Time to say Goodbye to Ledley?
Spurs Odyssey is unable to announce a Spurs man of the match for Monday's home defeat against Norwich. All we have to tell you about is that three of the 14 players who took part were voted the "least worst" Spurs players in the game. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel (making his 299th consecutive Premier League appearance, and not his 298th as I initially thought), Aaron Lennon and substitute Ryan Nelsen managed grades of 5.9 out of 10. This of course is still an average mark, and nothing to make one proud.
The Spurs team performance was considered the worst since the 5-2 debacle at The Emirates at the end of February. The saddest fact to report is that Club Captain Ledley King was awarded a mere 3.6 for his performance against Norwich, which is easily the worst mark our Captain has ever been given. His second worst mark was that game at Arsenal. There is a very, very sad correlation here, and many people are now saying that it is time to say "Goodbye" to Ledley this summer, as far as his Spurs playing career is concerned.
Ledley has managed 10 of our 20 games so far in 2012, and 21 of our total of 47 so far this season. With the exception of the game at Anfield and at home to Newcastle, there has been a marked difference in Ledley's performance levels this side of the festive season too.
Ledley has played in 6 of our last 9 games, missing arguably our best performances in those games - the 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, and the 3-1 home win over Swansea. In fairness, until that Arsenal debacle, Ledley had been in great form for us whenever he did appear this season, and until we lost at Man City in January, he had been a talisman for good Premier League results.
Ledley has of course been a magnificent servant; a stylish, cool and accomplished defender, and it would be fantastic to see him lift the FA Cup in May, but Spurs surely cannot go on spending most of their training time without their club captain, and only half their playing time in his company.
In making these comments about our Club Captain, I am not seeking to lay blame only at his feet for our recent poor form. There has been so much going wrong for Spurs. It could be the case that we are starting to pay for such extensive use of certain players throughout the season, one or two of whom might be getting tired legs and minds.
We've now played 47 games in all competitions. Perhaps five outfield players have been over-used:-
Player Starts Used Sub Minutes Played
Walker 40 2 3,569
Assou-Ekotto 38 1 3,345
Kaboul 35 2 3,189
Bale 36 1 3,176
Modric 35 1 3,048
Apart from the injured Kaboul, each of the above players was required to play the full 90 minutes against Norwich. The whole team performed below par.
There is no single answer to Spurs' loss of form recently, and I suspect all of the above will be required in our remaining games.
P.S. - We are now two points worse off than we were after 33 games two season ago, when we first qualified for Champions League football.We need at least four wins to improve upon that 70 point total for the season.