Should Spurs aim for a trophy or a top four place was the question I asked in my last blog. The question I should have asked is why bother asking that question in the first place.
In terms of this season, we should still aim for a top four place but there isn't much hope because we remain light years away from an identifiable style of play whereas the competition are hitting their stride with swagger (or whatever passes for it within their own footballing tradition).
The fact we have remained so close to the teams above us for most of the season is an illusion of hope. If there is no momentum with how we line-up and take to a game there is likely to be no momentum from one game to the next.
There is nothing to build on. There are cracks in the foundations. They say a cowboy has been given the job of a short term re-design. Judging by the amount of despondency aimed at all involved, there's more than the one cowboy. It's like the wild west out there. Tumbleweeds and broken spurs on boots.
The 4-0 victory away to Newcastle was a blip. One where the comfort of attaining all three points was exaggerated. They had no answer to our shape on the day and we preferred to gloss over the fact that Hugo Lloris was pivotal between the sticks. It could have been a different story if the hosts were not so wasteful.
We've muddled through most of our games this season including the ones under Tim Sherwood, even though his points accumulation since taking over has been impressive. Are we guilty of dressing up the performances much like some of us did with Andre Villas-Boas?
We looked structured against a poor Pardew team and then ineffectual away to what was meant to be a poor Norwich side. Important players like Sandro and Kaboul spend more time on the sidelines than they do in the line-up. The assimilation of our seven new players has been nothing short of a textbook play by play on how to further stagnate a team already in the midst of stagnation.
Every recent match report I've written has practically been the same match report repeated. There isn't anything new to analyse, it's the same issues that stand before us each time. Such is the fragility of the supporters, we are now stereotypes personified - feeling overwhelmingly good after a win and then suicidal after a loss. Erraticism rules us.
This season has completely drained me and that is quite a depressing realisation considering how often I embrace optimism.
The first half at Norwich was so bad I spent most of it day dreaming about travelling out to the Amazonian jungle (specifically Peru) to visit a Shaman and spend a week partaking in four to six Ayahuasca ceremonies where I would purge all my deepest darkest thoughts from the depths of my subconscious mind and come face to face with my true self - my ego completely detached from my soul - where I would ask the most pertinent of spiritual questions...why Tottenham Hotspur?
Why forsake my existence by burdening me with this club where I have to spend most of my time indulging in satire and self-deprecation to get me through one week to the next and one season to the next?
I'd balance out the evenings spent with Ayahuasca with a slice of San Pedro (cactus) during the day, to lighten the mood. The point being, my existence will make far more sense on psychedelics than it does when completely sober. I'll be so high, I'll smack the top of my head on the roof of the universe. If the ancient aliens can't answer my questions whilst I carry the weight of responsibility of what it would be like to have birthed the big bang - then nobody can.
I'm serious about Peru (aside from wanting any Spurs related question answered). Currently researching shaman. If you have any info to share - use the contact us form.
The second half improved. The chances we had didn't in terms of quality of execution. Yet another Roberto Soldado shot that lacked composure when he should have at the very least got it on target. Have we actually signed the same player that ripped it up in La Liga? Or has someone tricked us into paying for a knock-off moody look-a-like clone made up of Rebrov and Postiga DNA?
He looks completely broken, so much so that he has the aura of a man that knows he'll never score again. His brain has re-wired his muscles making it physically impossible for him to react instinctively. You know how sometimes you just know something about someone just by looking at his face? Soldado looks like an empty shell. He's left it all back in Spain. There isn't even an opportunity for a tap-in aided by a slice of luck to perk up his confidence. Even tap-in bounce up and over the bar.
I still refuse to give up on him because you don't suddenly lose the technical abilities you have displayed for seasons over night. He's still a quality player. He's just not one of those for us. The aforementioned Rebrov scored some absolute screamers pre-Spurs. Sometimes, the shoe doesn't fit.
Emmanuel Adebayor was equally guilty with less than glorious moments of intent. Twice over hitting the ball when a better touch was needed to control it, twice could have scored or at the very least had a convincing shot on goal. He didn't do that much wrong elsewhere, moving into space. So much space in fact that he could have built a station and star gazed. He'd have needed a telescopic to see any given team mate. A worm-hole his only chance of the ball finding its way to his feet.
Norwich still looked more likely to score again when pushing forward.
Again? Yes again. Sorry, did I forget to mention they took the lead early in the second half? 1-0. That's how it finished.
They also struck the woodwork with a brilliant free-kick. To be fair, they looked a side that knew exactly what it was they were meant to be doing and at what tempo they were supposed to be doing it at. They gave us problems when in possession whereas we gave ourselves problems regardless of where the ball was. Our tempo non-existent. Like dark matter. We know it exists, it's probably right in front of us, but we can't see it.
Spurs always charitable to a side desperate to win. Ironic how we rested most of the first team when travelling to the Ukraine, a game we lost, to only play like a team that resembled one that walked to Dnipro and back.
Tired players? Isn't that always the story post-Europa League? Any shape we aspired to keep was taken away when Capoue was subbed very early (due to injury) meaning the dynamics of the midfield shifted detrimentally...yet there was no evidence of the team adapting to the change. To think this was only against Norwich City.
Where was the craft and guile?
Why no Christian Eriksen? Granted, there's more than just having a single player in the middle and proclaiming he will make the all important difference but having one single player with the ability to invent and conjure is better than having zero players. One of the most repeated soundbites pre-AVB sacking was 'players need time to settle'. We're not even affording them time to do that. In fact, the players that were here before the summer signings arrived still don't really know what they're meant to be doing.
Play Eriksen in the hole, in midfield, starting out left...wherever, whatever, just play him. It's better than relying on Adebayor to do everything up front or praying that we'd somehow find a rhythm without a conductor.
Where's the fighting spirit? How about respecting the crest on the shirt rather than the appearance money transferred into a players bank account? How about a game plan? One that works against better organised sides rather than just the woeful ones (Newcastle). Even Andre Villas-Boas had one of those.
Jan Vertonghen wants out? Oh the irony of wanting Champions League and yet doing very little to get it whilst living in the actual moment. You know the moment we are all living now - the football that is being played and still needs to be played. Footballers fretting about the here and now rather than focusing on alternative colours for next season instead is probably too much to ask.
Considering how fabricated most football articles and stories are, once in a while I wish professional footballers would balance out the lies with more lies. Just tell everyone 'I'm committed to this club, we're going to battle to the death' rather than these pathetic side-steps of apologetic crap, dropping gentle hint-bombs of encouragement to agents and clubs abroad. Don't leave any possibly for a quote to be misquoted. All it serves to do is further detach me from giving a **** about footballers running around with my crest on their shirt. We all know loyalty doesn't exist outside of the fanbase, but bloody hell, at least pretend it does whilst you've got Lilywhite on your back.
Kyle Naughton taking corner kicks took the biscuit on Sunday. I'd fine any player for hitting the first man at a corner. Weeks wages would cover it. I'd fine myself (if I was the coach) for either instructing Naughton to take them or just letting the players decide during the game. Is Hotspur Way consumed by the Twilight zone where all physics of set-pieces are declared null and void in training?
We are not a team. We're a collection of footballers that co-exist together yet are seemingly constantly apart. No one within the group is looking to claim responsibility as an individual and as a collective. What happened to our team spirit? Have the goings-on this season rattled and jaded the players so much that we're left with the fragmented **** on display at the moment? I keep proclaiming I've given up on the season. Doesn't look like I'm alone.
Thoughts with the travelling away support. Regardless of what they are (mis)treated to, they still sing in support. Leaders off the pitch.
Where is the leadership on it?
Perhaps there is no stopping this unravelling punishing narrative, the story of THFC walking onto a garden rake over and over and over again like Sideshow Bob in that episode of The Simpsons. I laughed at that. I'm not laughing at this.
From the moment we let Harry Redknapp go and took a risk in Andre-Villas Boas the story was always destined for a brain numbing twist. But there was no way of truly knowing it wouldn't work out. Football is risk management at best. You'd hope we've learnt lessons from the past but we are forever repeating them.
ENIC are easy targets and there are good reasons for that. The mismanagement of appointments, cloudy clarity with the clubs footballing ambitions, the lack of transparency with how or what the current director of football system is meant to be doing. Better the devil you know, right? You (most of you and myself) were dead against a move to Statford so allowing a billionaire playboy into the club would also be a short-cut too far. Regardless of the money others have, we have remained competitive but pretty much like the time Redknapp subbed on Parker away to Villa when we should have gone for the win, we remain fearful. Complacent.
We got rid of a coach mid-season and because his position became untenable (the Adebayor story arc, the falling out with Steffen Freund, the disgruntled subtle cries of unhappiness by some of our millionaire players and degradation of the relationship between coach and board leading to AVB's personal implosion that compounded his position to dust) what we are suffering at the moment was and is unavoidable. The rest of the season was never going to be this maddening push up the table. That's what we've been waiting for all season long. It won't happen until there's someone at the helm that pulls everything together - players and fans.
Until we believe we have this - we're not going to progress. The momentum we built up, that rush of blood to the head - that expectancy is frozen in time. It's within reach, it's not lost. Who's going to claim it back?
We have a coach but his appointment comes with uncertainty. The reason this feels like such a waste of a season is because of the high expectations we had for it back in the summer. In reality, we should have written it all off the moment AVB was sacked. Where's the fun in that? As drained and disenchanted as I feel with so much of what the club offers, I don't think football works if it's not driven by faith. Even if that remains a scarce commodity currently.
Six points adrift of Liverpool in 5th, it's going to take a monumental effort to get ahead of them.
Sherwood has a better chance of winning the Europa cup now and yet even that is highly unlikely because there is no direction to our journey. We're like a state of the art sat nav fitted into a sports car with no maps installed on it.