It was not to be and it now leaves Tottenham’s season fighting for 4th spot in the Premier League and facing a highly difficult Champions League tie against Italian giants AC Milan. It was not too long ago that Tottenham were being spoken of as potential title contenders but a loss against Everton and recent draws against Manchester United and Newcastle have made the final four months of the domestic season a battle to qualify for next year’s Champions League. As Chelsea begin to rediscover their form, a place among Europe’s elite next year begins to look unlikely. Spurs’ league form must improve if they are to succeed and not fall into the degradation of the Europa League. An improvement must be made soon when one considers the fact that in their final six games of the Premier League season, they face away games at Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
However, if the same abject defending is displayed again as it was at Craven Cottage yesterday then it is not irrational to view Bolton and Sunderland as threats to their current position in fifth. Travelling supporters yesterday even greeted their team’s attempts to keep the ball in the final quarter of the game with mock applause.
As they contemplate that possibility, Spurs prepare to travel to Milan in two weeks to play against the Serie A leaders AC Milan. Their last trip to the city saw their opponents Inter take a four goal lead. Gareth Bale inspired them to a more respectable loss but it is unclear as to whether he will recover from a back injury in time to play in the Champions League first knockout round. Even so, a witnessing of Spurs’ performances in Europe this year will inspire much hope through players and supporters alike and Harry Redknapp is sure to be confident of inflicting another wound on an additional European giant.
If this turns out not to be the case and Spurs fail to pip Chelsea to the money-spinning fourth spot in the Premier League, they may end the season achieving qualification to the Europa League, long forgotten in the Champions League and trophy-less following underachievement in the domestic cups. This will be a descent for a team that has promised so much in the last 18 months and a return to the Spurs of old. The inevitable halting of any stadium plans will be an unwelcome side note for Daniel Levy.
Perhaps Tottenham have noticed these possibilities and tried to arrest them with the Lilywhites having had a £23m bid for Newcastle hitman Andy Carroll rejected yesterday. Having to settle with keeping Peter Crouch rather than purchasing the highly rated Carroll could prove symbolic come the end of the season.