English Premier League – Tottenham 2011 Preview
Following a superb 2009 season that saw the Hotspur finish fourth on the Premiership table. The Lilywhites dropped to a disappointing fifth place finish, six points behind as resurgent Manchester City in 2010.
However, the Spurs did manage to snatch the club’s first ever Champions League bid last season, but after defeating the likes of Inter Milan and AC Milan, their lack of goal scoring prowess along with a wobbly defense caught up with them, being eliminated by Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.
Odds to win the 2011-12 Premiership outright 50/1
Now the side will try to reignite the flame and get back into the Champions League, but many are asking; do they have what it takes?
The team was one of the quietest upper-table clubs in the transfer market this offseason, and failed to add a top-class striker yet again after being linked to nearly every upper-echelon strikers in the EPL.
Nevertheless, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko will remain the clubs number one-options up front. But if the Spurs want to return to the Champions League in 2011-12, they will need their duo to improve their output from a year ago
Besides failing to boost their offensive punch, the Spurs punted again at real opportunity to shore up their issues in goal, instead adding 40-year-old Brad Friedel as the sides second choice keeper behind Heurelho Gomes who surrendered in 39 goals in 30 EPL starts a season ago.
Gomes has the ability to make jaw-dropping stops but is also emotional and unpredictable, giving up five goals in the Spurs’ brace against Real, after keeping back-to-back clean sheets against AC and Inter.
Despite Gomes inconsistency, the Tottenham defense does have the ingredients for a successful campaign. Defender William Gallas leads the way, and has the all-around skillset to match up with any forward in the EPL. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is another defender that consistently makes an impact on defense. Assou-Ekotto is one of the fastest defenders in the Premiership, and uses that ability to make up for the many mistakes he makes when matched up with top talent.
Tottenham’s midfield is perhaps the strongest area of the club’s roster with captain Rafael Van der Vaart leading the way. Van der Vaart is very versatile and can be utilized as a striker, netting 13 goals last season.
Youngsters, Luka Modric, 25, and Gareth Bale, 22, are both very promising players. Modric’s skill as a playmaker make him an brilliant partner to just about all of Tottenham’s other central midfielders. Without his creativity and passing in the center of the park Spurs would struggle to unlock defenses.
Matt’s Spurs Prediction:
The squad has a lot going for them, but I’d expect a step back this season. The rest of the top clubs bolstered their rosters while Tottenham stood watching in the distance. They need to add a world-class striker before they can be considered a threat consistently for the Champions League, until then they should finish around the sixth or seventh spot of the table.
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