The anomaly festers
From March 2011 (Interim results and Chairman's statement):
The statistics will show how fiercely competitive the Premier League now is. We shall look back and be disappointed with our form against clubs in the bottom quarter of the table if we fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League at the end of this season. It has been in these fixtures where we have taken fewer points than any other team in the Premier League and this is the anomaly in what has otherwise been one of our greatest ever seasons.
How best to fix the anomaly?
Is the problem truly one that can be resolved by replacing our forwards with some of genuine world class ability? Or is there a general stagnation of coaching and ideas from Harry and his back room staff? Have we over-complicated formation and strategy? Not highlighted complacency quick enough? Are we perhaps going through the motions on the training pitch? Or are we allowing emotion to cloud our judgement? Victims of a lull of form or the result of degradation that has been festering for a while?
Redknapp got us into the Champions League. Whether this was an expectancy based on the players we possessed is something that's been discussed many times before (the thinking being it was hardly a miracle achieved). It's a fine line between success and what many would deem failure and this season, there is (even though 6 points separate us) not a lot between us and City. Even with the anomalies we could have made it back into the CL, still leaving us with questions unanswered whether Harry can once more reclaim an uncomplicated system, style and swagger next year without the odd anomaly holding us back.
With CL nigh impossible, it's now all assumptions around the fact that what we are seeing at the moment are issues that can not be resolved. Harry apparently distracted by the media game he plays, even though there hasn't been a season in his career where he hasn't taken part in it.
Next season is monumental. We took a risk on him in the first place and it worked. It's worth another gamble? Or not? As I mentioned in my last blog, it's a collective failure this season. But then such a failure always rests on the shoulders of the gaffer. Then again, it depends what you class as a failure. You might be content, much like Levy might be when remembering how he cited that CL would not be possible season in season out. Which would point towards another season of Harry at the very least.
Discuss amongst yourselves.