(Continued from Part-1)
Spurs achieved great success with Redknapp’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, one which produced some mesmerizing attacking displays. They stuttered occasionally, but always returned to winning ways quickly.
Harry Redknapp was rewarded for taking Tottenham into the Champions League by being named “Manager of the Season“. Redknapp’s main strengths are his powers of persuasion and his ability to transform, to mould, to improve, to inspire and to motivate. He showed these during his days at Upton Park with the development of players like Lampard, Ferdinand, Carrick, J.Cole. He showed this again during his Pompey stint. Even now these qualities are evident in the way he’s transformed his players. Gareth Bale is currently one of the hottest names in Europe, but even he had a nightmarish start for Spurs. Tom Huddlestone – a player who was finding it very hard to break it into the first team is the one who dictates the play now. This is the same set of players who were looking clueless when he arrived, but two years on everyone fears them.
In 2010 Spurs were relatively silent during the transfer window. They added two players that shared their ambition for success – Rafael Van Dar Vart and William Young. Brazilian Midfielder Sandro and Croatian ‘keeper Pletikosa was also added. The arrival of VDV was a major boost for the Spurs ahead of their Champions League debut. Thanks to his versatility Spurs can play both 4-4-1-1 and 4-4-2 fluently He is usually deployed in the hole behind the striker and sometimes on the flanks or in the middle in a 4-4-2. His class and quality makes it easier for him to slot into any position.
Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson……..Harry Redknap ?
In their first match of 2010/11 season Spurs completely outplayed Manchester City. Joe Hart was in great form and denied them a well deserved victory. Spurs suffered some setbacks in the games against Wigan, West Ham and Bolton but proved their quality with wins over Arsenal and Liverpool. One of their biggest weaknesses however is their preference for attack can often leave them vulnerable at the back.
Their weakness in defence can be partially attributed to injuries. Spurs were forced to field 11 different centre-back combinations because of injury crises. Keeping clean sheets is not one of their biggest strengths.
In their first ever UCL match they endured a horrendous start in Bern. They were 3 goals down within 30 minutes, Redknapp made a tactical change by bringing in Huddlestone as Spurs fought back to make it 3-2. They swept aside their opponents by 4 goals at WHL to make it into the group stages. Spurs were grouped along with European champions Inter, Dutch champions FC Twente and German powerhouse Werder Bremen. None of that fazed them even the slightest.
A draw against Bremen was followed by a big win over Twente. A match against Inter at San Siro was next. At half time the score-line read – Inter 4 Spurs 0. Custodian Gomes had received marching orders. It looked as if ten men Spurs were poised to receive an even bigger hammering in the 2nd half. Gareth Bale had some other plans. He made a mockery of one of the world’s best defenses, scoring a remarkable Hat-trick to make it 4-3. In the return leg they outplayed Inter at WHL courtesy another wonderful performance from Bale. They defeated the champions 3-1 to go on top of the group.
A victory against Werder Bremen ensured they qualified for the knockout stages with a match to spare.
Incredibly, Spurs ended up topping their group. They qualified as group champions after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Dutch Champions FC Twente. They also became the first team in UCL history to score more than 2 goals in every group game.
Spurs under Redknapp have achieved 23 victories from losing positions at half time. They deserve their new status as comeback kings, having proven it time and again. They have done it to all kinds of oppositions – be it against free-flowing Arsenal or defensive Internazionale. This team has what it takes to match the determination and resolve that characterized Manchester United’s treble winning team.
Tottenham Hotspur is also caught in an off-field dilemma between staying in North London and Moving to East. The 111 year old White Hart Lane is considered as a historical symbol of the prestigious club in North London. Fans are urging the club authorities to stick with the redeveloped White Hart Lane model adjacent to their current stadium. At the same time a move to the Olympic stadium at Stratford is also an interesting option for the authorities but fans seem uninterested in moving across London.
Recent rumors suggest that Spurs might see a takeover by Qatari Royal Family. With their large fan-base & the entertaining team at their disposal, they are a wonderful prospect and a must-buy. These are exciting times for the Lilywhites’ fans indeed.
~ Joseph George