungry this year.
We’ll just have to carrion picking up points where we can and hope I’m wrong about City. The only saving grace is that if I were a blue moon blogger, I’d probably be saying very similar things about my own team’s schizoid tendencies. Actually, the other saving grace is that I’m wrong about lots of things, all of the time.
Anyway. Champions League football at the Lane on Wednesday. Mustn’t grumble.