Our season began way before the Premier League season officially got underway on the 18th of August 2012.
On March 22nd 2012, Tottenham announced that they will be spending the summer of 2012 in the USA for a pre-season tour under manager Harry Redknapp. Little did they know then that this tour would carry such different circumstances including new squad members and of course, a new manager. On the 13th of June 2012, Spurs fans awoke to the news that Harry Redknapp had been sacked after reportedly failing to agree terms to a new contract. I personally believe Redknapp was laundering money from Tottenham and was caught in the act after his previous history with taking large cuts from transfer fees. Daniel Levy spoke after the sacking claiming: “The club needs a new direction and we’re looking for that person as we speak.”
On July 3rd 2012, it was announced that Luis Andre de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas or as you may know him, Andre Villas-Boas had been named Tottenham Hotspur head-coach on Sky Sports News after successful talks with the club’s directors and chairman. As the news reached Tottenham fans they found themselves both supporting and questioning the club’s decision after Villas-Boas’ short stint at London Rivals Chelsea.
Andre was presented to the media at the Spurs lodge before being officially released to the Spurs fans at our new training facility. The 77 acre training ground was pre-maturely released as part of a grand unveiling of a ‘New Tottenham’ and showed off both our new manager and the magnificent facility.
Although a new manager and in a new environment, Andre enjoyed a very successful pre-season as well as Tottenham’s most successful transfer window for quite some time. On July 4th 2012 Tottenham confirmed the signing of Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson who became the first signing of the Villas-Boas reign. The signing looked to have made an instant impact on his debut when Gylfi scored in the first game of the AVB reign against Stevenage which finished 2-0.
On July 12th we confirmed the long awaited signing of Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen. Jan also enjoyed his debut in the 2-0 win over Stevenage keeping a clean sheet and providing a good watch for the Spurs fans at Stevenage Borough.
The Pre-season tour got under way in late July. With the news of a partnership with EA Sports announced, the Spurs players visited EA in New York for head scans to be portrayed on the bodies of themselves in the game FIFA 13. The schedule got underway against Liverpool in a 0-0 draw in Baltimore, Maryland. Liverpool ended their tour as this was to be their final game and returned to England without a win during pre-season. Harry Kane featured for Tottenham after Jermain Defoe had to return to England after a family death.
Tottenham then faced American side LA Galaxy in a pre-season fixture at the Home Depot Centre. The sides drew 1-1 after our Welsh wizard scored his first of the season from a header. I believe this was a great fixture in the developing partnership of Siggy and Bale. (Sig providing the ball for the goal.) The pair linked well throughout the summer and unfortunately didn’t lead to much as the season progressed.
The partnership continued in the final game of our American trip. The lads showcased the new navy away shirt against Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls – as you know a former enemy of Tottenham. Gareth Bale and Gylfi Sigurdsson both scored on the day to end a happy trip and extend Andre’s unbeaten run as Spurs manager. Tottenham returned to England with just a few fixtures remaining against Watford and a trip to Valencia. Tottenham extended the run even further when we took on Watford in a London derby at Vicarage road. Jermain Defoe secured the pre-season win and looked to the sky to celebrate his goal after we beat them 1-0 in Lloyd Doyley’s testimonial match. But the run soon came to an end when we visited Valencia for our final pre-season game. We lost 2-0 and showed we needed more stability up front in a game where Gallas, Livermore and Jenas featured. I remember this fixture well as ESPN covered the game. It began very bizarrely as Valencia put on a pre-game show for the crowd.
But the season began on August 18th 2012. The best league in the world returned to show us all what it’s made of as the stars returned to face each other. Our journey began in the City of Newcastle as we took on a Toon side that had enjoyed a magnificent previous season achieving Europa League football and challenged for the top four. ESPN covered one of our many TV fixtures throughout the year but sadly showed us losing 2-1 despite a Jermain Defoe fight back for Spurs. The game saw Rafael Van der Vaart play in one of his final games at Tottenham. The result left us 14th in the table after the first day.
BUT THEN. The best time of the year came to a close. The transfer window was soon to shut but Spurs had some of their best business still to complete. On the 21st of August 2012, Tottenham announced the permanent signing of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City after his successful loan spell the year before. Adebayor became the first striker signed for AVB and snuck back into the squad briefly despite a small injury. Days later, Spurs were back in action for the first home game of the season in front of an optimistic home crowd.
Spurs took on Steve Clarke’s West Bromwich Albion team and ended the game poorly when WBA equalised late on through James Morrison. Benoit Assou-Ekotto had given us the lead with 15 minutes to play with a traditional Benoit long range effort. Van der Vaart was withdrawn for Emmanuel Adebayor in this game with Ade making his first appearance as an official Tottenham player. Van der Vaart made his final appearance in the Lilywhite strip after two memorable seasons at White Hart Lane but with some relief to Spurs fans as he later endured an awful season on and off the pitch on his return to Hamburg. The game finished 1-1 and boo’s rang around White Hart Lane as some fans felt disappointed at Villas-Boas’ start to the campaign. We remained in 14th place.
But Daniel Levy still had a few tricks up his sleeve with a mere matter of days until Jim White of Sky Sports closed the transfer window in his Scottish dialect. On the 28th of August 2012, Tottenham signed the long awaited ‘replacement’ of Luka Modric whose final transfer fee had only been confirmed a day prior to the signing. Modric left for Real Madrid for £33million to the disappointment of many Tottenham fans after a memorable stint for us. Mousa Dembele signed for £15million from London rivals Fulham after catching the eye of Tottenham staff especially against Manchester United in the Fulham strip.
But that was not all from Daniel Levy as our biggest signing of the summer was still to be confirmed. Transfer Deadline day was upon Tottenham. We were still operating managerially from the Spurs Lodge and the antics of the Spurs fans still continued to please the viewers on Sky Sports News. Porto had confirmed they had accepted a £22million bid for midfielder Joao Moutinho from Tottenham early in the day. Sky continued to tease the Spurs fans watching until it was confirmed at 3:00pm that the deal had fallen through due to Moutinho’s third party ownership. This however was slightly comforted by the biggest deal of the window. Sky Sports began to tease further until pictures of French International goalkeeper Hugo Lloris poured through the media at the Spurs lodge. Lloris spoke little English and was confirmed to have signed for £12million plus £4million in variables from Lyon.
With just an hour until the window closed, there seemed to be just one more deal for the Tottenham fans to get excited over. USA International Captain, Clint Dempsey arrived at the Spurs lodge to quickly pen a deal together from Fulham. Dempsey was said to be joining Aston Villa and Liverpool earlier in the day but finally joined Spurs on August 31st for £6million. All of the excitement ended a very successful summer for Tottenham and the next day they were back in action against Norwich at White Hart Lane.
The Europa League draw took place during the month and saw us draw Italian side Lazio, the Greek team Panathanikos and Slovenian club Maribor for the group stage round.
The second home game of the season ended in more disappointment for 14th placed Spurs. We took on former player Chris Hughton as he managed Norwich and took on Sebastian Bassong whom we’d sold to the Canaries that summer. Mousa Dembele took to his debut very well just 4 days after signing for Tottenham. He scored with a sublime long range effort to put us ahead only for Norwich’s Snodgrass to equalise with 5 minutes remaining. Boo’s filled the Lane and a swift exit from the players capped off a mixed day for Mousa.
The remaining games in September however were very successful for Andre Villas-Boas and secured our most famous win for quite some time. We took 9 points from the remaining games in September and enjoyed our first win of the season against Brian McDermott’s Reading. Our trip to the Madjeski was a very successful one. We beat newly promoted Reading 3-1 and caught a glimpse of AVB and Steffen Freund’s mad celebrations much to the astonishment of the away support who have soon grown accustomed to the nutty celebratory ways. Jermain Defoe enjoyed a brace of two goals and Gareth Bale enjoyed a classy finish as Spurs showed off the black and grey third kit for the first time. AVB looked very relieved and I believe his celebrations showed the work he had put in to correct previous weeks’ mistakes. The long, three game week continued for Tottenham as we faced Lazio in our first game of the Europa League campaign. I remember AVB insisting we were going to attack the competition to win it and were unlucky not to score in a 0-0 draw with the Italian side that featured famous German forward Klose. The group stage looked difficult as we were drawn Greek side Panathanikos and Slovenian side Maribor also.
We again took to the field a week later in a home fixture against Mark Hughes’ Queens Park Rangers. Spurs enjoyed their first home win of the season, much to the delight of the crowd as Jermain Defoe scored his fourth of the campaign and Faurlin with an own goal to gift us a 2-1 win after a Zamora opener.
We played again just three days later in our third round Capital One Cup game away at Carlisle United. Goals from Jan Vertonghen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend was enough to secure our place in the fourth round where we were drawn against fellow Premier League side Norwich City.
But our biggest win for years was soon to great the Tottenham fans as we faced Sir Alex Ferguson in his last season at Manchester United. We travelled to Old Trafford in 8th place and the game was shown live on ESPN. The game started perfectly as Jan Vertonghen broke from his left back position to drive through the United defence, strike a ball and the deflection from Evans placing the ball into the far corner much to the delight of AVB. The game took another dramatic stance on the 32nd minute when Gareth Bale picked up the Dembele ball and roared past Rio Ferdinand to strike the ball towards the far inside net of De Gea’s goal and left Spurs 2-0 up at half time. Fergie obviously gave his lads a thrashing at half time as United entered the second half with much determination which was rewarded by a Nani goal. But, the moment that will live long in my memory, just a minute later, Gareth Bale’s saved effort was pushed to Clint Dempsey who firmly finished the ball to put us 3-1 up and his amazing celebration was right in front of our away support. Kagawa’s goal acted as a mere consolation goal and Spurs saw out the game to win 3-2 and climb to fifth in the league. The players, fans and staff celebrated on the pitch and ended a 23 year wait for victory at Old Trafford. This is our Game of the Season.
We then played our second game of the UEFA Europa League group stage away in Greece against Panathanikos. The Thursday night games returned and made the weeks very compact for Tottenham. Captain Michael Dawson scored to give us the lead after half an hour but Toche of Panathanikos earned the Greeks a draw.
The next week ended well for Tottenham again as we enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa thanks to goals from Caulker – his first for Tottenham and Aaron Lennon. Hugo Lloris made his first appearance for Tottenham enjoying a clean sheet but ended Brad Friedel’s 310 consecutive Premier League game run. I questioned the reasoning behind this as Brad played many games after this and seemed clueless as to why AVB chose the Villa game to introduce Hugo. The month of September had been kind to Tottenham as had the beginning of October but a dreary end to the month was followed by a similar November.
We took on Chelsea at White Hart Lane on October the 20th in our second London Derby of the season. Spurs were behind quickly after Spurs failed to clear a Chelsea corner only for Gary Cahill to thump it into the net. Spurs however were leading on the hour mark thanks to goals from Jermain Defoe and William Gallas against his old club. A Mata brace and Sturridge tap-in were later enough to win it 4-2 for Chelsea and AVB could not beat his old team on his first appearance against the West Londoners. Our third UEFA Europa League game of the group stage took place on Thursday 25th of October when we travelled to Slovenia to face Maribor. We still had not been beaten nor had we won in the competition and this run was to continue as we drew 1-1 on a miserable Slovenian night. Gylfi Sigurdsson was on the score sheet again for Tottenham.
The month of October ended in a win however as Gareth Bale took on his former club Southampton and scored in a 2-1 win against the Saints. Clint Dempsey was on target again for THFC. The win put us in the top four for the first time in the campaign having played 9 games of it. It was time for more Capital One Cup action as we took on Norwich in the fourth round but that was to be the end of our journey in the competition. Despite a good Bale goal, Norwich won after an own goal from Jan and Jackson scoring which won the Canaries the game. Clint missed a late penalty to draw us level and we came crashing out. I was thoroughly disappointed with the game as we needed a trophy this year.
We then endured our worst month of the season to date as we faced 5 Premier League teams in the month of November. We played Wigan Athletic, Manchester City, Arsenal, West Ham United and Liverpool with 3 Home fixtures. We began the month by losing to Wigan at White Hart Lane after a poor Tottenham side failed to score any goals. Ben Watson scored to win it for Wigan and we started the month badly. This game was followed up with back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal. The disappointing month began to turn however; we beat Maribor 3-1 at White Hart Lane thanks to a Jermain Defoe hatrick and it was our first win of the competition. We then played Lazio for the second time in the group stage on the 22nd and again drew 0-0 which kept us in the hunt to go through the group stages and looked to go through knowing we had to beat Panathanikos at home still with our unbeaten record intact. Our luck began to turn with four wins in a row.
We played three games in a week and secured 9 points from those games to give ourselves a real lift in the fight for Champions League glory. Our first of these three wins came against a London rival in the form of Big Sam’s West Ham. 2 magnificent goals from Jermain Defoe, including a special run and long range finish, was capped off nicely with a Gareth Bale goal to win 3-1 against West Ham. A late Andy Carroll goal proving to be insignificant in the end. This win was excellently followed up three nights later as we took on Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool at the Lane. I remember this game very well as it sparked debate on Twitter as Wigan vs. City was chosen over our game as the Live Sky Sports fixture. We began the game in sparkling form. Within 20 minutes, Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale had given us a 2-0 lead despite threat from Liverpool. Hugo Lloris had begun to nail down a permanent role in the side. With 20 minutes left, an Aaron Lennon clearance smashed into the face of Gareth Bale to gift Liverpool an own goal however it proved pointless as the game teetered out 2-1. Spurs claiming the 6th point that week and climbed us to fifth spot.
Our next and final game of that busy week ended in possibly the best win of the lot. Jermain Defoe scored his 3rd and 4th goal of the week with the help of a rare goal from Sandro to beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage in the 2nd London derby of the week. We faced old boss Martin Jol and former player Dimitar Berbatov in an enjoyable game for the Spurs fans whom were especially loud on the 1st of December. I loved this game because a very memorable Christmas themed chant filled the away stand. “Jingle Bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away, hey!” A rare poor game from Bale included another booking for simulation, a trait he had been carrying for some time this season.
Our final group game of the Europa League season was reliant on a win to send us through but was too much to ask of Maribor in hope of securing top spot. Emmanuel Adebayor scored his first goal of the season with the help of a Defoe goal and an own goal from Karnezis to gift us a much needed 3-1 win over Panathanikos and send us through to the knockout stage of the UEFA contest.
Our next game was our final defeat of 2012 and was our last for a considerable amount of games. We faced Everton at Goodison Park in what turned out to be David Moyes’ last season at the club before he takes over at United. We were unfortunate late on as we conceded 2 late goals to prevent Clint Dempsey’s deflected effort from being the winner as we lost 2-1.
We then went on to have an eight game unbeaten run in the league and in the FA Cup. Our much needed spell without losing included some memorable performances for Andre’s boys, the first was a win on the 16th of December at home to Swansea City. Jan Vertonghen pulled out his trademark ‘super Jan’ celebration after scoring the only goal in our 1-0 win over the Welsh side. The game was marred by Hugo Lloris accidentally punching Michu but it went un-punished and we held on to win the game. This however was followed up by a particularly disappointing 0-0 draw with Stoke the following week which was our final game before Christmas.
Boxing day turned out to be a cracker – sorry, had to. We went to Aston Villa needing a win to move fourth in the table. We took very well to the cold Christmas weather to beat Villa 4-0 in AVB’s biggest scoring win as Spurs manager. Gareth Bale scored an emphatic hat-trick to earn Spurs the points as well as a contribution from JD. The game was live on Sky Sports and included another memorable Steffen Freund celebration. The game was supported by a top win away at Sunderland just 3 days later during the busy festive spell in which we came from behind to beat Martin O’Neill’s Black Cats 2-1, thanks to an own goal from Cuellar and a special effort from Aaron Lennon.
The New Year got off to a flyer when Talking THFC officially opened its doors for business on Twitter. We faced Reading for the first return fixture of the campaign and watched the boys thrash them 3-1 for the second time this season. Goals from Captain Dawson, Adebayor’s first Premier League goal of the year and a Dempsey deflected effort won us the points and move to 3rd in the league for the first time this season. And gave us a great start to 2013. Just four days later we played our first FA Cup game of the year and stuffed Coventry 3-0 with 2 goals from Dempsey and a Bale goal to move us through to the fourth round draw in which we drew Leeds.
A rough month followed after the two wins despite another successful mission against Fergie’s boys. Our next fixture made the media water at the mouth as we faced former manager Harry Redknapp and his new side in the form of Queens Park Rangers. A team obviously scraping for their lives held us to a 0-0 draw and watched Sandro claim a bad injury which forced him out for the remainder of the season. The next game of the season however proved to be a very important one indeed as we faced Manchester United at White Hart Lane in very snowy conditions. The game was close to being called off but the superb Tottenham ground staff kept the pitch clear. Van Persie gifted United an early lead but in the 93rd minute of time, a.k.a Fergie time, Clint Dempsey smashed the ball into the net to earn Spurs a deserved draw in a hard fought game. This led us to be the only team United didn’t beat in their 20th title winning season taking 4 points of the Mancs.
Our next game of the season turned out to be a crushing blow in any hopes we had of heading to Wembley. After a good FA Cup campaign last year ending awfully against Chelsea at Wembley, players and staff were eager to win the competition however a strong Leeds side proved enough to knock us out in a 2-1 defeat. Dempsey looked to have put us back in it on the hour mark but it proved useless towards the end. AVB later apologised to the fans for a truly disappointing display after comfortably beating Coventry in the previous round.
The closing stages of the transfer window in January came to a close and saw us sign only two players. On the 3rd of January we announced the signing of Standard Leige and former Manchester United player Zeki Fryers. The young man walked straight into our Under-21 team however controversy surrounded the sign after Spurs craftily drew him from Belgium after tapping him up at United. Sir Alex Ferguson almost reported Tottenham over the incident. But our biggest signing of the window proved to be the signing of Schalke’s Lewis Holtby on the 28th of January. After agreeing a deal for him in the summer, AVB proved too excited to wait and announced we had secured him in January for £1.5million.
Our frustration mounted just three days later as we faced Norwich and former player and coach Chris Hughton at Carrow Road. After drawing already in the league and losing in the cup we’d had a pretty poor season against a team that had already defeated United and Arsenal this season. I feel this is the moment that Gareth Bale’s season truly began as he entered his streak of scoring 6 times in 4 games for Tottenham. The game ended 1-1 but the highlight of the game happened to be a Bale goal that saw him beat a poor challenge to remain on his feet and strike a top ball into the corner. This game also saw the introduction of the eagerly anticipated Lewis Holtby who proved quick and effective in his passing on his debut. The draw allowed us to keep fourth place for the third week running.
On Sunday 3rd of February, we faced a West Brom side that had already taken a point from us at White Hart Lane. But the Welsh wizard proved too much for Steve Clarke’s men as on the 67th minute he struck a superb edge of the area shot into the net and celebrated tremendously. Spurs fans had already grown to Holtby as after replacing an injured Defoe, he had a good game and celebrated mentally also. But the Bale run didn’t end there. Just 6 days later we faced Newcastle United at the Lane for Holtby’s home debut. Bale scored a stunning freekick to put us ahead after 5 minutes and sealed the points with ten minutes to go with a superb individual effort, finishing the game 2-1. This miraculous run of form for Bale continued just days later. We drew Lyon in the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League and faced them at home in the first leg. An irritating first half was finished superbly as Bale stepped up from 40 yards to score his second freekick in a week to lead 1-0 at the interval. Umititi however scored the UEFA goal of the season to draw level and get an invaluable away goal. His volley was hit spot on and blazed into the furthest corner of the net in which even Spurs fans applauded the goal and a very eager ITV commentator in the form of Andy Townsend couldn’t contain his excitement. The game was decided in the 93rd minute of time when Bale scored his third freekick of the week to send a Lane crowd into hysteria. The 2-1 win allowed us to go into the second leg with a lead but gave Lyon that priceless away goal.
An excellent spell followed the Lyon home win. We faced the French outfit just a week later and the mood was lessened by thugs brutally attacking a selection of Spurs fans in a British pub. UEFA condemned the attacks claiming they were: “Violent and disturbing attacks which we hope will never occur again.” The stage was set as a place in the next round awaited one of the clubs. Lyon lead after just 17 minutes through Gonalons, but with just seconds remaining, our midfield powerhouse Mousa Dembele side-tracked a Lyon defender and fired an effort from long range into the far corner as much to the delight of Spurs fans home and abroad. The moment was one of our top five of the season and filled every yid with delight as we went through 3-2 on aggregate and maintained our unbeaten Europa League run into the next round knowing our opponents were Inter Milan.
Our goal of the season took place in another remarkable game of the season the next week. We faced Sam Allardyce’s West Ham at Upton Park in another London derby. The fans were loud and yids at work and school were hopeful of claiming bragging rights over the London neighbours. After 13 minutes Gareth Bale scored with a good effort to celebrate in front of the West Ham crowd. Spurs dominated throughout despite finding themselves behind on the hour mark thanks to an Andy Carroll penalty and Joe Cole goal. But the Icelandic superstar Sigurdsson equalised on the 76th minute with a nice near post tap-in to spark a fight back and on the 90th minute Gareth Bale stepped up to score our goal of the season and send the Spurs fans into a wild state. The celebrations were magical as Gareth ran to AVB to a mad hug. The win put us up to third for the second time this season.
But. The biggest game of the season was still around the corner. On the 3rd of March 2013, the second North London derby took its place in the Premier League calendar. The first half began very well and Spurs fans backed the boys for long periods. On the 37th minute, the man of the hour found himself on the end of a Gylfi Sigurdsson ball to side foot the ball past Szczesny to give Spurs the lead. White Hart Lane erupted and the Sky Sports cameras caught Bale screaming to the nation in delight and the joy wasn’t to stop there. Just two minutes later, Aaron Lennon latched onto a great but rare Scott Parker ball to slip past the keeper and put us 2-0 up. White Hart Lane was in hysteria as was I. A few close shaves with fights between Mighty Michael shouting off Vermaelen. Per Mertesacker got one back for Woolwich but the game ended 2-1 to Spurs to keep us in third place. Spurs fans took great pride the next day at work I am sure.
That week saw us face Inter Milan in the Europa League. We entered the game at home and were reminded of the last encounters between the sides in the UEFA Champions League years before. The game got off to a perfect start. After just 6 minutes we found ourselves leading the former European champions after yet another Gareth Bale goal. The lead doubled just 12 minutes later through Gylfi Sigurdsson and was capped off nicely by Jan Vertonghen heading the ball past the Inter keeper. The 3-0 victory put us in a good position heading into the second leg. The next Spurs fixture was a crushing one at that. We travelled to Anfield still in third and suffered our first Premier League defeat for 12 games. We started poorly and found ourselves 1-0 down through Luis Suarez scoring after 20 minutes. Jan Vertonghen scored his second and third of the week in a good fight back from Tottenham however a stupid ball back by Walker left Lloris stranded and Jan defending one-on-one and losing out to Downing. Gerrard sealed the points for the Reds to finish the game 3-2. The defeat was filled with mistakes that although kept us in third, made the run-in harder.
The second leg of our UEFA Europa League Last 16 was just around the corner and our mood was only worsened on a miserable Milan night. Entering the game 3-0 up on aggregate made it easier but of course, we went through the Tottenham way. After 75 minutes we were 3-0 down with goals from Cassano, Palacio and a William Gallas own goal and the game went to extra time. But, a ray of light in the form of Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the 96th minute of time to gift us a valuable away goal and put us 4-3 up on aggregate. An Alvarez goal in the 110th minute proved to be just a consolation goal as we ended the game to go through to the Quarter Finals, 4-4 on aggregate with an away goal. This game was a huge relief for myself and I slept proud of the boys as we battled on. The loss on the day was our first of the competition ending our run of draws and wins.
Our next game only added to the humiliation we were currently receiving in the league. Former manager Martin Jol brought his Fulham side to the Lane on his return to Tottenham with former striker Dimitar Berbatov at the helm of our crushing 1-0 defeat. We dropped to fourth after a three week stint in third place but thankfully our next game put us back on track for a Champions League placement. We faced Capital One Cup champions Swansea in our second trip to Wales since their promotion. We comfortably beat Laudrup’s side with two moments of sheer class from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale with a spectacular half volley into the top corner leaving Michel Vorm laughing in amazement. The win put us back up to third in the league but it was to be our final time in the top four for the season as we endured 7 more weeks in fifth place.
Our Quarter Final draw was decided and we had drawn Swiss side FC Basel in the next round of the UEFA Europa League. For the third time after the group we were drawn at home first in a knockout round which was to be our last round of the contest. Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed the goals in a 2-2 draw against the Swiss with Stocker and Frei collecting the goals for them. This put us into the next round needing a 1-0 win to go through and saw Adebayor and Siggy enjoying more goals in the competition. Our next fixture was a Barclays Premier League game and saw us endure another 2-2 draw in the same week. Adebayor scored after just 34 seconds to give us the lead after latching on to a Jan ball. Jagielka got Everton back into it after 15 minutes and Mirallas recorded a good goal to gift the Toffees a lead, however Gylfi Sigurdsson scored his second of the week to tie us level and see David Moyes’ side draw in his last trip to Spurs with Everton before leaving for United. This draw saw us drop to fifth after Arsenal and Chelsea both won their respective games.
The next fixture on the calendar proved to be heart-breaking for my beloved Spurs. Our last game in the UEFA Europa League was a demoralizing defeat on penalties in the second leg of our Quarter final. Clint Dempsey scored after 23 minutes to put us 1-0 up only for Salah – whom had impressed throughout the tie, out Basel back into it. Dragovic latched onto a Mousa mistake to put Basel ahead and 4-3 up on aggregate but our American forward had other plans as on the 82nd minute equalised for his second of the night. The game went into extra time and saw Jan Vertonghen sent off for a poor challenge. The game went to penalties and although Siggy scored his penalty, Ade and Hudd missed theirs and Basel scored 4 to win penalties 4-1 and go through to face Chelsea in the Semi Final. The defeat was harsh and left our European dream in shatters. We then had a ten day break before facing the 2012 champions Manchester City at White Hart Lane.
Sunday the 21st of April saw us face an opponent that we have struggled against in previous seasons, the previous encounter between us and City at the Lane ending 5-1 to Mancini’s men. There was an air of optimism that morning on Twitter and as I began my morning news I found myself full of opportunism ahead of the game. After just 5 minutes though, we found ourselves 1-0 down after former Arsenal player Samir Nasri put City ahead. The game was mixed for Tottenham and sparked into life on the 75th minute when Clint Dempsey latched onto a stylish cross from Bale to equalise 1-1. Spurs enjoyed ‘seven minutes in heaven’ as just 4 minutes later, Jermain Defoe caught a Lewis Holtby ball to skip round Kompany and score a great goal to go 2-1 up. Just when the Spurs fans couldn’t take anymore, Gareth Bale found himself on the end of a Tom Huddlestone ball in the City box to chip Joe Hart to make it 3-1, much to the joy of the Sky Sports commentary team including a City rival in the form of Gary Neville. The game really did excite the Spurs crowd and although still in fifth, gave us additional steam in the run-in.
The next game in the season saw us travel to Wigan’s DW Stadium and it was an important game at the top and bottom as Wigan were fighting for survival. After 9 minutes Spurs were leading through a bizarre goal from Bale in which the cleared ball from the keeper struck Bale’s leg to fly into the net. Wigan equalised just 2 minutes later through an unmarked Emmerson Boyce. McManaman put Wigan ahead as much to the astonishment of the Tottenham travelling fans. But Spurs were able to snatch a point at the death when a Holtby tap was put into his own net by Boyce. Spurs pushed for the win but good defending denied Huddlestone the crucial goal. The draw was a huge setback in the fight for fourth. The next week proved a happy one for Spurs however. Gareth Bale scored a trademark long range effort to gift us a late win against his former club Southampton to win 1-0 and keep in the hunt. The goal was especially special from the young Welshman, stepping round his marker to fire it into the top of the net.
Our next game in the calendar proved to be a typical big game for Champions League dreams. We took to Stamford Bridge to take on Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea in a game which saw Spurs possibly going above Arsenal and a Chelsea win confirming their spot in the illustrious competition. We found ourselves losing 1-0 after 10 minutes when Oscar knocked in a Cahill header at the near post. Although, Adebayor scored our runner-up for goal of the season on the 26th minute mark with a solo effort in which he cleared a corner intercepted the ball and ran all the way to curl an effort outside the box past Cech. Ramires however put Chelsea back on track after 39 minutes with another good individual effort. But in the dying minutes, Gylfi Sigurdsson connected from a superb trick from Emmanuel to score into the corner and tie the game 2-2. The draw left us fifth and Chelsea needing a win at Villa to cement their place which they did. Emmanuel Adebayor deserves a special mention for a truly great game with an assist and goal.
With just two Premier League fixtures remaining, Spurs faced Stoke in their final away game of the season. Tony Pulis’ men held us to 0-0 in December and Spurs needed a win to remain on Arsenal’s tails. Again we found ourselves losing early as after 3 minutes, Steven N’Zonzi headed the ball past Hugo to gift Stoke the lead. But, Clint Dempsey replied 17 minutes later with a bizarre volleyed effort after Parker laid a good ball to Lennon which was poorly cleared. With just 7 minutes left, Adebayor scored his second of the week and his first back-to-back league goals since last season to give us the 2-1 win and celebrated in a particularly dance filled fashion. Charlie Adam saw himself sent off after two poor challenges on Jan. The win left us one point away from Arsenal heading into the final weekend.
The Premier League came to a close yet again on Sunday 19th May. We took on Sunderland at the Lane as Arsenal took on Newcastle away in Tyneside. Both sides were0-0 in their respective games at half time after Spurs saw off two penalty claims, one sure-fire penalty denied and resulting in a Bale booking. Spurs fans placed their heads in their hands with the news that Arsenal had scored and were lifted with David Vaughan being sent off for Sunderland after two poor challenges and two yellows. Spurs’ lucky break happened in the 90th minute when Gareth Bale stepped up to give us the win which gave us the 72 points usually necessary to qualify. Spurs were disheartened at the news of an Arsenal win and left us in Europe but again in the Europa League. The win although disappointing, gave the Spurs fans something to cap off a good season.
So there you go. Our extensive review of each of the Pre-Season, Premier League, Capital One Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Europa League games that Tottenham Hotspur have played in the 2012/2013 season. We will now give our comments on the seasons events.
I personally feel that this season has gone very well for our club. After having our most successful summer transfer window for quite some time we began the new regime under a new face and enjoyed a good pre-season. The combination of a new training ground and new manager really did excite me. I loved turning on Sky Sports to find out something else ahead of the campaign. The new kit launch at the Lane again got me ready for another year. The campaign began very poorly and I think that had nothing to do will our squad. We were still settling down with AVB and he hadn’t got to grips with it yet. The season progressed as did the formation of our starting XI. The September we enjoyed helped to push on as did the remainder of the season. Our European run was excellent and although it ended poorly, a Quarter Final of a European Competition and fifth place is a very good position to be in after losing many key players e.g. Van der Vaart and Modric and having a new manager.
It was so very unlucky for Tottenham to miss out at the final hurdle and I think we must thank the players individually for their efforts. We will now give our review of the squad.
Hugo Lloris – What can we say about this superstar? No doubt our biggest signing this season, he has fitted in very well with the quicker pace of the Premier League. Replacing Brad was always going to be difficult but I believe he has bettered the efforts of our humbled USA keeper. His ridiculous pace has kept us in so many games and the way he carries himself is something that both displays the Tottenham way of playing and the experience behind the French Goalkeeper.
Season Rating: 8/10
Kyle Walker – Kyle has not enjoyed a very good season this year especially if you compare it to that of his debut season under Harry Redknapp. I believe Redknapp was key in Kyle’s development and the withdrawal of Harry stunted the progression of our right-back. He has enjoyed some spectacular runs down the wing and puts in a good shift defence wise. His performance against Liverpool was abysmal but he has kept his place and seems to enjoy his time at the Lane.
Season Rating: 6/10
Michael Dawson – Michael is now the heart and soul of the Spurs squad. The man from Nottingham carries himself with such pride and dignity and his emphatic celebrations at the weekend show how dear he holds Spurs in his heart. His power and relentless performances especially away at Basel showed his passion for the game and his long balls and firm challenges never fail to amaze the White Hart Lane audience.
Season Rating: 8/10
Jan Vertonghen – Super Jan has enjoyed a very successful first season at Tottenham Hotspur. One of the marquee signings in the summer, he has proved very effective in his challenges and ability to push forward and cause problems for attackers. He enjoyed a few stints at left-back but I feel he was not very successful in doing so and prefers a spot in the middle. His position in the PFA Team of the Year display how highly regarded he is now in England.
Season Rating: 8/10
Steven Caulker – Caulker began the year in and out of the team after having a successful loan spell to Swansea. He is obviously very powerful and can head the ball very well; if not for the West Ham keeper he would have had two goals from corners. He has got on the score sheet a few times for Spurs and England also where he has enjoyed several call-ups to the first team and Under-21 squads. There is lots of room for improvement but a good start to THFC life.
Season Review: 6/10
Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Although not always a regular this season, Benny does often return to his role as long standing Spurs left-back with pride. This season really hasn’t reflected well on BAE. He often gets caught out because of his attacking nature and results in sloppy challenges when aware of his mistakes. Kyle Naughton has often dropped by in this role however performed very poorly in the role and I expect this is why AVB opts for the Cameroonian man.
Season Rating: 5/10
Scott Parker – Scott through no fault of his own endured a very slow start to the year. The resurfacing Sandro kept him out of the team as well as his nasty injured picked up in the Euro’s. Scott has not been the same since his surgery and injury. He doesn’t have the pace he once had and because he is now nervous after his bad injury, he doesn’t throw himself into any challenges and often fouls because he cannot make those decisive tackles anymore. I feel sorry for Scott and although I would opt for him to stay as back-up to Sandro, I feel he may leave in the summer.
Season Rating: 5/10
Sandro – the boy from Brazil has had his best season in a Spurs shirt but it was sadly cut short in January through a nasty injury. Sandro has shown his pace and tackling ability this season and kept Parker out of the side in a reversal of last season. Redknapp allowed Sandro to thrive and I thank him for gifting us the Brazilian’s form. I hope to see him return to the team soon.
Season Review: 7/10
Mousa Dembele – WOW. What a season the Belgian has had. I model my way of playing on this superman. He is one of the best players in the League in one-on-one situations and his trademark step-over type action allows him to skip past players like a young gazelle. His goal on his debut was class as was his tie-winning goal against Lyon which firmly placed his place in the team. I love Mousa and although they are slightly different, he was the perfect replacement for Luka Modric.
Season Rating: 8/10
Tom Huddlestone – Tom has enjoyed time in and out of the team. He actually featured regularly at the beginning of the season and has enjoyed recent spells in the starting side. Tom’s lack of speed is clear but he has an act for pushing the team forward. He is arguably the best passer on the team as shown in his assist for Bale against Manchester City. I’ve enjoyed seeing the Huddlefro this season but feel he could be searching for a haircut with another team.
Season Review: 6/10
Aaron Lennon – This boy never fails to amaze me. He hasn’t had the season I expected because it has been hampered with injuries. He has scored the same amount of goals as last season but has provided one more assist (8) than he did last term also. The stands out moments for me are his amazing runs. He has so much pace but it has gone un-recognised this year because of the man on the other wing. He has scored some great goals especially the Sunderland away goal and the goal against Arsenal at home was just brilliant. All-round a decent year from the Leeds lad.
Season Rating: 7/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson – This man deserves a very special mention. Although not always a regular, Gylfi really has been top class for us. I just love watching him play and from watching on it seems he really is part of the team. His equalisers have been so important and with a bit more nurturing, he could be top class next year. I love this lad and he deserves so much praise. From his debut goal at Stevenage you could see he was talented and of course was AVB’s first ever signing. Well played Siggy.
Season Rating: 7/10
Clint Dempsey – Although he definitely wasn’t the player we wanted on deadline day, the signing of Clint raised some eyebrows but I think he has had a fairly decent year. He of course has scored some HUGE goals for us; the Manchester United and City goals the main one’s that come to mind. Clint has days where he really is up for it and days like this weekend where his starting place was insignificant in the end. I really love his celebrations which can show he is passionate about Tottenham. I think he will stick around for next year.
Season Rating: 7/10
Lewis Holtby – The young German lad has not really made the impact he needed to have at THFC. I was excited when he joined in January because he looked a good prospect. He did excite me with his introduction at Norwich and has enjoyed a few good games. He needs nurturing over the summer to break into the starting XI. In fairness to him, he hasn’t had many chances yet to shine because of a lack of selection.
Season Rating: 5/10
Gareth Bale – Does this man even need a review? I mean really? Oh go on then…. Bale is the light of my life, the apple of my eye, the spring in my step. I’ve loved him this year. He’s scored goals that aren’t even possible. He was our only real star in pre-season with Gylfi an exception and his season has been filled with goals. His Premier League goals stand at 21 and include: Reading, United, Southampton (2), Norwich, Arsenal (2), West Ham (3), Liverpool, Villa (3), West Brom, Newcastle (2),Swansea, City, Wigan, and Sunderland, as well as all his cup goals too. We must hold onto him at all costs. He was born to play for Spurs.
Season Review: 10/10
Emmanuel Adebayor – Well. Ade has had a very mixed season. To defend him, he wasn’t even our player for the first game and spent a long period out injured. His trip to AFCON also stunted a regular run in the team. He has enjoyed a few Europa League goals actually and towards the end of the season has been magnificent. His goal at Chelsea was just magical. He does chase the ball very well and makes some good runs when he can be bothered. He is a character in the team and I like that.
Season Review: 7/10
Jermain Defoe – Jermain began a very good season with many goals. His first came in the defeat to Newcastle on the first day and he enjoyed many since, a particularly memorable hatrick against Maribor being some of them. His goal against City was superb and showed the talent we have within our ranks. If not for a spark from Adebayor towards the end of the season, he could have returned from his injury to the team. Jermain has had a particularly rough two years off the pitch and I remain by his side against anyone who wants to sell him.
Season Review: 7/10
The remainder of the squad have all conrtibuted to this team. A small selection of players such as Brad Friedel and Tom Carroll deserve a mention. Brad, well done for gratiously stepping aside for Hugo, you clearly have the clubs best interest in mind. Well done. Tom, a good season for you as you slowly climb up the ranks. Well done son. Well don to all others also.
Talking THFC’s Moments of the Season:
Signing of the Season: Hugo Lloris
Celebration of the Season: The group celebration at West Ham
Game of the Season: Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Goal of the Season: Bale vs. West Ham
Player of the Season: Gareth Bale
Assist of the Season: Tom Huddlestone to Bale vs. City
Moment of the Season: Dembele’s goal vs. Lyon
Home Support of the Season: Spurs fans against Arsenal (2-1)
Away Support of the Season: Spurs fans at Fulham before Christmas (0-3)
Young Player of the Season: Tom Carroll
Least favourite player of the Season: Jake Livermore
Picture of the season:
Well that seems to be it. My Season Review is all tied up in 9000 words. Worked very hard this season and I am very proud of all my contributions both on Twitter and talkingthfc.wordpress.com. I’ve loved every minute of it and despite finishing 5th, it’s been a great year! Our next activity on here is next week’s blog.