Phew, that’s finally over.
There was a general sigh of relief on Sunday, the final act of a disappointing season for Spurs. Looking on the bright side at least we don’t support Villa. The visitors provided a salutary lesson that things could be a lot worse. Here we won comfortably to secure sixth place and European football for another year. Villa fans would love disappointment like that.
The team news confirmed that the dream of a last minute surprise cameo appearance by Lamela would be left unfulfilled. On a similar but less high profile note, Capoue was on the bench but didn’t feature. Sherwood picked an all Brazilian centre of Paulinho and Sandro – apparently good enough now. Playing a proper holding midfield player gave Tottenham a much more solid look. If you are playing 4-4-2 you need some power in midfield to stop yourself being overrun.
Paulinho looked much better with his compatriot supporting him, allowing him to get forward more. His performance reminded me of the way he played at Newcastle. There it was Capoue who provided the solid foundation that freed him to play his natural game. As at St. James Park, the Brazilian was amongst the goals. Despite a poor season, he has shown fleeting glimpses of a valuable knack of arriving in the box at just the right time.
Playing Eriksen and Sigurdsson on the wings meant we were relying on our fullbacks to provide width but had the advantage of getting two of our better passers near the strikers. Villa tend to attack through the centre so this selection made some sense – they left our fullbacks free to get forward. Injuries to Townsend, Lamela, Chadli and now Lennon, meant there wasn’t much of an alternative.
It was Eriksen and Sigurdsson’s passing and Paulinho’s movement that created the first goal. The Brazilian scored it in the 14th minute, breaking Spurs’ season long duck in the first 15 minutes of games. A nice passing move involving the two wide-men and a good run from Paulinho gave him the chance. Guzman, in the Villa goal, saved his first attempt but he made sure from the rebound.
It was all too easy, as a sustained spell of pressure saw Baker put the ball into his own net. The third followed shortly after from the penalty spot, when Agbonlahor clearly used his arm to block a Sandro shot. Adebayor calmly converted to erase memories of his miss at West Brom.
After a fantastic first half in which Tottenham could easily have scored more than three, the second half was a bit of a non-event. It was good to see Veljkovic replace the tiring Sandro. I would have liked to have seen him get more game time in some of our recent matches, especially when we were short for numbers in the centre.
Towards the end there was a curious incident involving a fan. Apparently a supporter behind the dugout had been shouting instructions at Sherwood for weeks, so the manager decided to pull him out of the crowd, give him his gilet and let him have a go at managing the team. It’s clear Sherwood knows this was his last game in the hot-seat and his dealings with the media have sounded more and more like an advert for his services of late.
This was a very positive end to a frustrating and disjointed season. We have one more important date after Ledley King’s testimonial – supporting Hull in next weeks FA Cup final. It should be a fascinating summer, as we watch several of our players in World Cup action, find out who our next manager is going to be and see who will be coming back for next season. I don’t think the squad is actually that bad and with a year of Premier League experience under our newer signing’s belts and a half decent manager, who knows what could happen?
Oh dear, there’s that hope again.
Read who’s won the ABP Tottenham End of Season Awards this year.
What did you think of the match? Do you want Sherwood to stay? Please leave your comments in the section below.
Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs
The Europa League; ooh yeah! Slovenia’s Premier League, show us what you’ve got!
Exactly. However I am glad we’re in it.
As long as we get a manager that can rotate the squad properly I think playing in the Europa is no bad thing… 6th is about where we deserve this season and as you say, things could be a lot worse.
1. Additional chance to quality for CL.
2. Chance to keep reserve players match-fit in case first choice XI start breaking down as they tend to do 2/3 of the way through each season (remember running out of steam a few seasons ago, we had players the quality of Kranjcar in the squad but couldn’t use them as they had had no game time all season under Arry!)
3. Good way of preparing our more inexperienced players for hostile places and dodgy pitches, as these are the sort of conditions they will face if we ever do make it back to the CL (even the CL qualifiers and group stages contain Slovenian PL calibre teams etc).
In this day and age in order to compete you need to have 2 players competing for every position; and everyone should be fit and ready to step into the void left when a starter gets injured, if not snapping at their heels for their place in the starting line up.
Hopefully some of the senior players that think they are untouchable can either have a kick up the arse over the summer or be moved on.
Totally agree. I think it’s also good for the image of Spurs. The Europa League may be the poor relation of the Champions League but at least we have a presence in Europe.
If they just made changes to reduce the number of games it wouldn’t be a bad competition.
Speaking of changes, did anyone hear/read if there are any plans to ‘reformat’ the Europa league competition other than winner gets a spot in CL?
I’m not sure but this is what I’d do: https://anythingbutpenalties.com/2012/11/08/my-europa-league-suggestions/