Form Guide March 2011
P W D L F-A GD Pts
3 0 3 0 3-3 0 2
1 Cup Match
· February 2011 figures
· Last year's figures
March is over, now let's get "Real"!
The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, which I suppose translates as saying that the end of the month is the high point. In Spurs' case, the high point was very definitely the 0-0 draw at home to A.C. Milan, which ensured our qualification for the quarter-finals of our first Champions League campaign. That campaign has taken us twice to the San Siro, the home of both the reigning Italian, European and World Champions (Inter) and the current Serie A leaders (A.C. Milan). The draw threatened to take us back to the San Siro for a third time, because Inter have managed to knock out last year's losing finalists - Bayern Munich.
How much more exciting is it just to be a part of the Champions League? In Spurs' case though, we have done more than be a part of UEFA's Blue Riband tournament; we have graced it! There was a lot of pride in seeing Spurs featured in the prestigious quarter-final and semi-final draw ceremony. Special guest Gary Lineker had a wry smile on his face when he drew us against Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. He was under pressure not to draw us against Barcelona, and whilst succeeding in that objective, he has given Spurs the next hardest task. It's a massive if, but if we should make it all the way to the Wembley Final, we'll have deserved it, because our likely semi-final opponents would be Barcelona, not that I've been optimistic enough to book flights for that fixture!
When we qualified for the Champions League, the dream of most Spurs fans was to see their team in either the Bernabeu or the Nou Camp. Now we could do both, but first we have to face Real Madrid. More of them in next Monday's match preview, but in the meantime, Spurs have also to concentrate upon the formidable task of making sure they are in the Champions League mix next season.
We haven't done too well on that front in March and in our last three league games have gained only two points, all against opposition at the wrong end of the Premier League table - Blackpool, Wolves and West Ham. We're being entertained, but we've had the taste of life at the top table and we want more! Coming up on Saturday is another struggling team - Wigan. This time, Spurs must not fail to collect all three points. Manchester City will not stay within our reach without us winning this one!
The limbo of the current International break, and the lack of action in March has enabled some additional squad members to regain some fitness, and with a very busy April coming up, we will need Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart at their fittest, and on their best form. Tom Huddlestone could return to match action as soon as the Wigan game, and Ledley King made it as far as the bench for our game at home against A.C. Milan, so he might return for the crucial conclusion of our season.
We'll have a minimum of 7 games to be played in April, which will become 8, should we manage to beat Real Madrid. Those games will include Arsenal and Chelsea, so we are going to need to be a our very, very best. Let's hope that Harry and his team of coaching staff can make the right decisions regarding team selection. You see, I have this theory that Harry has often benefited from a lack of selection options, due to injuries or suspension, and that the team has played well regardless, and often won diffcult games. What I am saying is that I don't always trust Harry to get team selection right when he does have options. With Huddlestone fit, should he go straight back into the team, or be on the bench? Tom is one of Harry's favourites, but we have done very well, thank you, without him. Next Tuesday in Madrid, it has to be Sandro for me.
Sandro has had a great three games in March, preceded by that magnificent performance away to A.C. Milan. The (now 22 year old) Brazilian is your player of the month for March and excelled at home to Milan too. He has been allowed to mature in the team over the last 6 weeks, and is surely a fixture now. I'll perhaps write more about team selection in the Wigan preview on Thursday/Friday.
Whilst Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart have looked more human over the last month (both have been recovering from injuries), Luka Modric goes from strength to strength. Luka is now neck and neck with Rafa for the player of the season "award", whilst Bale has slipped below the 7.0 mark for the first time this season. We need all three on tip top form over our busy April and May run-in.
It should be one hell of a ride over the remainder of our season, with the re-arranged Man City fixture on May 10th having the potential to be as decisive as last year's 1-0 win. Let's keep our feet on the ground, and not lift our expectations too high, but, as the headline says, March is over, let's get "Real"!
Don't forget to check out the cumulative appearances and grades for the players as the season progresses - below. The grades are based upon a mark out of ten.
...if you want to read reports of the matches played during this month, then links are on the Spurs Odyssey Fixtures page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over more than 10 years!
S Skill levels
P Pluck (ie effort)
U Unforced errors*
R Resolve (defensive ability)
S Score ratio (goals to shots)
= Overall mark Total Percentage
Percentages given for each category.
* less errors equals a higher mark
The Spursometer was brought to you by Spurs Odyssey in association with My Eyes Have Seen The Glory.