Friday, December 23, 2011

All Kidding Aside

Ed with his Thinking Cap On
photo by kiddharmavia PhotoRee
Columnist Ed finds himself thinking, for once:

Is it really possible, or are we just kidding ourselves? 

Do Spurs have a real chance to win this thing?

Between munching bacon sandwiches even Uncle Harry has said that he believes they have a shot.  And why not?  Well, here are my reasons why not, as well as my reasons why not, not.  Or not.  Wait, did I say that right?!  Whatever, I think you know what I mean.

So let's start with the good news first.  Here's why spurs can get it done:

1.  Spurs have arguably the best midfield in the EPL.  This point has been made over and over, but yet it's still true.  Bale, Modric, Parker, Lennon, Van der Vaart, when healthy, play with creativity and speed, a dangerous combo.  Even when the team is not in sync, the individual skills of the wingers are often enough to put points on the board.  See, for example, the performance at Fulham.  By comparison, United and City each have weaknesses in the midfield, with City's only to become more problematic when Ya Ya heads out of town.  All in all, controlling the center of the field is a good start to winning any game you play.

2.  Spurs are winning against the teams they should beat.  This wasn't true last year, when Spurs often struggled against weaker opponents after thrashing teams like Inter Milan in the Champions League.  To win the EPL it's often just about grinding out those 1 to nil games at Stoke.  Okay, bad example, but the argument still stands.

3.  No Champions League or Europa League.  The toll of these competitions puts teams without a bench as exhaustive as City's In jeopardy of falling apart with fatigue.  Spurs have no such problem, whereas everyone else contending still does.

4.  Spurs are due.  How many years has it been since they've won a title?  The odds alone are on their side, right?

5.  Brad Freidel.  Stability in the back is precious.  Both the team and Freidel have freshened themselves up with his arrival.  He's so NOT the bizarre and erratic Gomes, and he's the best keeper of all the title contenders other than Joe Hart.

6.  Walker.  He's come out of nowhere and been stellar for Spurs.  A winning formula is having the guys you have already maintain their form (check), having the guys you brought in perform as expected (check), and having someone else step up -- with Walker that last box can also be checked.

Sounds good, right?  Well here's why Spurs don't have a shot and should be thankful if they pull out fourth place:

1.  Defense.  Spurs have only Gallas, King, Kaboul, and Bassong at the center back positions.  When King is out, which is often, these guys struggle.  Plus with Modric and Parker out there, Spurs are a bit wee.  Ultimately it seems winning the league is all about defense, and this weakness at the center is therefore not a good one to have. Cahill at the January transfer maybe?

2.  Depth.  Injuries have hit United hard, but only recently have Spurs been victimized with Lennon and maybe Bale out for the upcoming Chelsea match.  Spurs need their outside speed as Van der Vaart and Modric are simply incapable of moving and staying outside (plus they're both much slower than the aforementioned  Ultimately, Spurs have no one behind these two, a thinness in the roster that is not found at United or City.  Plus key injures to many other players, like Modric for example, could cripple this team. 

3.  How long has it been since Spurs won the league?  Do they know how?  Do they even think it's possible?

4.  City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal are all good.  Very good.  Lots of speed and purpose and depth.  United and City pounded Spurs in their first meetings, though granted Spurs were without Adabayor and Parker.  Regardless, these clubs are good and know how to win, and there are four of them.

5.  No Champions League for United and City.  All City has to play for now is they title.  No Thursday night distractions other than the "who cares" Europa League.  Losing in the group stage might turn out to be worse for Spurs than for these two teams. 

6.  Tax Evasion.  Uncle Harry it seems was, at the very least, a bit too aggressive in the positions he took on his tax returns.  This may disqualify him from becoming England's manager, as noted by columnist James, but it also could put a kink in his plans to coach Spurs should he lose.  Uh oh.

But let's not end on a downer, let's leave it up to them.  Luca Modric, you wanted to go to Chelsea because they are arguably a better club.  Well Uncle Harry has put considerable talent around you now.  In other words, it's really up to you and your teammates, and a great way to prove yourselves is to beat the Blues on Thursday.  I mean, how hard could it be, Wigan almost did it?!

Come on you Spurs!!!

This is farlieonfootie for December 23.

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