Spurs: Not Good Enough For Title Yet (But At Least Arsenal Aren't Top)
So now we know for sure. Regardless of who manages the team, Tottenham are better than most sides in the Premier League, but a lot worse than the really good ones.
Tim Sherwood’s reign may have a similar look to it at the end of the season as AVB’s early season record - a series of satisfactory results regularly punctuated by abject humiliations. This latest one was every bit as comprehensive as the early season maulings at the Etihad and at home to Liverpool. It was only easier to take because the fans have become increasingly inured to the degradation.
Spurs were undeniably poor yesterday but the truth is they were mesmerised into their awfulness by the breathtaking alacrity of Manchester City. Within ten minutes of the start, the pitch was littered with demoralised white shirted players made to look and feel utterly inadequate by their opponents. Chief among the chastened was young Nabil Bentaleb who had been a revelation since his sudden promotion to the first team coinciding with Sherwood’s own elevation before Christmas. Here he displayed all the rawness and psychological fragility that had hitherto been so admirably absent. More experienced players had less of an excuse - Gylfi Sigurdsson spent most of the game simply gawping as the Sky Blues wove their magic.
Sherwood described City afterwards as ‘the best team in the planet’ (sic). He would say that wouldn’t he? But he might be right. Alan Hansen said much the same thing later on Match Of The Day. Nevertheless, it’s deeply disappointing for Spurs fans that, after all the spending, they remain so far behind not just City but Arsenal, who outclassed them in the Cup earlier this month and Liverpool, who obliterated them at the Lane in December. Chelsea also look to be of a different calibre which means that unless Spurs undergo an astonishing improvement, or one of the top four suffer a dramatic collapse, Champions League qualification will once again remain an unticked box on the Levy/Lewis business plane.
For crumbs of comfort the faithful can look to the players due to return from injury, in particular Sandro, Vertonghen, Paulinho and Townsend who together might have made a difference and the less charitable might see yesterday’s silver lining as the increased likelihood of Sherwood’s end of season demise. But if this isn’t consolation enough, at least City have knocked the Goons off top spot, hopefully permanently. That, at least, is something.