We're getting closer
OK let's see: good pre-season; bad start; result, mid table mediocrity. Bad pre-season; good start; result,Champions' League. Simple innit? I've gone from the depths of depression after the runaround administered by Villarreal and on to Cloud 10 after an impressive performance against Benfica so I should be back on an even keel by the time I post this. It doesn't make any sense to base the season's prediction on whatever happened in the last game but I'm afraid that's as scientific as it gets following Spurs.
But pre-season matches, I'm reliably informed, are just training ground games that they charge fans to watch. Not if you win they're not. They are another milestone on the road to ultimate world domination. They don't matter if you lose perhaps but against Benfica we won the Eusabio Cup, don't ask, and played well, which will give everyone a boost. Such are the scraps we have to feed on. Fiorentina was a game of two halves and is difficult to base much on except that Huddlestone looks a class apart. It was the right result in the end and Keane, calmer, and better for it, might not be leaving us after all.
The highlights of the summer season have been new kits, sponsorship and medical updates on Woodgate's groin and Ledley's knee which will be posted on the railings at Buckingham Palace in future. No signings apart from Sandro who will come to us like Pavlyuchenko without a break and will probably not surface until nearer Xmas. No sales either apart from the new Zidane pioneering a new route to Madrid via QPR. As soon as I post this there will no doubt be a flurry of signings.
However there are sensible footballing grounds to think that a settled squad under a stable management automatically improves by continuing to play together. Add on youngsters making the move up and the possible emergence at last of Giovani and you have a squad that can at least maintain last year's levels of performance and achievement.
Liverpool are desperately trying to convince themselves that they are not going into free-fall under Roy Hodgson. Man. City will probably implode under the stress of all those egos. Aston Villa are slowly falling apart. Man.Utd are a waning force with an aging squad whose hour has passed. Everton are strapped for cash and won't be able to mount a serious challenge. Arsenal have kept their key man and could be in with a shout.
So there you have it; real value for money here. Chelsea to win the league, Spurs or Arsenal for second. Man. Utd or Man.City for fourth and and Liverpool or Everton for sixth. This has a pleasing city symmetry about it. They don't call me the ITK's ITK for nothing.
On the other hand with a jet-lagged, heat exhausted squad already suffering from injuries to Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Jenas, Keane, Defoe and Bentley at various times we could find by the end of August that our season is over: out of the Champions' League, floundering in the Premiership, Harry in prison, new stadium blocked and Autonomy in receivership: what they call the 'post Villarreal trauma effect'. However a kindly draw in the play-offs should ensure that the first of these bear traps is avoided, apart from the AstroTurf and the fact that Young Boys knocked out Fenerbache.
I've re-read all of last year's Vox Pop ( You live your lives and I'll live mine thank you) and being hard-bitten Spurs supporters we were a very cautious lot. Only Greg Meyer and his troop of Mummers and Morris Men at the Kent Pub correctly predicted a 4th place finish. I believe that Jim sent them a firkin of good ale as a prize. Since then we have proved we have the ability,confidence and determination to make the step up, much to everyone's delight and most people's surprise.
So taking a leaf out of Greg's book I'm erring on the optimistic side this year. no bet hedging, fudging or double talk. This is known as the 'Eusabio Cup exhilaration effect'. We will qualify for Champions' League proper; we will come 4th at least in the Premiership; throw in a Cup run; Harry will still be manager this time next year and I can put two fingers up once again to those who believe in keeping a low profile in case optimism, not to say over confidence, upsets the Gods. The Gods don't read 'Spurs Musings': fact.
So sit back and hold on very tightly; keep your hands inside the car and remain seated at all times. Is that a one I can see in the date? Two in fact.Must mean something.
Written for 'Topspurs' annual Vox Pop survey