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Consistency is key

Despite Spurs suffering their own inconsistency, it seems that everyone around them are struggling with the ability to string a decent run of form and results together.

Tottenham have hardly set the world alight in recent games, but over the last seven matches only WBA and Liverpool have accumulated more points of the teams that are expected to battle for the places just below the Manchester's. With just over a third of the season completed, I thought I would take the points totals from the last seven Premiership games to see how Spurs compare with their rivals and what we need to do to head the bunch of the best of the rest to achieve a successful season.

Over the last seven games, WBA justify their lofty position with 12 points from a potential 2, and all their points came from a run of four straight wins prior to their loss at Swansea in mid-week. All expectation is that they like Newcastle last season will struggle to maintain their early season form due to a lack of squad depth, but already, should we be too fearful that the most consistent of our rivals are not doing much better that we are.

Just for the record, WBA have 12 points from their last seven Prem games, Liverpool have 10, Spurs and Arsenal have 9, Everton and West Ham have 8 and Chelsea have managed a mere seven points, which is nearer relegation form than title winning. Based on those
stats, you feel that Spurs have the potential to really push on, if they can get something significant from their next two games. Fulham and Everton are hardly easy and we could easily find ourselves to the bottom of this list as much as we could at the top, but what an opportunity to get ourselves right in the mix and make a statement of intent, should we manage to get four points of more, though perhaps even gaining two draws would hardly be seen as a negative.

Clearly you see that a teams quality and strength in depth are keys to how they do over a season, but in an era, when it seems that any side can beat anyone else, I think that the team that manages to achieve the desired consistency over the remaining twenty-five games will be the one that beats the rest of the chasing pack.

Of those teams, there have to be question marks over WBA and Everton's strength in depth, whilst West Ham have punched way above their weight and you feel their start is rather flattering compared with their general ability. Chelsea and Arsenal are certainly good enough and are probably the teams we have to beat, but Arsenal seems to be in a downward decline and Chelsea determined to implode. Perhaps Liverpool and Spurs are two sides that you feel are heading in the right direction and perhaps with greater cohesion and understanding of their new managers demands, could improve both in terms of performance and results. question is, whether that will be sufficient to finish in the top four remains a big question...




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The journalist

Writer: OxfordSpur Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 30 2012

Time: 12:23PM

Your Comments

Cannot agree more, over 38 games, the most consistent team wins the league. COYS
Madaboutspurs
If we maintain on our current course, Top 4 is very gettable.
Madaboutspurs
Chelski will start firing soon same as Arse, so we need to get on with it. We need to forget this talk of 3rd though, its like last season with the talk of a title challenge, it aint going to happen. We need to concentrate on 4th and if by some minor miracle we get 3rd all the better. But lets not put undue pressure on ourselves, completely not needed! Liverpool and Everton will fight it out for 6th IMO.
El Jefe
Chelsea signing Benitez could be a blessing in disguise, people moan about the way some of us criticise AVB, Chelsea fans are on another level. 100% agree consistancy is the key, we need to start playing consistancy well if we are to make 3rd/4th. So far this season we havent played nowhere near to what we know we're capable of. I noticed the teams elation at gaining 3 points against liverpool, hopefully this will motivate them to get a result this weekend. Fulham is going to tough but definatly winnable.
coys1717
Chelski on the road to Rafa medeocrity, Arsene Wenger having to explain his team choices with what is the worst team I can remember at Arsenil. West Brom flying high, but we all know that's gonna be short lived as Everton are beginning to fad too. We've managed some reasonable results with makeshift teams and appear to be getting it together. If we can play CONSISTENTLY to our best 3rd is our.
SPUDMAN
i'm with you Spudman- I wouldnt be writing 3rd off until I see something in Chelsea or Arsenal that makes me believe they can maintain cosistant form. For the record i still rate Benitez as a manager.
coys1717
No-one can disagree about consistency being the key, but I am not sure I agree with your analysis of what the other teams will do. Yes, WBA are the most likely to fade as the season goes on and Wet Spam definitiely will. Liverpool will not get anywhere near the top 6 this season (ok they may finish 7th but I bet they are quite a few points adrift). That leaves Everton, Arsenal and the Chavs. The chavs have it in their own hands - they certainly have the players and as last season proved, if they decide between themselves to sort this out they will be a force again (as seen by the change in fortunes as soon as AVB left - no player power? yeah right!). Never discount arsenal. As much as I dream of them finishing in the bottom 3 its not going to happen. They always somehow manage to get the points required for a top 4 finish and I wouldnt be surprised if they did it again. Everton are a very strong side and they will definitely be around all season....
skins
I think we were in this frame ofmind this time last season and we all know what happened after that. If we spend well in Jan and are about where we are now then we have a good chance of top 4. But if Levy decides to be cheap again then we may find it difficult.
mgthfc
What is very encouraging, is that none of the teams around us have had a injury crisis yet, as where Kaboul, BAE, Parker, Ade and Dembele have been missing for spells. Once we get over our injuries and other squads start to thin, we will be in for 3rd, no doubt.
Tactically Challenge
And a quick question. If Citeh and the chavs finish in the top 4 am I right in thinking a top 6 finish would suffice for champs league qualification? After all, they wont be able to take part due to fifa's fair play rules.......cough....
skins
this is the worst PL I can remember....all of the top teams have problems for one reason or another...I'm not sure consistency is the key after all QPR have been pretty consistent!....what we need is to find our best system and utilise our best players in it....Oh and buy quality players! if we just try and train players or pick the next best thing we will consign ourselves to be the also rans....
shedboy2
Oh, and love AVB putting Modric (and surreptitiously Mourinho) in his place. #AVBLegend
Tactically Challenge
I can't see Pool troubling the top4 this season....they don't have the players and even when they do Rogers will pick say Henderson over Shelvey.... Arse will come strong they had quite a few injury troubles and are bedding in a couple of new players...hopefully Chelsea will now implode, an interim manager doesn't carry the clout needed with players...
shedboy2
Earlier in the season I was concerned about our strength in depth but to me it now seems that the bigger issue was changing our style of play rather than the players we drafted in due to injuries. Granted, we are nowhere near as strong through the squad as the two Manchester clubs, or maybe we are but our mentality is the problem. If Chelsea didn't insist on playing Mata, Oscar and Hazard all together then they too could be said to have a 'game changer' on the bench. When it doesn't work for Chelsea there isn't really a plan B, something I think Rafa has already recognised. The problem there is that he has replaced a Chelsea icon and it's going to be hard for anyone to accept him, especially after his "I will never manage Chelsea. Fact" outburst a few years ago. Whether he can inspire results there remains to be seen, fingers crossed he can't because playing for both 3rd and 4th place would be, imo, easier than just aiming for 4th.
If, and it's a big if, AVB is given proper backing at the start of the January window and is allowed to spend some serious money on players he has identified. Then maybe, just maybe, the guy can surpass my expectations and grab us either of those last two CL places. Failure to back him by the board will, I feel, result in yet another season of 'what might have been' and will leave us somewhere in the region of 10 points short of 4th. If that were to happen then even the biggest apologists for ENIC would have trouble defending their lack of ambition and might have to consider whether there really is an ulterior motive to their management of our club. Surely AVB has done his probationary period and exceeded expectations. Now is the time to back him and his vision. To Dare is To Do and all that.
Could it be that another reason for all the inconsistency in the league is the insistence of some clubs, ours included, to play this lone front man system. It is, I feel, a fad that will soon be found out by the more tactically astute managers in world football. Yes, there are some teams it suits but nowhere near as many as have taken it up. If you ask me, two quality forwards and four quality midfielders will, more often than not, come out on top of 1 quality front man and 5 quality midfielders. There again, I think we're far more suited at the moment to a 3-5-2 than we are the formation that currently set up with. But hey, I don't get the big bucks to make these decisions and my job doesn't depend on getting them right although the pay off for failure would see most of us set for life anyway.
Sorry if I've wandered/rambled, nothing new there though. COYS
thfc1882whl
Shed your right, Everton have more chance that pool. We have every chance of third if we can become consistant, but we first have to become consistant over 90 minutes, Reading, Villa and West Ham are games we've dominated.

Different subject but do you think Martin Jol will get as good a reception from us as last year or do you think it was just a anti harry pop.
T.H.F.Chris
I'd hope Martin Jol gets a great reception from our fans ALWAYS. He did a great job for us and was shafted by Commoli's refusal to sign anything but kids when we had a young squad in need of some leaders.
Kes80
I think you have to factor in injuries as well. We've clearly had up to 5 players at times out of our match day squad of 18. Players like Kaboul, Parker, Dembele, Ekotto and Adebayor are big, big players for us. I don't know the ins and outs of the other clubs but highly rate guys like Lucas Lieva and Jack Wilshere. John Terry has also been missing at times and he is a talisman for them. My sense is we've been hit hardest with injuries. January will also be interesting. The ANC takes part and clubs lose players. It's also an opportunity for us to offload a few that AVB has identified as surplus and bring in a couple of fresh faces that can make a difference.
muttley
thfc1882whl- 1 up is a fad, like tika-taka, they are playing styles that find success and are then copied. It's been going on for ages....although git stuck at 442 for a while, I could never understand why teams would line up 442 when the weaker of the two teams would invariably lose....you need to be flexible in formation in order to play to your own strengths and also exploit the weakness of the opposition...But with 1 up you'll see 3 at the back become fashionable so the 1 up top will be joined by 2 forwards on the flanks and
shedboy2
I think Jol will always be held in high regard by the fans but as time goes on the reception will natuarally decrease...
shedboy2
thfc1882whl - I think you have a valid point with the lone striker option, this is kind of what Barca play but they have Messi in the role and he can execute it very well. Here's a question for you, if Defoe or Suarez replaced Messi at Barca, would they still be the force they are?
yiddyboy
who will parker replace ?...imo he's never played well with Sandro...
shedboy2
Shedboy2.... Wish I'd thought to say that flexibility was the key, might have stopped me rambling on for so long. Might not of though! Yeah, flexibility, 100% correct mate.
thfc1882whl
As i predicted before the season started. It will be the 2 Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal followed by us. Then a group of Liverpool, Everton, Fulham, Newcastle etc fighting for the excitement of making 6th place followed by a gang of clubs fighting relegation. Best league in the world my a***!! Not when any monkey can predict the placings before a ball has been kicked! Its all money, marketing and Skysports fuelled drivel!
StillRickyVilla
I would still say Arsenal and Chelsea are faves for the 3rd/4th spot, but with Benitez, Chelsea may implode (wishful thinking?) and if you look at Arsenal over the last 10 years they have been gradually trending down. From regular title challengers to scraping top 4 by the skin of their teeth. This could be the year they struggle with the demands of EPL & CL football and fall out of the top 4.
Guyver
The final spots for the CL could go to any team imo. Look at the fall of the chavs last year, the fact we were challenging the top2, Arsenal seem to pull results out of the hat when they need them. Man City haven't look half the team they were last year but are way up at the top, they are an unknown quantity at the mo. Then we have Everton who are a really strong side this year. They are the ones who could slip past us all! We need to focus on our own games starting with Fulham tomorrow, who i see as a tougher game than the pool game. To open to call at the moment. When the FA cup comes around it will add to the busy fixture and mix things up even more! Nice post skins. COYS.
SpursOne2
Maybe it would make it more interesting if that final CL spot was decided with a Play Off style round of games between 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. At least then there would be interest for supporters right up to the end of the season. Just a thought.
thfc1882whl
thfc1882whl - I like that idea IF we are not 4th ;-) I heard this morning that Arsenal are offering new contracts including pay-cuts if the fail to make CL, is there any truth in this???
yiddyboy
Its actually been this way for a couple of seasons, consistency has almost dissapeared from the premier league which has coincided with a fall off of perfomances in Europe. United have been able to stay at the top mainly because they have been more consistent over the course of a season than anybody else rather than because they are better. We have never been consistent, its why talk of a Spurs way of playing drives me up the wall, if it can't win you a league title try something else. However the kind of efficient disciplined football that could take advantage of other's weakness seems to be anathema to a lot of fans. They seem to cling to the delusion we can somehow outspend Man City and Chelsea and win the league on sheer flair.
jod
If Chelsea and Arse don't get their ***** together (definitely possible) then both 3rd and 4th are there for the taking - whether or not it's us that get there instead, is another matter. It would be good to see a battle for those 2 places - and the handful of mavericks mentioned all ahve potential if their luck holds. On paper our squad puts us in with a shout, but we have a history of imploding in both individual matches and the league run-in in general, so I'll live in hope of 3rd, but be prepared for 5th. I think the Jan sales might play a big part in this issue, if other teams buy / nick our targets / we stand still - although a fully fit squad would seem like we'd bought some new players. As for Pool - I think they'll be in the top 6 - if they get another decent front man in. I was impressed with them on Wednesday - Rodgers is building some solid foundations and a good team work ethic - similar to our situation but without the correct cast for the film. Spurs, as usual are still a couple of sandwiches short of the full picnic. COYENICBUA*****hotplayer!
DocHotspurs
Doubt Chelski will implode,atleast in regards to CL place - way too much quality and watch them add more talent come Jan! Arse again have quality and even though they are lacking striker wise, they show how important it is to have free scoring midfielders especially wingers. Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla all banging them in! We only have Bale scoring regularly. This needs addressing starting with a playmaking free scoring AM/forward to play the no.10 role for us. Then a top striker and RW and I think we could comfortably challenge for top 3/4 regularly maybe even if lucky mount a decent title challenge!
El Jefe
what is really encouraging is that we have had a complete opposite to last season, when our strongest 11 were playing week in week out during the early months when we climbed the table, we had no major injury worries and the team were really gelling and used to each other. we then had the inevitable burn out and injuries which plagued the second half of the season as per usual under harrys approach by which time he had *****ed off the rest of the squad who he then needed. compare that to this season, we have lost three of our best players in modric, VDV and king, brought in new faces, a new manager and have been plagued with injuries to key players like kaboul, parker, dembele and ade, . we have not been able to play our best 11 once yet, while the ever changing back line due to injuries to kaboul, bae, gallas, caulker, naughton at various times means we have had no consistency in defence and yet we are still fifth and ahead of arsenal! I have to say that AVB has done a fantastic job at managing the whole squad, even though he has made brave calls telling dawson he is now fifth choice and questioning hudd etc, he has not alienated these players at all as he has obviously dealt with them with honesty, openness and respect. His handling of the goalkeeper situation, while it annoyed me at the time, has also clearly kept all parties on board for the team. I think that AVBs nurturing of the whole squad combined with the fact that we have a lot of really key players still to feature at all suggests we could actually be looking at a much better second half to a season for once. now if we can still be in the mix come january then i think things could well get exciting
Guernman
Arsenal struggling but will come good and Chelsea have gone mad with all the discontent with the fans so this is an opportunity for us in the coming weeks to get some points before Arsenal come good and chelsea sort things out. We need to strike while these teams are not doing so well. liverpool like us are looking long term and I think they are coming together as we are so I think they will be more of a threat this season. The rest who are up there I doubt will be too much of a threat come end of season. It is between us, Arsenal, Chelsea and possibly a late flourish by Liverpool. If we strengthen we can get top four but consistency is the key.
thfan
 

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