Tottenham Hotspur Are Overachieving At Half Pace, But Fan Impatience Could Jeopardise That


So we got over the line against Hull. It was almost a definition of our season. We were a mockery of ourselves, struggling to break through yet another brick wall. Or so it seemed. We've slowly grown to be an incredibly persistent side, arguably an eye-soar, but a hard working one at that. It shows we're not quite there but we remain well in touch with the top. AVB's reaction was honest, I respected him for not filling the papers with propaganda, shouting from the rooftops that we're the finished article when it's evident we're far from it.

But how are we competing relative to expectation? There's the argument that after an expenditure of over £100m we should be focusing towards the top two positions in the league instead of the top four. On the flip side we could debate that we lost over £100m worth of talent and are having to bed in 7 new players, many of whom are competing with last seasons record-breaking first team players - some of which are finding their places limited to Europa League competition.

I'd argue we're exceeding expectation in regards to our league position but would highlight that the style in which we're winning points isn't entirely desirable. But this also opens up to our expectancy as fans - winning is no longer a novelty. We want style, flair and dominance. Or so it seems more and more as we progress through our home games - evident through a growing chorus of boos. They're almost like a cult that's started infecting the crowd, growing in numbers despite the winning start to the season.

In the end it could all come down to perspective.

Arsenal have found some wonderful form after an indifferent beginning and transfer window. They've started finding their feet and the papers struggle to knock them off their pedestal. One genuinely World Class player to integrate and little uncertainty regarding departures have allowed them to flourish against 8 teams sitting in the bottom half in their first 9. We sit a handful of points shy of them. We've almost fallen under the radar from our own fans and everyone else. The performances may not be sitting perched proudly in our minds but we find ourselves on more points than at this point in our record-breaking season last year.

There's the obvious soundbite of allowing players to bed into our system. We've new individuals that are still finding their most effective roles in the side whilst at the same time we have the likes of Lewis Holtby who've started proving their value in arguably the most competitive side we've ever had at our disposal. Improvement has been considerable. Lamela's shown patches that he has the attributes to become our most dangerous source of distribution but clearly needs extended time to adapt. His contribution in the Cardiff game won us 3 hard fought points. There's no point rushing an expensive asset for him to only feel the weight of expectation on his shoulders from an overly demanding crowd.

We can only compare our post-Gareth Bale season this year with our form last year. We stumbled onto a rich vain of form towards the end of 2012 and in the early stages of 2013 propelling us into favourites for a 4th position and perceptually targeting an even higher position for some. It's almost a blessing that Andros Townsend has come on so much to fill that gaping hole left by Bale - despite the wealth of investment. In the long run, Erik Lamela is more than likely to be worth every penny invested but, for now, we have a young English players that's continually grabbing his chances by the testicles. He's almost eased the pressure off of Erik.

At the same time we have Gylfi Sigurdsson who's managed to pick up his form from the end of last season and stride into this year with a great run of games. I've always been a big fan of Sig but again he was one that last year needed a little more time to find his feet in our side. Despite being thrown out wide, he's adapted his game to make the best of that position as he can given his attributes. Again, not directly, but he's almost eased the reliance on Christian Eriksen as the Dane slowly finds his place in our side. He came over with huge expectation placed upon his shoulders and thankfully he's being managed correctly to ensure that he doesn't carry that expectation around with him on the pitch.

You always get pockets of fans that couldn't be pleased even if they saw Michael Dawson lifting a treble come May, but slowly we're becoming a far more expectant fan base than we were 5 years ago. The average age of a Season Ticket holder has grown from 23 to 46(ish) and we're speeding up the rate at which we expect success. Our job, as fans, is to unite. To support the players on the pitch for 94 minutes and do everything we can to ensure we match that expectation. We want success, let's ensure we create the conditions that breed it.


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Name - Ben Alfrey 

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