Fulham Match Report - 17/03/2013

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Doom and gloom, the end is nigh, Tottenham lose again. Fulham was billed as the game to ‘save our season’.

Cue a number of clichéd inferences that this current fan discontent provides a marker of how far Spurs have come. Sitting third in the league (pre-Fulham) and in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, the wobble at Anfield could have been happily described as a ‘bad day at the office’.

Likewise, muddled tactics on the night, and a sense of occasion could be blamed for Spurs nervy return to the San Siro. Despite proving the victors over two legs, the performance was far from impressive, and we could easily have been on the receiving end of a European comeback of historical proportions.

In truth, Fulham looked hungrier than Tottenham for nearly the entire game. Barring a few flashes from Bale in the opening stages, Spurs never really got going. It could even be argued that Fulham prevented Tottenham from playing, as opposed to the team shooting themselves in the foot in a Merseyside like fashion. Their midfield completely bossed the tempo of the game, ensuring that opportunities for our misfiring forward line were at a premium. Spurs didn’t really do anything wrong in this largely forgettable fixture, the visitors played the game well and were very well organised.

But it seems like an old dog can learn new tricks, Mr. Jol.

Tottenham fans have every right to feel aggravated if not agitated about the latest in a string of lacklustre performances, with the eyes of the media and their red rivals fixed upon another ‘Roflham Lolspur’ late slide down the table.

General fan sentiment seems to suggest that:

  • “Bale’s form has papered over the cracks of a squad lacking depth and has made AVB appear a lot more astute than he actually is”
  • “Our lack of activity in January is once again coming to bite us, in similar fashion to how it did in last season’s ‘Mind the Gap’ fiasco”
  • “Adebayor is to blame for everything; yes everything (including the economic state of Britain, my bulging waistline and Piers Morgan)”
  • “Parker is not as good as Sandro”

The above obviously doesn’t speak on behalf of every Tottenham fan, and luckily we’re a long way from an en masse ‘AVB Out’ campaign, but the Tottenham bottom is beginning to squeak loudly once again.

It would be criminally knee-jerk to suggest that the blame for our current form should be laid firmly at the manager’s feet, something which felt a lot easier to do last season with the rather more unpopular Redknapp, at the helm. Undoubtedly Redknapp’s off pitch activities contributed to the malaise that saw Tottenham’s potentially title chasing season peter out like a wet fart in a monsoon, whether or not he was to blame for it entirely, is a debate for another day.

One would find it very hard to deny that there are many reasons for a potential season derailment, as the unfolding of this year may suggest. Fatigue, questionable tinkering, and attitude have all been highlighted recently, and it’s up to the supporters now to keep the faith and see to it that this minor blip doesn’t again become the start of the season’s late slump.

The season hasn’t yet finished and our destiny is still in our own hands. We’re all too eager to lament a failed season before it’s even finished, and perhaps this is all part of the problem? The club has been here before, we’ve promised a lot and failed to deliver. The media likes to have us believe that we’re nothing but a cup team, that we’re pretenders punching above our weight.

They said that when Carrick left we’d crumble, they said the same about Berbatov, Keane and Modric but we still stand defiant. Bale may leave, but then we’ll have our Townsend, and maybe even Pritchard or Coulthirst.

Reacting to something before it’s happened, based on past experience is only natural and in turn logical, but it’s still all guess work. There is a taxing, but winnable series of games coming up that will define our season and potentially the future of the club.

We’ve seen enough from Andre Villas-Boas and from the squad to know that we’re capable of achieving everything we’ve promised so far this year. Where Redknapp failed to turn around a floundering tail end of a season, we can only have faith that AVB will take up the challenge and shower himself in the glory I suspect he can.

Much like many will only celebrate a linked superstar signing when they are pictured holding the shirt, we must hold the same resolve when jumping on the threat of a failed season like it already is a season failed.

Keep the faith, sing your hearts out, get behind the players and let’s keep everything crossed that this new era of Tottenham Hotspur can be born from the sort of chaos that has historically consumed us.

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