Tottenham Hotspur: 10 Reasons Why Spurs Can Win the UEFA Champions League
Spurs are in their first ever Champions League, and you better believe they can win it. While not the most prestigious club in the competition, Tottenham has a whole lot going for it and just may come away surprise victors.
Don't believe me? Here are the top 10 reasons that Spurs can hoist the European Cup.
Spurs aren’t a staple of Champions League football, that’s for sure. While Chelsea, United and Arsenal are punching their European tickets every year, Tottenham’s lucky to get a glimpse of the Europa League. In fact, as you probably know, the boys from White Hart Lane have never been to Europe’s top competition since its inception.
But will that inexperience help or hurt? While it’s always good to have "been there", Spurs only get to be beginners once. And everyone who’s ever taken a potential girlfriend bowling—only to be horribly embarrassed when she “Scores the most pins!” despite rolling like your 80-year-old arthritic grandmother—knows that beginner’s luck is very real. This is Tottenham’s chance to use it.
Rafael Van Der Vaart
He’s just as good as Hoddle, He’s better than Chris Waddle, His Missus is a model, he’s Rafa van der Vaart!
The £8 Million Man has proven to be quite a steal this season, earning October Player of the Month honors in the premiership and generally dominating all who challenge him. While Spurs have always had plenty of forwards, van der Vaart adds an element of excitement while pushing up the field.
The stalwart Dutchman can score from distance or lay it off with an elegant touch, making him a danger in all aspects of the game.
What’s more, he knows how to win in the Champions League (see: Real Madrid) and his veteran’s savvy can help navigate his squad through unknown waters ahead.
Chip on Their Shoulder
Nobody believes in Tottenham. Then again, nobody believes in FC Twente and you don’t see me picking them to win it all. But when a team has enough talent to really contend, a chip on the shoulder can be just the lift it needs to take it to the next level.
You think Spurs were happy hearing how they would flame out in the qualifying round vs. Young Boys? Of course not (never mind that they almost did). And while the prognosticators have Chelsea, Barca, Real or United taking home the trophy, Tottenham can channel that disrespect into serious motivation.
Maybe the Football Gods just like Spurs this year.
Ah, who am I kidding, no they don’t.
Depth at Forward
Defoe’s coming back soon, Redknapp hasn’t offloaded Keane or Pavlyuchenko yet, Crouch has cemented his spot with consistent play, and Spurs have a large collection of other attack-minded players willing to move up to the forward spot if called upon.
With so many different styles of forward, Redknapp can realistically throw any look he wants at an opponent and see if it works. If not, a quick couple of subs and it’s a whole new attack.
Once Defoe gets back, Spurs will probably have more depth than they know what to do with. It will also be more than is realistically sustainable, but while it lasts it should make for an excellent advantage.
If Tottenham wants to keep its recent success going, it might need to win the Champions League. While every team desperately wants a win, Spurs have a lot more riding on the line.
It’s looking like a top-four domestic finish will be very difficult, meaning a return to the Champions League is in doubt. Without top-level competition, Spurs could lose the likes of Gareth Bale and Rafa van der Vaart to higher profile clubs. And without their stars, Spurs would be left where they started—an upper-middle class Premier League team with no trophy’s and no superstars.
If Spurs win the Champions League, it books an automatic return trip and substantial added prestige to keep and lure the best talent in the world.
I pondered making Bale all 10 of the reasons why a trophy is possible. The youngster is in impossibly good form, schooling the “world’s best” right back Maicon time and time again and generally dominating the reigning champions (twice).
He’s got a £50 million asking price on his head, but to Tottenham he may be worth even more than that.
Tottenham’s got plenty of grit. On the road in their first-ever Champions League game, Spurs fell hard early against Young Boys. You could hear the doubters readying their “I told you so” speeches, and a feeling of dread came over every Spurs supporter. Then, something amazing happened. Tottenham came back. By the end of the second leg, Spurs had a comfortable victory and an entry into the group stages.
Then against Inter, Redknapp’s side found itself in an even more precarious position. Down 4-0 at half with only 10 men, Spurs battled back behind a Bale hat trick to nearly level the game. While the effort fell a goal short, it decreased the goal differential (important in the standings) and built massive amounts of confidence for the next showing (which Tottenham dominated).
That’s the kind of resiliency you can’t coach. It’s also the kind that wins championships.
Harry 'Houdini' Redknapp
When Redknapp came to White Hart Lane, Tottenham was in terrible shape. Bottom of the table with no hint of a turnaround, relegation looked a real possibility. Then along came Harry, and things turned around quickly. That season ended in a near-miss of the Europa League (8th place), and the next season saw Spurs through to the top four.
How he’s managed to complete this turnaround is a bit of a mystery (was Juande Ramos really that bad?), but what’s not a mystery is that the guy can win. With this talented team at his disposal, he may yet find Champions League glory.
It's Cup Football—Anything Can Happen
It may be a cliché, but any team can win on any given day. Seriously, it’s a cruel, beautiful game. Once it gets to the knockout stages, anything can happen—including an improbable trophy for Spurs.