Happy with Harry?
If you frequent Spurs message boards you'll have probably seen the rather special version of the league table with the Lilywhites sitting pretty in 7th place. What's that? We're not seventh? Oh yes we are. If the Premiership began on October 21st we'd be just three points behind Arsenal and seven points off a Champions League place. This alternate reality is one I would very much like to visit. Next season, yeah?
As superfluous as this table of accumulated points since Redknapp's arrival is in the real world, it does illustrate that we haven't done too badly under his man-management. Even more so when you consider that the reason we didn't pull ourselves out of the mire sooner was due to that dismal patch of successive away games that saw us lose points in the dying moments. Lack of concentration that has since been fixed.
It's taken some time to get here. Where here is, I can't say for certain, but it's better than sitting in or just above the bottom three. If anything, for psychological reasons. We can still be pulled back, but it's unlikely. Class, it seems, always manages to shine through in the end.
At times it didn't look likely, but that's more down to our lack of patience and general emotional knee-jerks. Whether you like Harry and his media-whoring or not, there is no doubt that he (unlike 'couldn't wait to get the hell out of here' Ramos) appears to care a little bit more about progression even if he does have his own personal agenda. Who cares as long as Spurs improve as a team.
The Honeymoon Period
When you sack a manager and bring in a new one you are reliant on the textbook reaction players tend to give when there's a new man at the helm, but that is not always enough. Thankfully, Harry got us plenty of points which arguably become the foundation to re-build the confidence of the team. That's plenty of points in games we did not really expect to win or even draw. Did we ride our luck? Yes. But luck tends to fall into your lap when you go out seeking for it. Prior to his arrival we looked a sorry bunch, completely absorbed in our own self pity.
Fortress White Hart Lane
We still need to turn some of the draws into wins, but we are no longer a soft touch at home. Get points at the Lane, and half of the job is done. It's the basis of any team looking to do well. In our case we needed to the points thanks largely to the fact that our away form required major surgery, which took several weeks to complete.
I doubt Aaron is playing well because Spurs spent £15M on David Bentley. His (Bentleys) performances will not exactly inspire others to excel. Harry should take the plaudits for getting Lennon back on song. Absolutely no doubting it, he'll be the fans player of the year this term. Under Ramos, Lennon was one dimensional and without intent and purpose. Under Harry he has been a relentlessly outlet of speed and not so perfect but getting there end-product. It's the best we've seen from the lad.
Addressing the fundamentals
No steel in midfield? In comes Wilson. Need something extra up front? In comes Defoe. As a consequence of his injury, in came Robbie Keane too. How both will fit in when JD is back from his lay-off will take some hefty man-management skills to resolve but it's something I'm certain Harry will deal with, let's say, diplomatically. His handling of the Gomes situation, equally impressive. Signing Cudicini was an inspired choice as we can finally say there's competition for the number one jersey. Modric found himself finally playing in a position that allows him dictate and create. King playing in Prem games rather than UEFA matches. Jenas and Zokora more responsible when tasked with 'jobs to do'.
Harry has tinkered here there and everywhere to find the right balance through the team. With a little bit of luck and confidence returning, the team has naturally improved with each passing game. The Chimbonda signing (decent cover if he bothers to stick the effort in) might be the only shrug thus far. But (even those its a mockery) re-signing Keane has proved to be a justified transfer.
Took some tweaking to settle for his 'best' 11, but seems to understand the necessity of retaining a consistent team selection - one that can grow in terms of effectiveness with each passing game. I'm repeating myself.
He doesn't squad rotate for the sake of it. Liked how he subbed Zokora for Corluka the other day when it become apparent that Zoko could not cope with Young. Compare that to some of Juande's random subs. And there seems to be a far more evident game plan. Yes, we've had to endure one or two 4-5-1's here and there. But that was a stop-gap rather than a solution.
Overall, he is doing the job he was paid to do. At the start of next season he won't be able to remind us (about 6000 times per week) that Spurs only had 2 points when he joined. What happens in the summer (and yes, I do know this season still has a few games to go) will be vital. He should not look to overhaul the squad. Maybe one or two key changes, but starting from scratch is best avoided. We have a decent defence. Decent forward line-up. It just needs a bit of tweaking here and there.
What do we do with David Bentley? This season is a complete write-off, but discarding him would be callous and a little premature. Even if he has been a non-event on the pitch. Once he starts doing the basics and playing like a footballer rather than attempting to be a superstar, things will come good for him.
King? Retiring? Don't believe the twisted rumours. He'll continue to be our part-time God at the back. Gareth Bale reclaiming form a priority IMO.
And as for dos Santos and Adel? Like to see both of them back at the Lane and in the first team squad. £4.7M is a lot of money to spend on a mistake. He should be given the opportunity in a more stable side. Adel is a player who needs to start more games. I'm hoping he has a storming loan at QPR.
Bent is likely to go. All eyes on Pav who needs to show us all what he is capable of after a good summers rest. I'm hoping he has a bit more buzz about him when 100% sharp.
Personally, and I'm sure most would agree, the most important thing is how we handle ourselves in the transfer market. We've overspent on the wrong type of players far too many times. But with no DoF and having re-signed (almost) everyone we sold the summer before - it's down to both Harry and Levy to make sure that we bring in players because they are unequivocally required.
I'll concern myself with all these points of discussion again after we see ourselves through the final 9 games of the season.