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Spurs Armchair Diary

Year 2011/2012   (Phespirit supports Tottenham Hotspur F.C. from the comfort of his armchair)

Spurs Armchair Diary, season 2011/2012. An outstanding run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League was the highlight of last season. Having enjoyed the taste of playing at the very highest level, it's now doubtful there'll be a chance to repeat it any time soon. As at the start of last season there have been no major signings and the dead wood has proven impossible to shift. The on-going saga of Modric wanting away to Chelsea has been a major distraction heading into the opening games.
2011/2012 Final position:   F.A. Premiership - 4th

Sunday 13 May 2012   [21:20 BST]

Spurs 2 - 0 Fulham : So Spurs close out the season winning 2-0 at home to Blackburn, 4-1 away to Bolton, drawing 1-1 at Villa, and then today - the final day of the league season - winning 2-0 at home to Fulham. A win at Villa would have secured an all-important top three finish but in truth the position was already lost with the back-to-back defeats against Norwich and QPR. The table finished thus:

1. Manchester City   (played 38, 89pts, +64)
2. Manchester United   (played 38, 89pts, +56)
3. Arsenal   (played 38, 70pts, +25)
4. Tottenham Hotspur   (played 38, 69pts, +25)
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5. Newcastle United   (played 38, 65pts, +5)
6. Chelsea   (played 38, 64pts, +19)
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7. Everton   (played 38, 56pts, +10)
8. Liverpool   (played 38, 52pts, +7)
9. Fulham   (played 38, 52pts, -3)

In any other season a top-four finish would have been cause for rejoicing but not so this time. Partly because for so long Spurs had been away and clear in third place, just a couple of points off the top two, so the falling-away since January has been a disappointment. And then also because fourth place this year does not yet guarantee Champions League football next; Chelsea are in this year's final, playing against Bayern Munich in Munich. If they win, then they snatch away next year's final Champions League place. Here's a rare instance where all Spurs supporters will be rooting for the German giants. It's been a peculiar season so anything could yet happen.

Sunday 29 April 2012   [20:27 BST]

Spurs 2 - 0 Blackburn Rovers : In what has been a woeful month, this is the first win since the last post's victory over Swansea. Although Spurs absolutely dominated possession, the repeated problem is converting it into goals. This win was aided vastly by the fact that Blackburn didn't manage a single shot; apparently the first time in eight years that a Premiership team has gone an entire match without managing a shot either on or off target.

Best not looked back on but, just for the record, previous results were a 1-0 defeat at QPR, a 5-1 defeat to Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup (all over when Chelsea were given their second goal despite the ball clearly not going across the line), an abysmal 2-1 defeat at home to Norwich, and a goalless draw up at Sunderland. Miserable times. Now fourth in the league on goal difference from Newcastle, and just a point ahead of Chelsea. Champions League football is not beckoning.

Sunday 1 April 2012   [20:36 BST]

Spurs 3 - 1 Swansea City : The previous post - that finishing third in the league would be difficult if Spurs dropped more than five points from matches away to Everton, home to Stoke, away to Chelsea, home to Swansea and away to Sunderland - illustrates the importance of this win. Fully seven points had already been dropped in going down 1-0 at Everton, and drawing 1-1 and 0-0 against Stoke and Chelsea.

Amid this run of indifferent form came a 3-1 win at home to Bolton in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. This was at the second attempt, however, after the first match had to be abandoned on 41 minutes when Bolton's Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch, suffering a cardiac arrest. Mercifully the lad is making a steady, if long-term, recovery in hospital. It's staggering really since it has emerged he was technically "dead" for 78 minutes. He was given 15 defibrillation shocks, two on the pitch, one in the tunnel, and a further 12 in the ambulance. Truly appalling scenes.

Sunday 4 March 2012   [20:38 GMT]

Spurs 1 - 3 Manchester United : Three matches on from the magnificent performance against to Newcastle; three matches with wretched outcomes. A very poor goalless draw away to Stevenage in the cup; then a 5-2 capitulation at Arsenal after going 2-0 up; and now this hiding at home to United. Defoe's goal was a late consulation. Supposedly Spurs were dominatant for an hour but no points are awarded for dominance. The team now needs to get back on track, and quick. Next up is the replay against Stevenage, which by any reasonable measure ought to be a comfortable home win. Then five Premiership matches that will decided whether Spurs are worthy to retain their third-place in the league: away to Everton; home to Stoke; away to Chelsea; home to Swansea; away to Sunderland. Dropping more than five points from this lot will make it difficult. But the squad remains good enough to win them all.

Saturday 11 February 2012   [19:52 GMT]

Spurs 5 - 0 Newcastle United : Stunning result againt in-form opposition. Assou-Ekotto in the 4th minute; Saha (on debut start) in the 6th and 20th minute; Kranjcar in the 34th minute to make it 4-0 at half-time. Adebayor, having set up every first-half goal, gets the crowning fifth in minute 64. A flurry of substitutions follow and Spurs see the game out with a clean sheet. Magnificent. And with Chelsea and Liverpool both losing earlier in the day, it's not been at all bad.

Sunday 29 January 2012   [21:35 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fourth Round: Watford 0 - 1 Spurs : Having been just the merest touch fortunate not to slip on the banana skin that this Friday-night cup tie could have been, Spurs are rewarded with a fifth round tie at lowly Stevenage. Could have been a lot worse. The quarter-finals ought to be beckoning.

As for last week's 3-2 league defeat at Man City - to a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time - the least said the better.

Monday 16 January 2012   [19:45 GMT]

Spurs 1 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers : A midweek 2-0 win in the long-standing game in hand against Everton had closed the points gap with second-placed Man Utd. A further three points here would have seen Spurs draw level with leaders Man City ..... so it was probably inevitable that this would be the banana-skin match. Aside from the inconceivable prospect of being joint-top of the league, Wolves was a real pain in the arse last season and now once again.

Going top will only get harder now. The next six away fixtures in the Premiership don't look pleasant: Man City; Liverpool; Arsenal; Everton; Chelsea; Sunderland (the latter being a new force now Martin O'Neill is in charge). Also in amongst that lot is a home game with Man Utd. It's all heating up.

Tuesday 3 January 2012   [21:47 GMT]

Spurs 1 - 0 West Bromwich Albion : Phew.

Sunday 1 January 2012   [17:36 GMT]

Swansea City 1 - 1 Spurs : Yesterday afternoon this looked a disappointing result. Spurs had gone a goal up on the stroke of half-time and held the lead until the 84th minute. Then last night, watching Match of the Day and seeing all the chances Swansea squandered before equalising, it started to look like a fair point. And now with Man City losing 1-0 to a last minute goal at Sunderland today, following Man Utd's 3-2 defeat at home to Blackburn, and Chelsea going down 3-1 at home to Villa, it's turned out to be a precious point that closes the gap to the leaders. The bookies must be cleaning up with results like these.

Wednesday 28 December 2011   [21:37 GMT]

Norwich City 0 - 2 Spurs : Yet another confident, competent win that showcased flair, resilience and a couple of good goals from Gareth Bale. As a post-Christmas fixture it had the whiff of banana-skin about it but whilst Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all dropped points, Spurs stay strong. Clear in third-place, a game in hand. It's all good but can it last? It just might.

Sunday 18 December 2011   [19:18 GMT]

Spurs 1 - 0 Sunderland : A good, hard-earned win against a team now on the brink of resurgence. These are important points to be picking up three at a time, particularly after the setback of a 2-1 defeat at Stoke last week (thanks largely to woeful referee Chris Foy missing three handballs, incorrectly showing Kaboul a second yellow card and disallowing a perfectly good Spurs equaliser late on).

In between the 3-1 win at West Brom and the match at Stoke there was the pleasure of a 3-0 romp at home to Bolton (who themselves had a man sent off unjustly), and the disappointment of an early Europa League exit thanks to a shock 1-2 loss at home to PAOK Salonika. A 4-0 win at Shamrock Rovers on Thursday night counted for nothing as Rubin Kazan picked up the point they needed in Greece to qualify along with PAOK. The plus side is that it means, setting aside the possibility of an FA Cup run, the season's clear focus is now on qualifying for the Champions League and maybe even being in the title race mix come March/April. It's always a slightly stinging blow to pride to be knocked out at the first hurdle, though.

Sunday 27 November 2011   [21:17 GMT]

West Bromwich Albion 1 - 3 Spurs : Great hard-fought victory for Spurs on Saturday. Of little importance next to the terribly sad news of Gary Speed's death today. Awful.

Tuesday 22 November 2011   [20:55 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 0 Aston Villa : Even before this win, Spurs were enjoying their best ever start to a Premiership season. A glorious stroll against Villa sees them ascend to third in the table behind the two Manchester clubs - the only teams to best them thus far. The extraordinary league sequence now reads: lost, lost, won, won, won, won, drew, won, won, won, won. Magic. It'll be tough at West Brom on Saturday, though. Always is.

Sunday 6 November 2011   [19:31 GMT]

Fulham 1 - 3 Spurs : After the 1-0 Europa Cup defeat to Rubin Kazan in Russia (albeit with the second-string sqaud players), and with Harry away recovering from minor heart surgery, this was a good result at ground that hasn't always been lucky. Clean sheets remain elusive, but with Fulham repeatedly ploughing forward in the second half - tails up after their own Europa Cup exploits (a 4-1 thrashing of Wisla Krakow) - there should be no grumbling.

Sunday 30 October 2011   [18:40 GMT]

Spurs 3 - 1 Queens Park Rangers : Nice win playing some very attractive football by all accounts, especially in the first half. So Spurs move up to fifth, behind third and fourth on goal difference alone, unbeaten in the last seven league games, six wins and one draw. That's good form.

Sunday 16 October 2011   [18:52 BST]

Newcastle United 2 - 2 Spurs : Not a happy hunting ground over the past few years, and with Newcastle currently the unexpected form team, prospects for improving the record did not look good. Nonetheless, having taken the lead twice in this game and held it until the 86th minute, a hard fought draw somehow almost looks disappointing.

Sunday 2 October 2011   [18:22 BST]

Spurs 2 - 1 Arsenal : Happy days as Spurs have now won four on the trot in Premiership: 2-0 at Wolves, 4-0(!) at home to Liverpool, 2-1 at Wigan and now 2-1 against this crowd who in the space of a year have transformed themselves from Champions League shoo-ins to one of the softer touches in the Premier League. Chortle.

Europa League is looking reasonable too - 0-0 at PAOK Salonika and 3-1 at home to mighty Shamrock Rovers - albeit with regular reserve team picks its unlikely there will be much progress if any beyond the group stage. Sadly Spurs' presence in the League Cup was much shorter-lived as a 0-0 at Stoke was immediately followed by a 7-6 exit on penalties. The most remarkable thing there was that Spurs were able to find six players actually capable of scoring penalties at all. A 3-0 penalty exit would have seemed more likely.

Sunday 11 September 2011   [21:32 BST]

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 - 2 Spurs : The third Premiership game of Spurs' season yields the first points. It still doesn't feel like a good start to the season but, as Harry shrewdly observes, these three fixtures last season only turned up two points so by that cold measure this is an improvement.

The summer transfer window is now closed. Spurs have brought in Scott Parker for five million and taken a tainted (putting it mildly) Emmanuel Adebayor on loan. Out go: Peter Crouch (Stoke, £10m), Wilson Palacios, Stoke, £8m), Jamie O'Hara (Wolves, £5m), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy £1.8m), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa, probably £3m-ish), Jonathan Woodgate (Stoke, free), Kyle Naughton (Norwich, loan), Steven Caulker (Swansea, loan), Bongani Khumalo (Reading, loan), Ryan Mason (Doncaster, loan), Jonathan Obika (Yeovil, loan), David Bentley (West Ham, loan), Jermaine Jenas (Aston Villa, loan). No profit on any deal but it clears the wage bill, and at last that plonker Crouch is gone.

Monday 29 August 2011   [19:17 BST]

Spurs 1 - 5 Manchester City : Second Premiership game of the new season, and it's a shocker. The attacking play from Spurs was positive in intent throughout if a little stale in execution, but the marking at the back was atrocious and this ultimately told. It follows a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United the previous weekend, and the cancellation of what should have been the opening game at home to Everton in the immediate aftermath of local rioting. So Spurs end the first month of the season rock bottom of the Premiership, no points, one goal for and eight against. The only consolation is that Arsenal are only one point better off and took an 8-2 - yes, eight-two - hiding themselves at Old Trafford.

It's not too early to suggest the Premiership title will be going to Manchester this season, but where exactly? Chelsea will be there and abouts, Liverpool will do well, Arsenal will inevitably bounce back, and Spurs ..... for Spurs the only way is up.

Elsewhere, preliminary qualification matches in the Europa league have now been played. Spurs won 5-0 away to Hearts with their best team and then drew 0-0 at home to them with (mostly) their youth team, so it's into the group stages where the opposition will be Rubin Kazan, PAOK Salonika and Shamrock Rovers. A weird mix.