Reasons to be Cheerful!
Sunday's result was disappointing, and as has been pointed out on this site, every time Spurs have the opportunity to jump into the top three, something goes awry.
However, there are reasons to think this could yet be a season to remember - as long as AVB gets some decisions right in the next few weeks. Although I hate losing the game before the international break, it may give our boss the time he needs to rectify a few issues, and see some crucial players make welcome returns before the Manchester City game.
The loss of Danny Rose cannot be underestimated. We have been missing so much balance to the side without him. He provides natural width going forward, and his loss has meant a move out wide for our best centre back Vertonghen. Despite him performing admirably, moving your best player into their second best position is obviously detrimental to the team.
The break will also mean Etienne Capoue will be able to work on his fitness, and I believe he is a vital component in the two games we face against the Manchester clubs. Both teams like to pack midfield - City with Toure, Fernandinho and Milner, United with two in the middle but Rooney dropping off. It is vital we match them and for me Capoue has to start alongside Sandro and one other.
I hope AVB is able to look at his attacking options, as only a blind man could fail to see glaring issues. I understand inverted wingers, but they are not being utilised in the right way. Cutting inside is all well and good, but if you do it every time, it becomes easier to defend against than a winger who always goes on the outside. All that happens is the opposition dedicate one midfielder to come across and block the inside channel. In Newcastle's case it was Cabaye.
The winger must be able to go on the outside as well, rendering the opposition midfielder ineffective. The player who can do both is Lamela, as shown is brief cameos against Arsenal and Cardiff, and in various cup games.
I would keep Townsend and play him initially on the left, although both could swap. AVB must look closely at certain players who haven't performed to their best this season. Dembele (who I have never really taken to) needs a rest to be able to find his best form, and while I like Paulinho's drive and momentum, he must be knackered, and will be more so after international duty. Eriksen has yet to hit any kind of form. These are great players, and form is only temporary, while their class should be permanent.
The depth of our squad can afford these guys, all of whom will be on international duty, a break. Then we come to Emmanuel Adebayor. He must be welcomed back to the fold. No club can compete with just two strikers, whether you are going for the league or trying to stay up. It is a glaring error.
Not only that, but Ade is exactly the player we need right now. Big and strong, and bringing others into play. Somebody like Holtby would love to play with him. I like Soldado, he is a clever player, and I like Defoe too, but we must be able to go two up top sometimes, and to make that unpredictable we need at least three strikers.
Spurs fans must remember that despite some big issues we are five points off top and one point of Champions League. Same record as United. Second best defence in the league. Our points tally so far equates to 69 points at the end of the season. We are a bit short, but what did you honestly expect? We should have beaten Arsenal and Newcastle, and probably Chelsea. We are playing well, and had we beaten Arsenal we'd be joint top. I won't go off on one if we lose to City or United - or even both. We must stay patient.
Last season was the same, and there were calls for AVB to go after we conceded two late goals against Everton. We then went on a hot streak right through until the end of February. I can see it happening again. Lamela, Eriksen, Vertonghen, Lloris, Paulinho, Sandro - they would get in any team in the world. Remember that and get behind your team and manager.
Written by Sebastian Short