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Spurs Armchair Diary

Year 2009/2010   (Phespirit supports Tottenham Hotspur F.C. from the comfort of his armchair)

Spurs Armchair Diary, season 2009/2010. The transformation from relegation certainties to Europa League nearlies has surely stiffened everyone's resolve never to plumb such depths again. Crouch and Bassong are not exactly marquee Premiership signings, but the club starts this season with a bigger, better squad that has good options in every position except the left-wing. Always the left-wing. The pundits generally have Spurs to finish 6th or 7th, which would be fine. Let battle commence.
2009/2010 Final position:   F.A. Premiership - 4th

Saturday 15 June 2010   [16:58 BST]

Not even the disappointment of shipping four goals at Burnley in the last fifty minutes of the last game, thereby going down 4-2, could not tarnish from what has been a truly outstanding season. The quality of the football played by at times by Spurs has been second to none.

Next year - when the year ends in '1' - Spurs will be in Champions League for the first time. Arsenal have been beaten in the league, Chelsea beaten again, Liverpool beaten and left trailing, six points taken from huge-spending Man City, nine goals put past Wigan in a single match.

Only Man United remained a persistent thorn, winning twice in the league and once in the league cup. Wolves taking all six points was a bit weird. The single moment of deep disappointment was losing to Portsmouth in the F.A. Cup semi-final, but with hindsight that may have provided the final impetus needed to guarantee fourth place in the league. No complaints; an excellent year. Here's how it ended:

1. Chelsea   (played 38, 86pts, +71)
2. Manchester United   (played 38, 85pts, +58)
3. Arsenal   (played 38, 75pts, +42)
4. Tottenham Hotspur   (played 38, 70pts, +26)
===================================
5. Manchester City   (played 38, 67pts, +28)
6. Aston Villa   (played 38, 64pts, +13)
7. Liverpool   (played 38, 63pts, +26)
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8. Everton   (played 38, 61pts, +11)

Wednesday 5 May 2010   [22:26 BST]

Manchester City 0 - 1 Spurs : Glorious.

Tuesday 4 May 2010   [18:35 BST]

Spurs 1 - 0 Bolton Wanderers : After the wholly unsurprising 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford, this home win against Bolton leaves Spurs within touching distance of finishing fourth ..... but favourites to be fifth. It's out of Spurs or Man City now. A win for Spurs at City tomorrow guarantees fourth; a draw leaves the ball in Spurs' court; a home win puts City in the driving seat. Expectations at the start of the season are certain to be exceeded, but will the season yet end in mild disappointment?

Friday 23 April 2010   [19:28 BST]

Spurs 2 - 1 Chelsea : Nearly let the week slip by without a note about Sunday's magnificent triumph over Chelsea which, coupled with last weekend's result, completes one of the unlikeliest six point hauls in the club's history. Next up, a trip to the red half of Manchester. What's to fear?

Wednesday 14 April 2010   [22:30 BST]

Spurs 2 - 1 Arsenal : How better to overcome an F.A. Cup disappointment than by turning over Arsenal in the league for the first time since 1999? It cheers the long-suffering White Hart Lane faithful, it gives the team a bonus nudge back towards fourth spot in the league, and it brings fresh misery into the lives of those who deserve it most. Well pleased.

Saturday 11 April 2010   [19:05 BST]

F.A. Cup Semi-final: Spurs 0 - 2 Portsmouth : That's very disappointing. The best team lost, but the most committed and better drilled team won. Various excuses could probably be trotted out, but what's the point? Should not have bought Crouch from them.

If it's true that Portsmouth have declined to enter European competition next year then seventh in Premiership would be good enough for Europa Cup qualification. Just as well, as that likely to be where Spurs will now finish, given last Saturday's unexpected 3-1 defeat at Sunderland. The next three league matches are against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United, with Man City also still to play; that's all the current top four in the last six fixtures. Tough going, but a seventh place finish will do. Today's poor result shouldn't overshadow what has still been a good season with some wonderful football played at times.

Good luck to Portsmouth in the cup final.

Saturday 20 March 2010   [18:28 GMT]

Stoke City 1 - 2 Spurs : Another very pleasing result despite an ever increasing injury list. Now with Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal all clear in the top three places, the race for fourth spot is now poised thus:

4. Spurs   (played 30, 55pts, +26)
===================================
5. Liverpool   (played 30, 51pts, +19)
6. Manchester City   (played 28, 50pts, +17)
7. Aston Villa   (played 29, 50pts, +17)

The standard in these positions is considerably higher than last season, when Fulham claimed seventh spot with 53 points at the end of the season, and Spurs just behind them with 51. At the moment a top six finish guarantees European football, but it could be top seven depending on who wins the FA Cup. Here's a prediction for how it will finish:

4. Manchester City   (played 28, 71pts, +25)
===================================
5. Aston Villa   (played 38, 70pts, +25)
6. Spurs   (played 38, 69pts, +28)
7. Liverpool   (played 38, 68pts, +26)

So basically it's anyone's for the taking.

Sunday 14 March 2010   [16:11 GMT]

Spurs 3 - 1 Blackburn Rovers : A good result. Beating Blackburn is never to be taken for granted, irrespective of what the form book may decree. Both sides had good chances and hard luck, but on balance this was a fair scoreline, and Spurs continue to play attractive, attacking football. Gareth Bale is by far the most improved player this year.

Saturday 6 March 2010   [19:39 GMT]

F.A. Cup Quarter-final: Fulham 0 - 0 Spurs : A fair result. Not the greatest of spectacles, but a decent tactical battle in which the teams pretty effectively neutralised the other. The replay probably won't be much different.

Sunday 28 February 2010   [20:05 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 1 Everton : A bit lucky to get away with all three points in the end. Excellent first half, nervy second. Hopefully this will be Gomes's first and last daft game in an otherwise outstanding season.

Friday 26 February 2010   [19:15 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fifth Round replay: Spurs 4 - 0 Bolton Wanderers : Never in doubt. Another two for Pavlyuchenko, who - common sense dictates - must surely now enjoy a good run in the team at the expense of Crouch.

Sunday 21st February 2010   [20:09 GMT]

Wigan Athletic 0 - 3 Spurs : A much needed good result. The F.A. Cup win at Leeds had been followed by an 0-0 at home to Villa that deserved more, an appalling 1-0 defeat Wolves, and a salvaged 1-1 draw in the cup at Bolton. The build-up to the game inevitably centred on Spurs' 9-1 home win against Wigan in November. The scoreline in this game could only ever be worse for Spurs, so it was pleasing to see it still turn out so well.

Pleasing, too, to see Pavlyuchenko have such a positive impact.

Thursday 4 February 2010   [20:42 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fourth Round replay: Leeds United 1 - 3 Spurs : Not a great deal of credibility to be gained by boasting about a Premiership team's victory over a League One side. Still, it has to be said Spurs played some lovely football on a lousy night in a hostile stadium. Bentley has looked a different player over the last three matches, like the Bentley that came good at Blackburn. Kranjčar showed some sublime touches and control. Gomes is imperious in goal. Defoe scored a hattrick, missed another, and put another in the keeper's hands.

Good stuff. Erased the disappointing memory of Birmingham's stoppage time equaliser in Saturday's game at St. Andrew's.

Sunday 24 January 2010   [16:42 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fourth Round: Spurs 2 - 2 Leeds United : By every single measure of comparison between the two clubs, Spurs should have won this one. And by every measure of performance on the day, Spurs should have won this one. By every measure, that is, except 'goals scored'. Leeds equalised with a penalty awarded in the fifth minute of stoppage time, which was a marginal decision but probably correct. Nonetheless, Spurs should have been given an identical decision in the first half, and where did those five minutes of stoppage time come from? There was were no injuries, was no time-wasting, and although there were six substitutions it still shouldn't have gone beyond four minutes at most. But moaning about the injustices doesn't alter the fact that if just half Spurs' chances had been converted this would have been over as a contest at half-time, and a drubbing at ninety minutes. Defoe missed a fourth successive penalty, so if only one positive comes from the game it should be that Defoe is never again allowed anywhere near a spot-kick. Give it to Modric.

Sunday 17 January 2010   [10:07 GMT]

Spurs 0 - 0 Hull City : In bygone years Spurs would be undone by a striker or 'mercurial' midfielder who would save up their one outstanding performance of the season for Spurs' visit, or their trip to White Hart Lane. At least in this match it was the goalkeeper, Boaz Myhill, who decided to have the game of his life. It feels like a miserable two points dropped, but it could be looked on as a point gained that was lost last season ..... nah, it's two points dropped.

Disruption to the fixture list caused by snow and ice over the past fortnight means only one other match has been played in 2010. That was in the third round of the F.A. Cup, and finished Spurs 4-0 Peterborough United. Pretty comfortable stuff. Leeds United will be the visitors in the fourth round. They sensationally won 0-1 at Old Trafford to progress, but have since only drawn at home to Wycombe and lost away to Exeter in the league, and their top goalscorer wants out, so it could still be a good draw.

Monday 28 December 2009   [16:15 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 0 West Ham United : And that's a fourth successive clean sheet and by all acounts a completely dominant performance. Even so, it was a relief to hear the second goal had gone in. The Spurs march on.

Sunday 27 December 2009   [15:03 GMT]

Fulham 0 - 0 Spurs : There's always a slight tinge of sadness when points are dropped, but in the cold light of day - especially now having seen the match highlights - this is unquestionably a good point gained. Most teams visiting Craven Cottage this year will come away with less. And, whilst reflecting on bright sides, three successive clean sheets for Spurs is not bad either.

Sunday 20 December 2009   [11:53 GMT]

Blackburn Rovers 0 - 2 Spurs : Two tricky fixures; six points for Spurs. A solid 3-0 hiding for Manchester City on Wednesday night is followed by a rare and equally solid rolling over of Blackburn on their own ground. Two clean sheets as well, albeit in both games the opposition had a couple of decent chances to find the net. Spurs took their chances and are now back on the rails.

Next up: the Christmas London derbies. It's going to be difficult at Fulham, but Dawson and Kranjčar are playing particularly well, and the strikers seem comfortable in the scoring boots, so anything's possible.

Sunday 13 December 2009   [09:19 GMT]

Spurs 0 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers : On a day when every result was an upset, this result was the most upsetting. After the flying first third of Spurs' season, packed with huge wins, now it's just starting to feel like those many bygone seasons of one part flattering flair, two parts feeble fragility.

Next up, at home to Man City in midweek - which won't be easy - and then travelling to Blackburn, the fixture that arguably cost the team a place in the Europa league at the end of last season.

Sunday 6 December 2009   [19:14 GMT]

Everton 2 - 2 Spurs : Two-nil up and still creating chances with with twelve minutes to go, this ought to have been three points in the bag for Spurs. But shit happens, and Everton are a spirited side, so it goes to two-all but Spurs get a penalty in stoppage time. Again, it ought to be three points in the bag until up steps Defoe. He is to striking what David James is to goalkeeping: second to none in split-second instinctive situations, but liable to let the side down when he has time to think. He scuffs the spot kick straight down the middle and the game finishes as a draw. Probably second only to the one-nil home defeat against Stoke in terms of disappointment.

Since the extraordinary 9-1 win at home to Wigan a fortnight ago - in which Defoe scored five - Spurs haven't won in three. Albeit those three were away to Aston Villa (a dominant performance only earning a one-all draw), away to Man United in the League Cup (a lethargic two-nil capitulation), and away to Everton. Next up is at home to Wolves. They must be punished.

Sunday 8 November 2009   [13:22 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 0 Sunderland : A fortnight after having wiped the floor with Stoke only to come away nothing, this match was the absolute reverse. Sunderland had the better of the play, the majority of chances, and showed the greater ambition, but their reward was two goals conceded, a missed penalty, and a goalkeeper with a broken arm.

Such is football.

Sunday 1st November 2009   [16:50 GMT]

Arsenal 3 - 0 Spurs : No real surprise in this result, except perhaps the awfulness of Spurs' performances at centre-back. Missed Defoe, who is still a twat for getting sent of needlessly at Portsmouth. Missed Lennon, whose pace remains more dangerous than Bentley's crosses. But most of all, missed Modric. Only one league win in six since he broke his leg against Birmingham. OK, so three of the four defeats were against Chelsea, Man United, and now Arsenal, which may well have been defeats even with Modric at his best, but the team is more likely to be competitive and dangerous with him than without him.

Sunday 25 October 2009   [08:54 GMT]

Spurs 0 - 1 Stoke City : First bad result of the season, although perversely it was one of the better performances. All that it lacked was the finishing. The performance for last weekend's 2-1 win away to Portsmouth wasn't nearly as dominant yet they came away with all three points. It's a wake up call, and perhaps needed ahead of the midweek League Cup against Everton.

Spurs will not finish in the top four this season - that was never on the cards, however positive the start - but they still look comfortable for the top seven. Indeed, making a prediction at this early stage of the season, the top half of the table ought to finish: Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Spurs, Everton, Wigan, Sunderland. As always, the truth remains to be seen.

Sunday 11 October 2009   [18:45 BST]

It's a been a while, but taking advantage of the international fixture weekend, here's the last month's worth of results.

03/10/2009 - Premiership: Bolton Wanderers 2 - 2 Spurs
26/09/2009 - Premiership: Spurs 5 - 0 Burnley
23/09/2009 - League Cup: Preston North End 1 - 5 Spurs
20/09/2009 - Premiership: Chelsea 3 - 0 Spurs
12/09/2009 - Premiership: Spurs 1 - 3 Manchester United

Notwithstanding a couple of unfortunate reversals against the big boys, that little lot leaves Spurs placed third in the Premiership and in the fourth round of the League Cup, drawn at home to Everton. Things aren't so bad.

Saturday 29 August 2009   [23:08 BST]

Spurs 2 - 1 Birmingham City : An exciting open game, like all Spurs' games this season. Still no clean sheet, the Brum equaliser coming from a proper cock-up in defence. Spurs are 100% victorious and 50% riding their luck. Great goal for the win, but the fifth minute of stoppage time is cutting it fine.

Now second in the Premiership, behind Chelsea on goal difference.

Wednesday 26 August 2009   [21:47 BST]

League Cup: Doncaster Rovers 1 - 5 Spurs : Bloody hell. But it surely can't last. Donny hit the woodwork a few times, and Spurs are still without a clean sheet, but these are happy days. Four matches, four good wins, four goals against, fourteen goals scored. Nice!

Sunday 23 August 2009   [19:17 BST]

West Ham United 1 - 2 Spurs : Yet another win, the third on the trot after last weekend's domination of Liverpool and the Wednesday night thrashing of Hull. It's the the first time since the double-winning season of 1961 that Spurs have opened with three wins. That was a legendary team that went on to win the next eight league matches as well. This one won't, but they ought to win at home to Birmingham before trickier looking fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea.

There is only one slight dampener on the assumption that this year's team is playing much better than last year's, and that is the fact that last year's team also took nine points from these three fixtures. It never felt quite this good, though.

Saturday 22 August 2009   [10:35 BST]

Hull City 1 - 5 Spurs : What a magnificent start to the season. Two excellent performances, two victories, only the second time in fourteen Premiership seasons that Spurs have opened with back-to-back wins, the first time in four years that Spurs have topped the Premiership table. Fantastic:

1. Tottenham Hotspur   (played 2, 6pts, +5)
2. Chelsea   (played 2, 6pts, +3)
3. Arsenal   (played 1, 3pts, +5)
4. Liverpool   (played 2, 3pts, +3)
===================================
5. Manchester City   (played 1, 3pts, +2)
=. West Ham United   (played 1, 3pts, +2)
7. Wigan Athletic   (played 2, 3pts, +1)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
8. Fulham   (played 1, 3pts, +1)

Sunday 16 August 2009   [19:11 BST]

Spurs 2 - 1 Liverpool : At long last, a feelgood start to a Spurs season. It makes a change not having to play away on the opening weekend, but this was still a difficult-looking fixture. Last year Liverpool played Spurs off the pitch at the Lane, yet Spurs nicked it 2-1 - one of only two league defeats for Liverpool all season. This time Spurs have played Liverpool off the park to the extent that it could have been over by half-time, yet at the death Liverpool might have had a penalty to equalise. At full-time, however, the score and the result were the same, and that's the main thing.

Three points in one match. Last year it was two points from eight. Things are looking up.