Before Tottenham’s defeat in the North London derby, fans were ecstatic. Up until that moment, everything appeared to be coming up in their favour. Unfortunately, it didn’t last and the Gunners provided Andre Villas-Boas’ boys with a stark reminder that they wouldn’t have things all their way this season.
The result game as something as a surprise as it seemed to defy all the pre-game rhetoric, punditry and nonsense that preceded the fixture. Just about everybody expected Spurs to coast to a victory over the Gunners. I’m sure even Arsenal fans will admit, given what had come before, that they were surprised by the result (and the performance).
Spurs had built up a wave of good feeling and it looked like they were going to ride it for some time. Indeed, Tottenham won their first two games (with admittedly unspectacular performances) and looked extremely well placed for the coming season.
There was a certain robustness about Tottenham’s performances that stood out. With the likes of Moussa Dembele, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho bossing the midfield, Spurs are now a physically imposing proposition. What’s more, after his summer of spending, Andre Villas-Boas’s squad now has excellent strength in depth.
So why didn’t Spurs win the North London derby?
There are a few reasons. The foremost is that Arsenal were the better team on the day. The Gunners midfield simply sparkles with creativity and Tottenham’s industrious team couldn’t stop them from crafting opportunities.
Then there’s the fact that it was more or less a ‘must win’ game for Arsenal (who had plenty to lose), whilst this was not really the case for Tottenham.
Finally, I think it’s fair to say that the Gareth Bale saga has affected the club like a bad head-cold. No matter what the players say, losing your best player has a bid effect on a team. He was the focal point of the team last year and it seems that Roberto Soldado still needs some time to adapt to the Premier League.
What’s more, with all Tottenham’s new additions, it’s going to take some time for the team as a whole to gel. You can’t simply throw 8 new players together and expect them to perform. It’s going to take time.
Whilst players have been easy to come by, you get the feeling that time and patience will be harder for Andre Villas-Boas to buy this season. These new signings have built up levels of expectation at White Hart Lane.
Nothing less than fourth place is good enough. That, however may be one step too far for Spurs this season.
What’s your take? What can Tottenham achieve this year?
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