What an incredible last day. What an incredible season. Goals galore and a lot of drama. I’m sure most of you are still coming to terms with the end of yet another Premier League campaign and already planning your team’s transfer activity for the summer window but here is my lowdown on Tottenham Hotspur’s first season under Andre Villas Boas.
On 3rd June 2012, Daniel Levy appointed Andre Villas-Boas to replace outgoing manager Harry Redknapp in the hot seat at White Hart Lane. Villas-Boas, for many, was a rather controversial appointment due to his unsuccessful spell at Chelsea during the 2011/12 season. After purchasing Jan Vertonghen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Emmanuel Adebayor, Mousa Dembele, Hugo Lloris and Clint Dempsey during the summer transfer window, Spurs struggled at the start of the season losing their first game and drawing the next two. At this stage, many fans were already calling for Villas-Boas’ head and others were urging the side on and assuring fans. After wins versus Reading and QPR, Villas-Boas brought a huge number of fans on his side due to Spurs’ first win over Manchester United at Old Trafford since 1989. Spurs went on a good run which ended at the hands of bitter rivals, Arsenal, losing 5-2 away.
After a 2-1 loss away at Everton, Villas-Boas reformed the dressing room and refurbished the tactics to stop his defence leaking late goals. His tactics worked a treat. Spurs went on a 12 game unbeaten run in the League including wins over Arsenal, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham. The man to take Spurs through this superb patch would be none other than Welsh wizard, Gareth Bale. Gareth scored six consecutive goals in four games and helped Villas-Boas’ young side through some sticky situations. Due to his world beating form, Gareth was attracting interest from the world’s biggest and best clubs and chairman Daniel Levy knew he would have a tough time holding on to Bale over the summer.
The glorious run ended at Anfield, where Spurs let a 2-1 lead slip at Liverpool, ending in a 3-2 loss. This marked the start of a sticky run, culminating in a lacklustre defeat at home to Fulham and a few draws along the way. Spurs’ season was reignited in a seven minute spell. After going 1-0 down very early on at home to Manchester City, goals from Dempsey, Defoe and Bale put us back in command in 4th. But there were many twists left. A week later, Spurs could only manage a 2-2 draw away to Wigan and then relied on Gareth Bale, yet again, to pull out the stops versus Southampton. A decider versus Chelsea ended 2-2 and put our fate out of our hands. And this was how the season finished. A Gareth Bale wonderstrike saw off Sunderland on the final day but a 1-0 Arsenal win at St James’ Park meant the top four would consist of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, leaving us in the Europa League for next season.
Despite our fifth place finish, negativity is the last thing on most people’s mind. A few criticise Levy but I am still very thankful he is our chairman. We had a very, very successful transition spell under Andre Villas-Boas and with a good spending spree in the summer, we can really achieve our targets. We definitely need to buy a left-back to replace Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who’s heart looks like it is miles away. We need to buy at least one, if not two, world class striker. We relied on Gareth Bale to score many of our goals this year and he needs a talisman to put more in the back of the net.
I am full of optimism for next season but let me give you my top five moments of this season,
5 – Our Europa League tie versus Lyon. Firstly, Gareth Bale’s last gasp winner versus Lyon at home. With the score at 1-1, Bale had Remy Vercoutre picking air at his sublime free kick. Secondly, Mousa Dembele’s terrific shot in the last minute of the second leg to send us through on aggregate.
4 – Coming back from 1-0 down to beat Manchester City at home in seven minutes. Three superb goals.
3 – Beating Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Lane with goals from Bale and Lennon. What a day.
2 – Bale’s last minute winner away to West Ham from 25 yards out. Sublime just about covers it.
1 – Winning away at Old Trafford after 23 years. A great day in our history and three very good goals from Jan Vertonghen, Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey.
A final mention to one man who deserves every ounce of praise he is getting – Gareth Bale. He notched 21 goals for Spurs in the League this year and three in the Europa League. 11 of these goals were scored from outside the box and were all tremendous strikes. Gareth has raised his game tremendously this year and is, in my opinion, in the top four best players in the world. If he does decide to put pen to paper at White Hart Lane for at least another year, rest assured we will only see more. Gareth is fast becoming the hottest property in world football and if he continues this way, Messi and Ronaldo will be having sleepless nights. I’d like to thank and congratulate Gareth Bale for a tremendous season, acknowledged with four awards. Thank you, Gareth.
I am excited for next season and can’t wait to see the Premier League kick off in 97 days time. Come On You Spurs!