Tottenham Hotspur fans are probably glad for the season to end after constant embarrassment both on and off the field. It started so well, having the best defensive record in Europe during the opening five league games.
However, it all soon turned with heavy defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea. The two former defeats led to Daniel Levy wielding the axe on Andre Villas-Boas and replacing him with Tim Sherwood. His gaffes in press conferences and brutal honesty to the press did not endear him to the Spurs supporters, especially when a video clip emerged on the internet of him stating how he supports Arsenal.
After all of the money spent last summer, the loss of Gareth Bale was too much for the north London club. They finished an average sixth, with Sherwood getting the sack from Spurs soon after.
Best Moment – Victory at Old Trafford
Beating Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford just a handful of games into Tim Sherwood’s tenure must surely be their defining moment this season. For Spurs, there were not many standout moments from the season but this win has to be the best.
Winning at Old Trafford is a lot easier nowadays with the likes of West Brom, Newcastle and Sunderland leaving victorious. However, one thing Spurs fans can hold over Arsenal is that not only did they score against Man Utd, but they won at Old Trafford.
Two headed goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen gave the north Londoners all three points on a brilliant night in Manchester.
Worst Moment – Liverpool’s White Hart Lane demolition
This one has to be between losing 5-0 at home to Liverpool or losing 6-0 to Manchester City in November which spelt the beginning of the end for Villas-Boas. A goal inside 15 seconds from Jesus Navas set the tone for the rest of the day as Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo ran riot.
Spurs could do nothing to stop the constant flow of attacking pressure on the home side and they buckled unbelievably.
Villas-Boas lasted just four more games, being sacked the day after losing 5-0 to Liverpool, who they were competing for fourth place with at the time.
Best Player – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen has been Tottenham’s best player this season. He showed the odd flash of brilliance in the early stages of the season but it was in 2014 that he really came alive. Sherwood gave the Dane a free role and a new lease of life on the pitch.
He was the creative fulcrum of an attacking Spurs side, scoring seven goals and creating 68 chances. The majority of his assists came in 2014 as he adapted to the Premier League and started to drive Spurs on. His goal in the final minutes of the crazy 3-3 draw at the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion summed him up. He was calm enough to take a touch to set himself, despite the amount of bodies around him, and slotted the ball past Ben Foster to secure a vital point.
Everything good went through him this season and he’s sure to be a key player again next season.
Best Signing – Christian Eriksen
It has to be Eriksen, again With all of the money Spurs spent last summer, Eriksen at £12 million has proved to be a bargain. He took a little while to get used to the Premier League and nail a starting spot in the side down, but since the turn of the year he’s been magnificent.
If Spurs had been as shrewd on all of their signings as they were on Eriksen, last summer, they may have done much better this season.
Flop of the Season – Roberto Soldado
Roberto Soldado has to be their biggest flop although there are many contenders. The likes of Erik Lamela, Michael Dawson and Kyle Naughton are up there but the Spanish striker, who was signed for £26 million and scored just two goals from open play in the league, pips them all.
Soldado came to England as a proven goal-scorer in Spain but after a couple of penalties every now and then, he was struggling with a severe lack of confidence in front of goal. It soon became even worse – week upon week – as he looked void of all confidence and seemed lost as a footballer. The lethal, reactionary scorer we’d all seen at Valencia disappeared.
In Sherwood’s first league game against Southampton, Spurs won 3-2, but Soldado missed three clear-cut chances in a matter of minutes. It summed up his entire season. He will probably stay at the club this season as it is unlikely anyone would want to sign him now, but Roberto Soldado was Spurs’ biggest flop – and by some distance.
Season Defining Stat
In the eight games they played against the top four sides, Spurs lost seven and drew one, scoring just two goals. Defeats of 5-0, 6-0, 5-1 and two 4-0s paint a sorry story for the north London club.
It has been a miserable season against the big sides for Spurs as those records show exactly why. On ‘aggregate’ against each side, they lost 9-0 to Liverpool, 11-1 to City, 5-1 to Chelsea and 2-0 to Arsenal. A truly awful record that must be improved upon next season or there’s absolutely no chance of the Lilywhites finishing inside the top four.
Target for next season
Defence needs a huge re-shape. So many times this season, terrible errors led to goals and in the 4-0 to at Stamford Bridge, all four goals came directly from terrible mistakes. Against Liverpool, at Anfield, Michael Dawson played a terrible pass back towards Younes Kaboul who couldn’t stop Luis Suarez pouncing and doubling their lead.
All too often, the defence has crumbled and it needs sorting out. It seems that Hugo Lloris has become accustomed to his awful defence and looks completely fed up, so a new goalkeeper could be on the cards. Dawson and Kaboul need to be sold with Vlad Chiriches and Jan Vertonghen given time to gel as a partnership. However, that could be hard as Vertonghen has made his feelings clear on his situation, stating that he wants to play in the Champions League.
The full-back areas are not good enough either with Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton as the first choice players.
Finally, whichever manager Daniel Levy employs over the summer, he needs to give him time and plenty of it. Spurs will struggle again next season if he acts too swiftly and sacks his new man.
Patience, concentration and a better team spirit is desperately needed at Tottenham next season.