Caution is the byword for the new season. After getting carried away with last year’s pre-season media hype, one mustn’t get too carried away this year about Spurs' prospects fo rthe season. The predictions of breaking into the top four this time last year were well wide of the mark, and in reality, last season was saved by the six games that won the Carling Cup and particularly the matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
A new season, a new team – seven, probably eight, of the Carling Cup final winning squad have departed - nothing’s ever simple with Tottenham. Juande Ramos has confirmed that Jol’s cautious comments twelve months ago which led to him losing his post, were accurate – the squad wasn’t good enough to break into the top 4.
This season’s success or failure will depend on:
- how quickly the new players gel as a team and adjust to the pace, pressure and rigours of the Premier League.
- the fitness of Woodgate and King in central defence.
- the short-comings in defence over the past two seasons being resolved by the signing of a new goalkeeper.
- how successful Spurs are at compensating for the loss of the thirty league and sixteen cup goals scored by Berbatov, if he leaves, and Keane last season.
- Darren Bent carrying his pre-season goal scoring exploits into the new season.
The pre-season has seen exciting football and performances from Spurs but the last two pre-seasons have been as equally encouraging but then reality hit in the first games and Spurs were found wanting. A good positive start against Middlesbrough is essential to get the Spurs’ road-show on the way to a successful season.
What are Spurs’ prospects for the season? As one newspaper put it – ‘Hopefuls’. More Cup success at home or in Europe and a definite closing of the gap on those Champions League places may be this year’s goal with exciting, flowing football as an added bonus would be appreciated by all Tottenham fans.