by : Sean OMeara
This well used footballing phrase always seems to paint a bleak picture, but one must always take stock of a team’s predicament, when considering it’s meaning.
In Spurs’ case, fourth in the table with seven Premiership games played and facing an away day at The Valley this weekend, which could take Martin Jol’s men second in the table, you might wonder how things could get a lot better.
Time for another well known soccer phrase then.
The table doesn’t lie.
While technically speaking this is of course the case, it has been known for the table to bend the truth a little.
In the same way fourth in the table at the end of last season flattered Everton; fourth, or indeed a potential second, presently flatters the North Londoners.
They have defended well and they battle and chase harder than any Spurs side this writer has ever seen, but there is something distinctly lacking in the current set up.
Wins at Fratton Park on the opening day and at home to Middlesbrough may have set the Spurs well on their way, but both were unconvincing performances and games they could easily have lost.
Jol rested key players for a visit to Ewood Park and got the point he looked like he wanted and at best deserved.
Entertaining the Champions, his men looked on the verge of an upset until Mido got himself sent off, extinguishing all hopes of overcoming their rivals.
A nil-nil at home to Liverpool and a one all draw with Villa, courtesy of a Robbie Keane late equaliser, after immense Villa pressure; and Spurs went into a home game against Fulham feeling lucky to still have only one defeat to their name.
The same old ‘lacking creativity and attacking ideas’ story against Grimsby saw the Lily Whites crash out of the Carling Cup.
Jermain Defoe stole in for the early winner, but again Spurs failed to build on the lead, creating next to nothing in front of goal and were eventually glad to hear the final whistle against Fulham.
The problem Spurs have just isn’t going away. Last season saw the same problem on the road. The inability to score goals somewhat put to waste the ability to keep clean sheets on the road.
Spurs may have added to their young, quality midfield stock and have added Edgar Davids, but still they create little in the final third and contribute absolutely no goals whatsoever.
If the big jolly Dutchman can find the key to this puzzle and get Spurs scoring goals, particularly on the road, then they really will be a force to be reckoned with – and starting this weekend would be as good a time as any. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Aaron Lennon.
With one of the largest squads in the Premiership, no European distraction and only one domestic Cup left to go for, fixture congestion will not be a problem.
Expect to see Spurs pushing all the way, when others such as Charlton, Bolton and Man City start to fall away.
If Spurs can unconvincingly reach second, imagine how hard they’ll be to catch when they get going.
Someone once said the sign of a good side is to play badly and win and Spurs haven’t played anywhere near their best yet this season.
Someone is due a battering.
This Spurs side is a bubble crying out for inflation, and a Charlton side sitting second with only one goal at home this season is a bubble ready to burst.
29 September 2005