Tuesday, May 29, 2007

SEASON REVIEW
by Norbert Gingell
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Spurs Supporters Club (Malta) founder Member Norbert Gingell gives us a month by month summary of Spurs' 2006-2007


August 2006

....in which Spurs had their worst start for 6 years. Spurs even managed to lose at home to Everton, who have only ever beaten Spurs three times in 30 Premiership games. Paul Robinson was beaten at long range by an Ivan Campo shot at The Reebok. Spurs scored and won in only one of the three games, against Sheffield United, when Dimitar Berbatov scored his first of the season from close range.


September 2006

Played 5, Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 2. Sadly neither of the two wins were in the Premiership, but Spurs did beat Slavia Prague at home and away, without conceding. Although Spurs had some difficult away games at the start of the season, the fact that Spurs still haven't scored an away goal becomes a worry. Spurs even failed to score at home against Fulham, who should have been fodder. Berbatov got injured early in the month whilst on International duty, and missed all five games.

October 2006

One of Spurs better months, in which they were unbeaten. Zokora achieves notoriety with a cheating dive that won a winning penalty against Portsmouth. Robinson achieves the same with that miss of a "bobbling" ball against Croatia, and becomes a target for the press over the course of the season whenever beaten from distance.
It was in October when Berbatov returned and gave one of his dazzling displays in Istanbul against Besiktas, but he doesn't re-find his scoring boots for another month. Mido scored three goals in this month. One was probably his best of the season to beat West Ham at The Lane. The other two were scored at The National Hockey Stadium, where Spurs beat Milton Keynes 5-0, and where Michael Dawson was granted 45 minutes rest! Spurs hopes of visiting the other three National Stadia in the UK (Cardiff, Wembley and Glasgow) were not to be fulfilled. Dawson missed just one more of our 59 games through suspension on 17th December! Premiership clean sheets would become hard to come by after the Watford stalemate.

November 2006

The number of games mount (to seven) and Spurs lose only one. However, that was a dismal performance at Reading. Three months into the season, and Spurs have yet to score an away League goal from open play, relying upon an own goal at Villa Park in October, and a Defoe penalty at Ewood Park. 18 year old centre back Dorian Dervite made an impressive debut against Port Vale in the Carling Cup, nearly getting a touch to Huddlestone's long free kick for a goal too! The month had started well with the entertaining win over Club Brugge, but the out and out highlight of the month was of course finally beating Chelsea in the Premiership.


Michael Dawson celebrates win over Chelsea

December 2006
Nine games, three of which were lost. The first of these was the worst of all, as our team didn't just lose at The Emirates Stadium - they failed to show the passion that fans deserve from them in one of the most important games of the season. It was a total surrender. They owed the fans, and they did win their next five games. Spurs also sealed an impressive 100% record in the UEFA Group stage, beating Dinamo Bucharest, who will play Champions League football next season. Christmas itself became less enjoyable, with defeats at Newcastle and at home to Liverpool, with a Berbatov-Defoe inspired victory against Aston Villa in between. Skipper Ledley King (always greatly missed when absent) played his last game on Boxing Day until April. We also missed Robbie Keane for most of this month, but his form in 2007 was to be quite blistering!

January 2007

8 games were played this month, and two were lost - one on the last day of the month at The Emirates Stadium. It took until the middle of the month to win a game after another rain-sodden trip to Portsmouth, and a gladiatorial encounter with the "welcoming" Cardiff fans. Only three league games were played, and Spurs couldn't win one of them. Spurs surrendered what had been (at one stage in the tie) a two-goal lead to our hated enemies, and morale was seriously sapped when they booted us out of the Carling Cup semi-final on the last night of the month.

February 2007

This was a month that started badly with a 4-0 home defeat by Manchester United, and further defeat at Bramall lane, after which Spurs were in the bottom half of the table. Spurs' purple patch of the season changed things, starting with a 4-0 win at Craven Cottage, which consisted of 4 top-class goals (2 each for Berbatov and Keane), a late, late winner by Jermaine Jenas at Goodison Park, ending with the 4-1 home win over Bolton. Robbie Keane was sent off in the first half for handball on the line, but even though Bolton scored from the spot, Spurs were 3-1 up, and increased their lead. This match included the single most impressive individual performance by a Spurs player all season, with a master-class by Dimitar Berbatov, on his own at the front for Spurs.

March 2007

Spurs best marks of the season, and for 18 months. The month started with a fantastic trip to Upton Park. This was one of the most dramatic matches of the season, which we won with two late goals. It looked as if Spurs had condemned the Hammers to Championship football, but as we now know, they had a fantastic run-in. This month we had home and away 3-2 wins over Sporting Braga; Paul Robinson got on the scoresheet against Watford, but the highlight was the feeling at half-time when we were 3-1 up at Stamford Bridge. Sadly, Chelsea clawed their way back, and beat us in the replay. Spurs did climb up to 6th place in the League table to maintain their quest for UEFA qualification.

April 2007

The purple patch was over, and the chance of qualifying for Europe was reduced to the single option of a League place, as last year's winners - Sevilla - cast us aside, and eventually retained their trophy. This tie was marred off the pitch by violence police tactics in Spain, and on the pitch by the early concession of two goals in the home leg. Jermaine Jenas rescued a point and some pride with a last-gasp equaliser at home to Arsenal, and with a welcome win at The Riverside, Spurs become favourites to take advantage of games in hand to qualify for next season's UEFA Cup. Ledley King's return to the side had a lot to do with improved morale on and off the pitch.


Jenas earns a point against Arsenal

May 2007

Berbatov's class gets Spurs off to a good start with Spurs 100th goal in all competitions at The Valley, and he scored two and made two of our 5 goals in the three games that ensured a fifth place finish. Over 1,000,000 spectators have watched Spurs at home this season, and both Berbatov and Keane finished with over 20 goals. Defoe wasn't far off with 18, from fewer starts than the top two. Robbie Keane had scored 17 goals in the Calendar year of 2007, but it was no surprise to see Dimitar Berbatov win the fans' votes for Player of the Season. The Bulgarian also made it into the Premiership team of the season.


Berbatov scores Spurs 100th goal of the season at Charlton

Conclusion
Martin Jol's team must learn to hold onto two-goal leads, and it hurt more than anything to lose to Arsenal and Chelsea in the latter stages of the domestic Cups. Jol's perceived strategy of trying to sit on a lead in many games this season failed too often.
As the end of the season approached, we the Spurs followers said that we would be satisfied with another UEFA qualifying league position, and the fact that we did finish fifth just about made it a good season in my opinion. (Had we finished sixth or seventh, I would have described the season as "satisfactory")

It was a long hard season, testing the stamina of players required to play more than most, and here I take my hat off to Michael Dawson, who took part in 58 of the 59 games.
We had some exciting times and some fun times, and we can look forward to more of the same next term. Some people will say that we must win a trophy next season to achieve real progress, but for me the big requirement is to break into that top four cartel (hopefully at the expense of Arsenal).

I'd love a Cup run or two, but if we can get top four, I'd be a really happy man!
Enjoy your summer.

Jol addresses the crowd after the last game of the season

3 comments:

Robert said...

L-aqwa li jibqghu nies bhal King, Kalashnikov u Lennon, u forsi Spurs jirnexxilom jidhlu mal-ewwel erbgha s-sena d-diehla.

Oggettivament Man Utd u Chelsea qedin f'dinja ghalihom, mentri Arsenal u Liverpool qedin targa l'isfel minnhom. Pero' b'naqra fortuna Spurs kapaci jikkumbattu maghhom. L-importanti (duh!) li ma jintilfux punti maz-'zghar' u li jingabru xi punti mid-direct encounters...

norbert said...

Hekk hu, sewwa qed tghid. Madankollu mhux facli li tippenetra ma' l-ewwel erbgha ghax il-financzi kollox. Ghakemm li Spurs donnu m'ghandomx problema ta' fondi, dejjem hemm limitu. Ghax filwaqt li Spurs dahhlu mat 30 miljum sterlina mill-girja fil-EUFA Cup din is-sena, l-Arsenal dahhlu mal 44 miljun sterlina,u dan meta ma kellomx success fl-Ewropa. Ahseb u ara biex thallaq mal Man Utd, Chelski u Liverpool. Id-decizzjoni tal-ground White Hart Lane saret krucjali aktar minn qabel jekk verament Levy irid jara li Spuirs ma l-ewwel erbgha. Imma ghandi fiducja shiha li fl-ahhar SPursa jippartecipaw fic-Champions League jekk it-tim jigi imsahhah sew bi players ta' kwalita' biex it-tim jigi bilancjat specjalment fuq ix-xellug. Altrimenti addio Berbatov, Lennon ecc.

Anonymous said...

Ghax l-ispurs ma jorgannizawx mini-tournament fis-sajf? Ikunu (1) qed jaghtu naqra esperjenza liz-zaghzagh tat-team u (2) ikunu qed idahhlu kemxa flus mill-gate money/tv rights.

Qed nirreferi ghal tournaments bhal dak li issa l-Ajax ilu jorganizza snin (4 teamijiet, 2 semifinals + 1 final). Jekk minix sejjer zball, CSKA Moscow se jorganizzaw wiehed simili flimkien ma AC Milan, Real Madrid u PSV Eindhoven.

Over time, dan it-tournament jaf jiehu l-prestigju (relattiv) tieghu, bhall-Torneo Gamper, Coppa Berlusconi etc.