P W D L F-A GD Pts
38 21 9 8 66-46 20 72
+ 16 Cup Matches
· May 2013 figures
· Last Season's figures
The lilywhite and blue thin line
Very often, the line between ultimate success and failure is so, so thin, and so it proved in the end for Spurs, as they were beaten by just one point by Arsenal to fourth place and another crack at Champions League football. It was the last issue to be decided in the Premier League as Manchester United crossed the title-winning line with three weeks of the season remaining, having suffered so cruelly last year in added time of the very last game, when Aguero scored that dramatic winner against QPR. There was no last day dogfight for survival either, as Wigan had been doomed in the last mid-week game of the season at Arsenal. I'll try not to mention our nemesis again. (Well just once or twice!)
You can check out the odds on football and other sporting fixtures with Unibet
Once you get the disappointment of just missing out on Champions League out of your system, you then have to ask what progress have we made in Andre Villas-Boas's first year?
If you were to rely purely on statistics to resolve the question, and any debate over whether AVB has been an improvement on Harry Redknapp, then the differences are truly fractional. Spurs Odyssey readers have been able to pass judgement upon the manager/head coach in three categories after each game. Those are team selection, tactics, and substitutions. Regarding the team, then they are assessed on skill, effort, unforced errors (the fewer - the better the score), defence and goal-scoring ratio.
Bearing in mind we did finish fourth last year, compared to this year's fifth, it might surprise you to learn that, comparing Redknapp's last season with AVB's first, Harry came off marginally worse than AVB regarding managerial skills:-
Sel 6.85 6.83
Tac 6.48 6.58
Sub 6.28 6.52
Overall 6.54 6.65
On the other hand, the overall team performance mark for the two seasons was fractionally in Harry's favour (61.45% to 60.47%)
It's all very tight of course. If I could try to put it in words, I'd say that Harry had the gift of Modric and Van der Vaart, who left us before this season got going. Rafa played in our first two games, but his heart was already in Germany with Sylvie.
So AVB lost two truly classy players to the transfer window, then lost Younes Kaboul after the very first game. Kaboul tried a comeback with the under-21s towards the end of the season, but suffered a setback, and we won't see him till August. Then there was midfield dynamo that is Sandro Raniere Guimaraes Cordeiro, who went off injured after 25 minutes at QPR in January, and who we may not see at the start of next season, as he suffered a cruciate knee injury that may keep him out of action for four months yet. Scott Parker was out of action for the first half of the season, and when he came back, most observers would say he didn't recapture his form of 2011-12, when he was our player of the season.
Andre Villas-Boas did of course have the gift of Gareth Bale, who has won just about every award going this season from the PFA's Player and Young player of the season, to the Football writers' award, and that of Barclays Premier League player of the season. Add to those the Spurs members' and young members' awards, and you have a clean sweep.
I find it funny that THFC are currently running a poll for player of the season. Gareth won the Spurs Odyssey vote very clearly. Bale scored 26 goals in all competitions; 21 in the league, which matches Teddy Sheringham's 20 year old record, and the goal of the season, as voted by our readers last week. (His late winner in the 3-2 win at West Ham). Bale was our player of the month three times, and man of the match 13 times in 44 starts for us last season. He scored over 9/10 in three matches (Aston Villa (A), Newcastle (H) and West Ham (A) ). Gareth scored 7 of his goals in those three games.
I am inclined to believe that we will get at least one more season of Gareth at Spurs, but every player does have his price, as was proved when Ronaldo left Man Utd for Real Madrid for £80 million.
Going back to thin margins, Sandro finished runner-up to Bale in our poll, with Hugo Lloris literally a fraction behind. Jan Vertonghen, who along with Bale, also won three player of the month awards here on Spurs Odyssey, finished close in fourth. Fitness permitting, those top four names would be automatic team selections for any game.
Jermain Defoe was on fire in the first half of the season, when he scored 14 of his 15 club goals. Adebayor took till nearly the end of the season to rediscover his scoring touch, and whilst Clint Dempsey also chipped in a good number of goals in all competitions, most Spurs fans would say that one much-needed upgrade for the new season will be a top striker. Currently the strongest rumours relate to 31 year old David Villa, and the now perennial link to Brazilian Leandro Damiao.
Defoe is now seventh equal with Alan Gilzean in the list of all-time Spurs scorers, with 133 goals. If he plays for us next season, then Jermain will have Len Duquemin and George Hunt within reach. If he was to score as many as Gareth Bale, then he could even match Cliff Jones! Jermain is our third highest Premier League scorer behind Sheringham (97) and Keane (91) with 90 goals, so those are achievable targets for him.
Andre Villas-Boas's high points (and unsurprisingly those for his team) included the first ever Premier League victory at Old Trafford, and the home wins over Arsenal and Inter. Another particular high point for me was that late Bale goal at Upton Park, and the hug between player and manager that followed it. Team spirit looks good!
I won't offer a month by month review this year, but would just ask you to read the paragraphs below carefully, because there are useful links and statistics to help you get through this summer. Have a great one, and let's hope next season we can even beat our Premier League record of 72 points!
Don't forget to check out the cumulative appearances and grades for the players below. The grades are based upon a mark out of ten.
...if you want to read reports of the matches played during this season, then links are on the Spurs Odyssey Fixtures/Reports page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over more than 12 years!