You shock me, Tottenham Hotspur.
Actually, no you do not. This is strictly what I count on of you. Therein lies the issue.
Wednesday’s FA Cup elimination by the hands of a heavily-rotated second-tier Sheffield United means Spurs are more likely to head right into a sixteenth successive 12 months with out silverware.
Understandably, followers have not taken it effectively. There’s been a necessity for everybody related to Spurs to go away and turn out to be a recluse in the course of nowhere, to stay in an abyss freed from expertise, to go on a retreat to a different dimension, to detox to the purpose the place each merchandise of clothes of their wardrobe is beige and their favorite meal is a ham and cheese sandwich.
The Athletic‘s James Maw wrote an awesome/depressing/cathartic (delete as applicable) piece on Tottenham’s most humiliating cup exits of the trendy period on Thursday, so do verify that out.
This is not the identical idea. Spurs, like all sides, endure at the least one crippling defeat which makes followers query their love of the gorgeous recreation a season, brings existential crises to the floor.
Ignoring the significance of the cups and capturing themselves within the foot on huge phases now appears ingrained within the DNA of contemporary Tottenham, however do they instantly reply effectively to such blows? Are they capable of salvage seasons? Would anybody like to listen to me out, carry the temper just a little?
If so, learn on. It’s going to be a bumpy experience.
Context: Portsmouth, on the verge of going out of enterprise and backside of the Premier League by about 700 factors, outlast a Spurs workforce stuffed with gamers they needed to promote to them, profitable 2-0 in one of many largest semi-final shocks within the historical past of the FA Cup.
How Tottenham responded: Harry Redknapp’s males beat Arsenal and Chelsea of their subsequent two video games (!!!), finally propelling them to a primary look within the Champions League.
Verdict: The days the place a primary top-four end was legitimately like a trophy. It all labored out.
Context: Now 20 years with out an FA Cup, Spurs have been ripped aside by Fulham in spherical 4, shedding 4-0 and conceding each objective in a manic first-half.
How Tottenham responded: A fortnight later, Tottenham beat Milan 1-0 at San Siro. Their further relaxation for league video games meant little although as they completed fifth.
Verdict: I do not suppose something might ever justify a 4-0 loss at Fulham.
Context: After their faint hopes of a title cost have been ousted, Tottenham have been now preventing with Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle for a top-four spot. Their 5-2 hammering on the Emirates Stadium despatched them right into a tailspin.
How Tottenham responded: Between Redknapp’s tax evasion trial, his unsuccessful flirtation with the England job and this battle-scar specifically, Spurs dropped to fourth after spending a lot of the season in third. Then their Champions League spot was robbed by Chelsea. Then Redknapp was sacked.
Verdict: This complete season wants the Men In Black thoughts erase therapy.
Context: Andre Villas-Boas’ hell-bent pursuit of Europa League glory noticed favourites Tottenham dumped out on the quarter-final stage by Basel on penalties. Mohamed Salah introduced himself to the world, Emmanuel Adebayor skied a hilarious spot-kick.
How Tottenham responded: AVB’s relentless want to compete on the European entrance took its toll, with Spurs dropping lots of factors unnecessarily down the stretch and surrendering fourth place to Arsenal from an inconceivable place.
Context: Gareth Bale left. Seven gamers got here in. Most of them have been garbage. Tottenham received hit with a Tombstone Piledriver each different week. AVB misplaced his job. Tim Sherwood changed him. Tim Sherwood merely existed. The finish.
How Tottenham responded: A whole write-off season noticed Tottenham truly make a sensible transfer and rent Mauricio Pochettino.
Verdict: Worth it ultimately, however god what a horrible timeline that was.
Context: Despite his disdain for cup competitions, Pochettino and Spurs stumble into the 2015 League Cup closing. Jose Mourinho learnt his classes from a 5-3 mauling at White Hart Lane a month earlier, beginning Kurt Zouma in midfield and nullifying Tottenham, who misplaced 2-0 at Wembley.
How Tottenham responded: Spurs’ depth dropped for a lot of the remainder of the season, however for a younger workforce within the first 12 months of a rebuild, that was comprehensible. Their foundations had been set.
Context: Tottenham’s push for the 2015/16 Premier League title was mainly over by the point they went to Chelsea for what turned referred to as ‘The Battle of the Bridge’ – it could have taken a miracle to overhaul Leicester at that stage. After going 2-0 up, the Blues pegged them again to 2-2 to seal the Foxes’ crown.
How Tottenham responded: Lost 2-1 at dwelling to Southampton earlier than succumbing to a 5-1 thrashing at 10-man relegated Newcastle.
Verdict: A meaningless collapse. No cause for it to occur, no actual repercussions (other than the ‘third in a two-horse race’ rhetoric).
Context: Blimey, fairly a little bit of distress induced by Chelsea right here. Antonio Conte will get one over his future membership when he introduced on Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas at 2-2 in an FA Cup semi-final, finally profitable 4-2.
How Tottenham responded: Spurs did not catch Chelsea within the Premier League title race, however they’d not have overtaken them even when they managed to win each remaining recreation. Instead, they ensured White Hart Lane’s finale was memorable, beating Arsenal and Man Utd. Harry Kane smashed up Leicester and Hull to win a second successive Golden Boot.
Verdict: Annoying and irritating, however Spurs did all they realistically might to make amends. It yielded a membership record-high 86 factors within the league.
Context: Two cup exits in comparable style. Tottenham led in opposition to each Juventus within the Champions League final 16 and Man Utd within the FA Cup semi-finals and seemed set to study from previous errors. But they have been just a little fast-and-loose, naive when the strain ramped up, shedding 2-1 to each. The historical past of the Tottenham.
How Tottenham responded: Sandwiched between these defeats got here Spurs’ first win at Stamford Bridge within the Premier League period, seemingly overcoming an enormous psychological barrier. Yet they nonetheless threw away a gathering with Chelsea within the FA Cup closing.
Verdict: Football may be complicated.
Context: Despite making no signings in the summertime or winter home windows, a drained and depleted Tottenham reached their first ever Champions League closing in opposition to all the percentages. The recreation is over after 24 seconds.
How Tottenham responded: Pochettino admitted pre-match he would have walked away if Spurs had received. In hindsight, that ought to have been the top of his first spell. The following season noticed Spurs just a little more energizing bodily however mentally spent, the ultimate and finish to that period nonetheless lingering. The Bayern 7-2, the Brighton 3-0 and Pochettino’s sacking have been late reactions to this night time.
Verdict: Glorious failure. It could not be extra Tottenham.
Context: No Harry Kane, no Son Heung-min, no downside? Well, not fairly. Mourinho’s Spurs have been knocked out of the FA Cup on the fifth spherical at dwelling by relegation-battling Norwich on penalties as a result of he had no plan with out his two stars. Eric Dier climbed into the stands to confront followers aiming abuse at his household.
How Tottenham responded: This was the closest Spurs got here to imploding. The COVID lockdown break meant they’d time to get well Kane and Son for the remainder of the season, stopping them from slipping into the underside half. Even then, the membership created controversy by inserting non-playing workers on furlough.
Verdict: A pandemic saved Tottenham’s blushes. Go determine.
Context: Mourinho promised his Spurs gamers that they’d win the 2020/21 Europa League in the event that they certified. They led Dinamo Zagreb, whose supervisor was in jail, 2-0 heading into the second leg of their final 16 tie. The Croatians rallied again and progressed to the quarter-finals.
How Tottenham responded: Mourinho lasted just a few extra weeks earlier than being sacked, whereas captain Hugo Lloris gave an explosive TV interview urging the membership to take a look at themselves. I’d exit on a limb to say this helped speed up Daniel Levy’s handing over of soccer operations, with Fabio Paratici arriving in the summertime.
Verdict: Number one banter second, there was no getting back from it.
Context: Tottenham’s subsequent win-now transfer noticed them appoint ex-Chelsea boss Conte, who had reached the FA Cup closing twice in his first two seasons in England. A robust Spurs workforce have been eradicated by Championship outfit Middlesbrough in spherical 5.
How Tottenham responded: Transitioning again to solely taking part in as soon as per week granted Conte the liberty to construct a formidable workforce, leapfrogging Arsenal to fourth and reuniting a damaged membership.
Verdict: Probably price it particularly since Chelsea – who had already crushed Spurs 4 occasions with out reply that season – have been ready for them within the subsequent spherical.
Context: We know.
How Tottenham responded: Who is aware of?
Verdict: Jury’s out however my scorching scorching take is shedding to a Championship workforce once more shouldn’t be going to age effectively.
You’re in all probability nonetheless questioning what the purpose of all that is, or if there even is one. Why did I open up outdated wounds and rub salt into them like a sure influencer standing over a steak?
It’s inconceivable for Spurs followers to run away from the helpless feeling that the membership’s trophy drought might by no means finish, like they’re underneath some type of medieval curse (I’m not categorically ruling this out).
But maybe there’s trigger for optimism. Despite all of the heavy blows during the last decade, Tottenham all the time land on their ft once more relative to their objectives and expectations, their assets and expenditure. As greatest identified by my good good friend Tom Hayward on the Rule The Roost and The Tottenham Way podcasts this week, Spurs have by no means been pushed to the brink like Chelsea this season or Arsenal and Man Utd in current ones – even Sherwood ended his season with 69 factors (although pre-pandemic Mourinho might have had one thing to say about this level).
Obviously, these extra crucial of ENIC’s possession and Levy’s tenure will say extra must be accomplished with rising assets. That’s truthful. But even when Tottenham are unravelling, they discover a technique to decide themselves up and mud themselves off, even when it takes a 12 months or so.
Spurs are nonetheless in a extremely good place to complete within the high 4 once more and set themselves up for one more summer season of rebuilding and retooling. A little bit of Groundhog Day and deja vu, however that is the very best they’ll do proper now. Either means, all the things will probably be wonderful. Football is cyclical and all the time will probably be.
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