Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Premier League Review of 2011-12 Season Index - Match 18
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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2011-2012 - Match 18
How can Spurs improve?

Unsurprisingly, Gareth Bale was your man of the match for the Norwich game, finishing with a confirmed score of 9 out of 10, not just for his two goals, but for his astounding attacking play. This was Gareth's fourth such man of the match vote of the season, but the highest mark given to any player this season. It is probably the highest rated individual performance since, well, Gareth Bale v Inter Milan at home last season! (Spursometer 02.11.10).

The whole team performed well though, and every player who started ended with over 7 out of 10, including the hardly tested Brad Friedel.

Notably, our young Brazilian midfield star, Sandro, scored a 7.9 for the second consecutive game, and in his last three matches has excelled. The question arises though, what will happen to Sandro, when Aaron Lennon is fit again?

I've posed the question about how we can improve as a team, and I would suggest that one such area is the issue of rotation. Harry doesn't do rotation. Yes, other players have come in when there have been injuries, but most Spurs changes for our Premier League programme have been enforced and not voluntary. I was more than a bit cheesed off with Talksport interpreting Assou-Ekotto's substitution on Tuesday night as a slight on the player, but "Benny" has now played more minutes this season than any other player, and desperately needs to be rested some more. Kaboul got an enforced rest through his suspension, and didn't get off the bench against Chelsea, apparently due to injury. Kyle Walker is also being used to the maximum, and has played just 8 minutes less than Assou-Ekotto. (Note to self:- potential resolution to use "Benny's" full name in 2012).

Look at the results that Sir Alex Ferguson has achieved with United in their last few games, despite the crucial injury to Vidic, and other absentees, such as Fletcher, Ashley Young etc. Spurs have got some big names on the periphery of the first team, but do we really match the two teams above us for the ability to positively rotate and use that squad? By "positively rotate", I mean using the squad before such a move is enforced through injury or suspension.

Don't get me wrong, you know I am pleased as punch with the way the team is performing, and I'd be more than happy with third place at the end of the season. On current form, that is clearly achievable too. However, if we are going to keep hold of them, players such as Sandro, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Niko Kranjcar, Vedran Corluka, and Steven Pienaar need more minutes, and not just because we are playing in a so called second rate tournament like The Europa League. No doubt we'll see them against Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

Readers did describe Tuesday's win at Norwich as the best away performance for ages, but there is always room for improvement, such as Kyle Walker's delivery, accuracy and strength of shooting by everyone, and timing of substitutions by the manager. In saying this, I am reflecting not personal opinion, but views expressed by the readership in our match-by-match survey.

The Christmas programme continues with Saturday's trip to Swansea, then a home game against West Brom on Tuesday. Even though we have a day more than most teams between those two games, those first-team legs will be getting tired. Are we strong enough to rotate? Does Harry have the confidence to do so? This time next week, we shall be wiser after the event.

P.S - I've just noticed that I haven't mentioned our long-term absentees Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson, but haven't we done well without them? "Daws" is hoping to take part in the Cheltenham game, and will be a great addition to the squad, whilst we'll have to wait longer for the re-appearance of "Thud", who will anxious to play, and score, so he can have a hair-cut! (See Tom Huddlestone's Charity Page here)

P.P.S - Did you know that over the last 15 Premier league games, Spurs have gained more points than the rest of the league (38), including both Manchester teams, who have two points less? Arsenal would be in fourth place, 6 points behind, whilst Chelsea languish 11 points behind in fifth. The full current table is below.

Results 26-27.12.11

Bolton     0-2   Newcastle
Chelsea    1-1   Fulham
Liverpool  1-1   Blackburn
Man Utd    5-0   Wigan
Stoke      0-0   A. Villa
S'derland  1-1   Everton
West Brom  0-0   Man City
Arsenal    1-1   Wolves
Swansea    1-1   QPR
Norwich    0-2   Spurs

       Barclays Premier League
Pos Team      P  W  D  L   F  A  GD  Pts

1  Man City  18 14  3  1  53 15  38  45
2  Man Utd   18 14  3  1  47 14  33  45
3  Spurs     17 12  2  3  34 19  15  38
4  Chelsea   18 10  4  4  36 21  15  34
5  Arsenal   18 10  3  5  34 26   8  33
6  Liverpool 18  8  7  3  21 14   7  31
7  Newcastle 18  8  6  4  25 22   3  30
8  Stoke     18  7  4  7  18 28 -10  25
9  West Brom 18  6  4  8  19 26  -7  22
10 Everton   17  6  3  8  18 20  -2  21
11 Norwich   18  5  6  7  27 33  -6  21
12 A. Villa  18  4  8  6  19 23  -4  20
13 Fulham    18  4  7  7  19 24  -5  19
14 Swansea   18  4  7  7  17 22  -5  19
15 S'derland 18  4  6  8  22 22   0  18
16 QPR       18  4  5  9  17 31 -14  17
17 Wolves    18  4  4 10  20 33 -13  16
18 Wigan     18  3  5 10  15 35 -20  14
19 Bolton    18  4  0 14  22 41 -19  12
20 Blackburn 18  2  5 11  25 39 -14  11

Next fixtures:-

Liverpool   v    Newcastle
Man Utd     v    Blackburn
Arsenal     v    QPR
Bolton      v    Wolves
Chelsea     v    A. Villa
Norwich     v    Fulham
Stoke       v    Wigan
Swansea     v    Spurs
West Brom   v    Everton
S'derland   v    Man City

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