Tottenham Hotspur: What Is Happening?
Something is amiss in North London.
With all the attention being paid to the spectacular train wreck that is Newcastle United, how come more attention isn't being paid to an equally ugly scene in London?
Tottenham Hotspur are off to the worst start in club history following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
Spurs have only managed a single point from their first four games. To put this in perspective, that's two less than Premiership newcomers Stoke City, eight less than hated rivals Arsenal and nine less than league leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.
Is it time to hit the panic button?
They should at least have one hand firmly on it.
Spurs fans had every reason to be excited with their off-season moves. Coming off an 11th-place finish during the 2007-2008 season, Tottenham added Luka Modric, Giovanni Dos Santos, Gomes and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Sure, they came up short in their quest to sign Andrei Arshavin, but so did several other teams.
Tottenham didn't expect 30 goals from last season to disappear though. Liverpool poached Robbie Keane in a transfer saga that resulted in a lot of hurt feelings. Dimitar Berbatov left for greener pastures at Old Trafford, and all Totteham got in return was several million pounds and Frazier Campbell on a year-long loan deal.
But if you subtract 30 goals from an 11th place finish, should it equal just a single point through the first month of the season?
Math has never been my strong suit, but I'm pretty sure there is something besides the departures of Keane and Berbatov affecting this squad.
Let's take a look at the squad then. Perhaps there are some weak spots.
A Brazilian international goalkeeper who kept loads of clean sheets at PSV Eindhoven should give the defense plenty of confidence. But oh, Jonathan Woodgate is in that back four. Huge red flag there. Readers of the Spanish sport magazine Marca voted him the worst signing of the 21st century back in 2007. I'm just surprised that his hamstrings haven't exploded yet.
Midfield actually looks really good. Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Jenas, Tom Huddleston, Dos Santos, Modric, etc. All of these guys have made international appearances at some level. No problems there.
That leaves us with the strikers. Roman Pavlyuchenko turned in an impressive performance at Euro 2008, which is probably why he was signed in the first place. He also scored 77 goals in 147 games at Spartak Moscow, so he can find the back of the net. There's a little bit of a dropoff when you get to Darren Bent. Don't get me wrong, he's capable, but he's no Berbatov. Even so it's not anything like going from say...Eric Cantona to Ali Dia.
What else do we have left? Juande Ramos, and the subs.
Ramos is the reason behind the recent success at Sevilla, so we'll give him a free pass for now. The depth at Tottenham is the reason fans should be worried. Who will fill in if a starter goes down for an extended spell? What about cup competitions? This squad is alarmingly thin.
Their best options on the bench are either untested (Frazier Campbell) or old (Cesar Sanchez).
Spurs fans are left to wonder how long Juande Ramos will be given to turn this mess around. Dismissing managers seems to be a popular activity so far this season and Tottenham may want to keep up with the latest fashion.
Unless they're able to address this issue during the winter tranfser window, this team could be in serious trouble running up towards the end of the season. It's too early to start talking about relegation, but at this point I'd tip Hull to stay up ahead of Spurs.
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