P W D L F-A GD Pts
38 16 14 8 55-46 9 62
+ 15 Cup Matches
· May 2011 figures
· Last Season's figures
· August - 58.76%
· Players of the Month - Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart
· Game of the Month - Spurs 4 Young Boys 0
Certain trends were established by Spurs in the first five games of the season, played way back in August 2010. We dominated, but failed to put away Manchester City, who were demonstrating their cautious style in the first game of the season, despite the presence of so much flair. Then, we defended atrociously on the artificial surface in Bern, in the first leg of our Champions League qualifier against Young Boys, who took a 3-0 lead in the first half hour. Bassong gave us hope before the break, and Roman Pavlyuchenko's goal in the 83rd minute gave us some confidence that we would make the away goals count at White Hart Lane.
Before that second leg though, we would see one of the goals of the season by Gareth Bale at the Britannia Stadium, where we beat Stoke 2-1. Bale scored both goals, and his second was a spectacular volley from a Lennon pass. The shot rocketed across the keeper and smashed the net!
One of the surprises that Harry Redknapp had sprung was that summer signing Sandro had not even been registered to play Champions League football in the first half of the season. Indeed, we would have to wait till the last three months of the season to see this diamond emerge. Peter Crouch was the star of the second leg against Young Boys with a hat-trick that led to a 4-0 win, with Defoe scoring the other goal. It was a great atmosphere at The Lane and a pre-cursor to some sensational Champions League nights at home and away. Crouch scored over one quarter of his season's tally in that one match. Seven of Crouchie's goals came in Champions League football.
We contrived to lose our last game of the month at home to Wigan, who we had beaten 9-1 in the preceding season. It would prove to be our only home league defeat of the season.
· September - 56.33%
· Player of the Month - Gareth Bale
· Game of the Month - Spurs 4 FC Twente 1
Due to the first International break of the season, in which Jermain Defoe scored an England hat-trick, we had to wait till 11th September for the debut of Rafael van der Vaart, signed in late August for the "bargain bucket" price of £8 million from Real Madrid, and William Gallas, who had opted out of the terms offered by Arsenal in the summer. It took a while for Gallas to win over the Spurs fans, but before long he did that in style, whereas Rafa became a favourite from Day One in Spurs colours. The 1-1 at The Hawthorns was a disappointment though, and one of those results we would rue by the end of the season.
One of our problems throughout the season was being unable to cope fully with the onset of a Champions League fixture at the same time as a need to maintain league results and position. The West Brom game was an example of this. It preceded our first game in the Champions League proper, and we gave a good account of ourselves in Bremen, where a two goal lead was surrendered, and we had to be happy with a draw. We managed to beat Wolves 3-1, where we had lost in the previous season, but then Harry mis-judged the Arsenal league cup game by fielding a weak side against one of Arsene Wenger's strongest League Cup sides. We held them till extra time, but then succumbed, and badly. Following that with defeat at Upton Park was a low point in the season.
The September game of the month came at the very end, when we beat Dutch champions FC Twente 4-1 in an open and entertaining game in which Van der Vaart stupidly got sent off for a second yellow, after he had sent us on the way with a 47th minute goal. Twente were upset at the award of three penalties to Spurs. Van der Vaart had missed the first one, but Pavlyuchenko scored twice from the spot, with Gareth Bale adding a fourth goal. We were behind Inter only on goal difference, and had even better things to come in our games against the Italian Champions.
· October - 60.96%
· Player of the Month - Rafael van der Vaart
· Game of the Month - Spurs 2 Aston Villa 1
It would be sorely tempting to choose the 4-3 defeat to Inter in the San Siro as the game of the month, but we were losing 4-0 at half-time. I've opted for the first game of the month, in which Van der Vaart starred and won the headline of "Work of Vaart" for his two goals and a great performance. Rafa was on the path to a record of scoring in his first 6 home games for Spurs, and his second goal in this game featured a deft touch to leave Richard Dunne floundering, before firing home.
We went to Craven Cottage and won our first league game there for 8 and a half years, before the trip to one of our dream venues - The San Siro. It looks a magnificent stadium on TV, but those who have been there (twice this season) will vouch for the pathetic facilities offered within the upper tiers to away supporters. It was a nightmare start to the game as Zanetti put the home side ahead in the second minute, and became the oldest player to score in the Champions League. Five minutes later, Gomes got sent off; Eto'o scored the penalty and before you knew it we were 4-0 down at half-time. To describe us as crest-fallen would be a great understatement. A photograph exists of me with my son and friend captioned "The Glum Brothers". It was not a pretty sight, I can tell you!
Then came the unforgettable Gareth Bale hat-trick of the second half. The last of his goals came in added time, and with just one more minute, Gareth might have levelled the scores. With this performance against the Brazilian right-back, Maicon, Bale won Europe-wide headlines, and world-wide attention.
Back to the bread and butter of Premier League action and Everton held us to 1-1 at The Lane, before Gomes was again the headline-maker for the wrong reasons at Old Trafford. He thought that referee Mark Clattenburg had given Spurs a free kick and rolled the ball ahead, only to see Nani run round him from behind to steal the ball, put it in the net and have the goal allowed by the referee, who was allowing play-on after a failed penalty appeal by Nani. At this time, Spurs still sought their first away win at a "top four" ground in 17 years.
It is interesting to note that at this stage of the season, Rafa van der Vaart was leading the way in the cumulative Spurs Odyssey Player of the Season vote, with Gareth Bale just behind. The eventual winner, Luka Modric had been hampered a little by an early season injury, but from November onwards would haul in those ahead of him to win the award at the end the season.
· November - 65.37%
· Player of the Month - Gareth Bale
· Game of the Month - Spurs 3 Inter 1
Well, there really is no question about November's game of the month! It came at the very start with a sensational win over Inter, who at the time were the Champions of Italy, Europe and indeed, The World! We chanted "Taxi for Maicon!", as Gareth Bale consistently left him in his wake. The goals came from Van der Vaart, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko, as Spurs completed an aggregate victory, and took the lead in Group A after 4 games.
We were brought down to earth with a bump by Bolton, who in beating us 4-2 were one of 5 teams to score 4 against us over the course of the season. (The others were Arsenal, Inter, Fulham and Real Madrid.) An under-whelming 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland followed, before we scored 4 goals for the third and last time of the season in a 4-2 home win against Blackburn. Crouch scored one of our goals against Blackburn, and wouldn't score a league goal until we beat the same team again in February.
In any ordinary month, or season, the mighty 3-2 win at The Emirates would be hailed as game of the month or even perhaps the season. We were 2-0 down at half-time but came back magnificently with goals from Bale, Van der Vaart (a cool penalty), and Kaboul's 85th minute winner to end that 17 year old "away win at top four club" hoodoo. Not for the last time in the season did Mr. Wenger throw his bottle of water to the ground! We finished the month in style, with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen, and a 2-1 over Roy Hodgson's Liverpool, thanks to an added time winner by Aaron Lennon.
· December - 67.96%
· Player of the Month - Luka Modric
· Game of the Month - FC Twente 3 Spurs 3
Spurs entered November on the back of an unbeaten run of five games, and that form would continue until the New Year. Michael Dawson returned after injury in the Chelsea game this month.
Spurs Odyssey voters described this month as the best of the season, in terms of overall grades, lack of unforced errors and score ratio. The marks in that latter category would fizzle out despairingly for the rest of the season. By the end of the month, we had worked our way to fourth place, which we had surrendered in September. I've chosen the the Twente away game as the pick of the five played in this snow-affected month. We scored three away goals, and with Inter losing to Bremen we secured top place in our group to be seeded in the draw for the last 16. Jermain Defoe scored two goals. We had exceeded expectations in our maiden season in the Champions League.
We drew at Birmingham and at home to Chelsea either side of the Twente game. The Chelsea game meant more headlines for Gomes, as he let slip a Drogba shot for the Chelsea equaliser, then conceded a late penalty. Gomes saved Drogba's kick to win back some favour, but it would not be the last time he made the headlines.
On Boxing Day, Villa Park survived the snow, and Spurs served up a Christmas treat with another fine away victory. Van der Vaart scored both goals again. The second of these was a fine effort which the Dutchman had started himself in his own half. Bale raced forward with the ball; crossed to Lennon who gave the final pass to Van der Vaart, placing his shot superbly. It was another Spurs goal of the month entry, and along with Bale's Stoke volley, featured in the list of candidates for goal of the season.
Newcastle were our last victims of 2010, and Luka Modric was man of the match, and had emerged in December with true consistency at the very highest level in central midfield. We'd seen glimpses only of Sandro, who would not play 90 minutes in a league game before February. We went into 2011 with hopes not only of top four, but even of a tilt at the title. I kid you not!
· January - 56.43%
· Player of the Month - Luka Modric
· Game of the Month - Spurs 0 Manchester United 0
If December had seen some of our best form, then we saw almost the worst in January. It's difficult to pick out a highlight in truth, but I've gone for the creditable draw at home to the ultimate Champions. We beat Charlton 3-0 in the FA Cup, and Andros Townsend made a fine (scoring) debut, before leaving the club on another loan spell. The only league win came in the first game at home to Fulham, against whom in the last game of the month we succumbed rather disgracefully 4-0, conceding two early penalties, and having skipper Michael Dawson sent off for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. There was no coming back from that early deficit. Alan Hutton had been at fault for the first goal, and played in only two more Spurs games in the remainder of the season. Luka Modric called the shots in almost every game, and by now had overhauled Gareth Bale in the race to be player of the season. Luka gave a master-class in that United game. Everton had brought our unbeaten run to an end earlier in the month, and Aaron Lennon saved our bacon in added time at Newcastle to secure a point.
· February - 64.84%
· Player of the Month - Aaron Lennon
· Game of the Month - A.C. Milan 0 Spurs 1
The February highlight was an iconic moment in the club's history. We had been given arguably the most difficult draw of any Group leader in the second round against A.C. Milan, who had finished second in Real Madrid's group. We had no Bale, who had been out injured after the Newcastle game. Modric was on the bench, as it was only two weeks after an appendix operation. Our central midfield was a quite rare coupling of Wilson Palacios and Sandro, who had only played his first 90 minutes in the Premier League at The Stadium of Light on the preceding Saturday. They played supremely.
Sandro had shown his colours at Sunderland, where Spurs won 2-1, and here in the San Siro, he was second only to Gomes in the "Spursometer" individual grades. It was truly a great team effort, including Steven Pienaar, who had arrived in January from Everton. The memorable coup de grace of course was delivered with five minutes to go, after Luka had come off the bench. Little Luka sent Lennon away in his own half with a great little pass out of defence. Lennon ran, and ran, and Crouchie kept up with him, to thankfully put Lennon's pass into the net. If that wasn't enough to remember, we had the famous Gattuso head-butt on Joe Jordan to discuss on the journey home. Milan were the Italian league leaders, and indeed won their league title.
We'd won three successive league games before that Milan trip (Blackburn (A), Bolton (H) and Sunderland (A), but something happened after Milan to bring our league form down to earth. Blackpool beat us 3-1, and we would only manage three more wins in our last 14 games of the season. The simple answer is probably down to chances not being converted, and our strike force has to carry the can for this collective failure. Gomes was picked out by many for repeated errors, but the strikers lost us more points in my opinion.
· March - 63.93%
· Player of the Month - Sandro
· Game of the Month - Spurs 0 A.C. Milan 0
March consisted of just three games and these were all draws. The first was at Molineux, where we remembered Dean Richards who died so young, and was of course associated with both clubs. The game was one to remember too, not necessarily for the right reasons for Spurs fans. Defoe scored his first two Premier League goals of the season, but Kevin Doyle had given the home side the lead. It was 2-2 at half-time as Doyle slotted home a penalty. Roman Pavlyuchenko had scored in the home game against Wolves, and did it again after half-time, giving us a 3-2 lead. It was Pav's seventh league goal of the season, and he would go on to be the best of the strikers with 10 league goals (14 in all competitions), although Van der Vaart was our clear top scorer with 13 league goals (15 in all competitions). Pav's effort was not enough though, as Wolves scrambled a late equaliser for a point that you could say kept them up at the end of the season. We would find it difficult to beat other struggling teams before the season closed. That was another of our failures.
I've chosen the home stalemate against A.C. Milan as the game of the month, because it was a great defensive performance. Modric was back in the fold partnering Sandro, who along with Gallas was magnificent. Gallas had made a fantastic cool goal-line clearance from Robinho, after Gomes had been tempted too far away from his goal in a Milan build-up. It was historic too for Spurs to reach the quarter-finals, and just to be one of the eight teams featured in that draw was prestigious, with the UEFA draw programme focussing upon each of the 8 clubs. Unfortunately, we knew we faced the toughest task of all with a quarter-final against Real Madrid, and then a potential semi-final against Barcelona.
In the third and final game of March, we were held by West Ham, to whom we would again say farewell at the end of the season, but the relegated side had taken 4 points off us.
· April - 57.42%
· Player of the Month - Sandro
· Game of the Month - Spurs 3 Arsenal 3
We lost fourth place in March, and never regained it on the crucial run-in. The away win at Arsenal might have been topped by that home win against Inter, but this month our Champions League exploits were over by the time we hosted the gooners. After another unimpresssive home draw against Wigan, we not only failed to score for the fourth successive game in The Bernabeu, but we were soundly beaten after Peter Crouch got sent off for two yellow cards within the first 15 minutes. Aaron Lennon had mysteriously pulled out minutes before kick-off. Jenas was a late replacement, and the Spurs game plan had been blown to pieces by the time Adebayor had scored in the fourth minute.
Spurs were somehow holding on at half-time, but conceded three second half goals (including another rickett by Gomes against a Ronaldo shot) to make the second leg academic. Gomes repeated his trick against Ronaldo in this game, but it wasn't the keeper that lost us the tie.
Crouch redeemed himself with two first half goals against Stoke, who we beat 3-2, with Modric weighing in with an all too rare goal, but Stoke made us sweat.
The 3-3 draw against Arsenal provided all the excitement and thrills and spills that you would expect, but the result did neither side any favours. We were still chasing a top four slot, and Arsenal had not given up hope of the title. Spurs fans were of course gloating after our away win, and Arsenal's defeats against Barcelona in the Champions League, and against Birmingham in the Carling Cup that Wenger had his eyes upon. Sandro had been left on the bench for this one. Things started badly when Walcott scored in the fifth minute, but Van der Vaart responded almost immediately, latching onto Corluka's pass to fire home with his right foot. Nasri and Van Persie put the visitors 3-1 up though, but Tom Huddlestone kept us in touch before the break with a sweet shot that Van der Vaart leap-frogged. With 20 minutes to go, goalkeeper Szczesny tapped Lennon's ankle and Van der Vaart fired home from the spot. If anyone was going to win this game it was Spurs, who finished the stronger of the two sides.
We let ourselves down yet again with a home draw against West Brom, in whicch Jermain Defoe scored his 100th club goal, and the following week, we were cheated out of the game when Frank Lampard's shot at the end of the first half was adjudged to have crossed the line, when it hadn't. Gomes had made another classic error though, in letting the ball slip through his hands before retrieving it off the line. Sandro had given Spurs a spectacular lead, before being urged to concentrate on defending by manager Harry Redknapp. Chelsea got a late winner, which might have been ruled out for an offside by another official.
· May - 63.35%
· Player of the Month - Sandro
· Game of the Month - Liverpool 0 Spurs 2
Everton beat Man City, but we couldn't beat Blackpool, and in fact relied upon Defoe's 89th minute equaliser for a little respect.We had been hoping that the trip to Eastlands would be a repeat of the Champions League show down last year, but it was not to be. We did still have hopes that if we could beat City, and they stumbled, we might still have pipped them, but the ultimate irony led to Peter Crouch scoring an own goal to give City the victory (and top four) from almost the same spot where he had scored that dramatic winner last year. City didn't slip up anway, and went on to beat Arsenal to third place, and will bore Europe to death in the group stages next year!
The lows of the season have been well documented, and all the highs are to be found within this item. The last of them was a quite historic 2-0 victory at Anfield, which gave us a second away win at one of the old "top four" grounds. Liverpool are no longer part of the "Sky Four" of course. Our win, courtesy of a superb Van der Vaart opener, and a confident Luka Modric penalty meant that we were in pole position for the Europa League fifth place going into the last game.
Once again, we made heavy weather of beating a relegation candidate (and Birmingham were indeed relegated). Roman Pavlyuchenko took maximum advantage of replacing Crouch in the first half with two good goals. The winner came with almost the last kick of the game, by which time Birmingham's relagation had been confirmed, and as Liverpool lost at Villa, Spurs were confirmed as the fifth placed side.
Sandro was declared your player of the month for the third month running, but little Luka was hot on his heels and with consistently high standard performances secured the player of the season vote. Special mention must be made of Danny Rose, who played all four games in May at left back, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto suffering a hamstring injury. Danny proved a more than competent replacement, and will surely feature more next season. At the time of writing, he has already scored a great goal for the England Under-21s as they warm up for their summer tournament.
Ekotto too deserves special mention. He started more games (45) than any other squad member all season, and played some great football at the back; down the line, and up front. The Arsenal home game was a particular highlight.
Obviously we all wanted more Champions League football, but personally, in its absence, I am happy to have European football to look forward to in the Europa League, where some good teams will lie in wait for us, provided we can get to the latter stages. Those starting at the same stage as us include Sevilla, Roma, Sporting Lisbon, Braga, and Heurelho Gomes' old team PSV! Taking part will also be good for our UEFA Quotient, which affects potential seeding in future tournaments.
Don't forget to check out the cumulative appearances and grades for the players below. The grades are based upon a mark out of ten.
...if you want to read reports of the matches played during this season, then links are on the Spurs Odyssey Fixtures/Reports page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over more than 10 years!