It seems that this season’s review is significantly more testing than that of the last campaign. With what has been a turmoil-filled, whirlwind of a league year, Spurs have come out of the other end a completely changed club. This season has seen seven new signings, two different managers, a new technical director and the increasingly difficult challenge of the Barclays Premier League, making the 2013/14 campaign a memorable season for Spurs, for all the wrong reasons.
Leading up to the season, Tottenham fans witnessed what they initially believed to have been the greatest summer of their supporting history, with seven, yes seven signings from the Gareth Bale money. With a new technical director in the form of Franco Baldini, and a manager about to spend his first, second season at a club, the future of Spurs was looking exciting. The summer included the infamous ‘day of signings’, in which Tottenham confirmed the captures of Vlad Chiriches, record-signing Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen in one single day, sending chills down the spines of all Spurs fans alike. Those mentioned joined the initially mouth-watering list of new boys, including Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho.
The summer months appeared to send a message to the league of the capabilities of this squad, however it was not until the league had begun, that the world of football had realised that despite appearing to have “sold Elvis and bought the Beatles,” Spurs had in fact bought a group that failed to live up to their price-tags, with exceptions. A mixed pre-season (including a defeat to AS Monaco), showed that the group had not gelled and with promoted Crystal Palace awaiting on the first-day, it was time for the ‘Beatles’ to “Come Together.”
The Premier League was back! With Andre Villas-Boas at the helm, seven new signings raring to go, the season was showing all positive signs. First came a trip to Selhurst Park, to face Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace. Three of our new boys began the game, with Etienne Capoue joining the party later on. Despite some encouraging signs early on, the game was concluded on the 50th minute, with Roberto Soldado tucking home a Premier League debut goal, of which was a penalty – something the club had not achieved for the entirety of the previous season. Spurs sat ninth on the opening weekend.
Next for Tottenham Hotspur came a stunning 5-0 victory over Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi in the Play-Off stage for the UEFA Europa League. Goals from Andros Townsend, Roberto Soldado (x2), Danny Rose and Paulinho secured the first leg win for Spurs whom would face the Georgians again in a week’s time in the second leg.
The successful start to the season continued for Spurs at the Lane. Tottenham enjoyed yet another Premier League win as they defeated Welsh visitors Swansea City 1-0 at White Hart Lane thanks to another Roberto Soldado penalty. The general consensus after was that of relief that the whistle had gone, excitement in another successful win and an idea of ‘let’s keep the ball rolling,’ into the next week.
The continued clean-sheet record moved on into the next week for the club. In emphatic style Tottenham secured their spot in a successive Europa League group stage with a 3-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi securing an 8-0 aggregate win, in the Play-Off stage for the UEFA Europa League. August was over, and all signs were pointing up for the club.
September could not have begun in much worse a fashion for the LilyWhites, with a defeat to North London rivals, Arsenal. In a 1-0 defeat to the Emirates residents, Spurs began to show their first real weaknesses, with AVB’s tactical implementation poorly balancing the task faced. It was a low day for Tottenham Hotspur, with just hours after the defeat, confirmation began feeding through of Gareth Bale’s departure to Real Madrid, despite a deal reached the day prior to this.
Spurs however picked themselves up. Tottenham returned to winning ways with a dominant 2-0 win over Chris Hughton’s Norwich City. Two goals from Gyfli Sigurdsson helped temporarily place Spurs joint top of the Barclays Premier League table. Christian Eriksen shone through on his debut, showing a glimpse of his capabilities and coming close to a goal.
Tottenham then kicked off the Europa League group stages with a comfortable 3-0 win over Norwegian side Tromsø IL to show the European stage that they mean business this domestic campaign. Jermain Defoe (x2) and Christian Eriksen the scorers. The Premier League was soon back, and Tottenham midfielder Paulinho scored a dramatic last minute goal to send Tottenham second in the table with a 1-0 win over Cardiff in Wales, a truly last-gasp game.
With the games coming thick and fast, Tottenham booked their placement in the Fourth Round of the Capital One Cup after beating Aston Villa away 4-0 thanks to goals from Jermain Defoe (x2), Paulinho and Nacer Chadli – his first for the club. The toughest test of the month came against London rivals Chelsea however. It was an old-school, teacher vs. Pupil grudge match. Andre Villas-Boas against his former mentor Jose Mourinho. Tottenham versus Chelsea. Although a draw was the end result, the game showed that Tottenham could put it to the big boys, and that Mourinho had taught Andre well. It was the Chelsea manager whom had the last laugh at the end of the season, however. September was over, and a difficult month lay ahead for the North Londoners.
Tottenham lengthened the gap between the others in their Group after a comfortable 2-0 win over Anzhi Makhachkala on a cold Europa League night in Russia. Jermain Defoe scored his 7th of the season as well as a good contribution from Nacer Chadli. However, Tottenham then suffered their second defeat of the Premier League season after suffering a 3-0 stuffing by West Ham United – securing the cup for the Hammers (denote a sense of sarcasm).
But in typical fighting spirit, Tottenham came back fighting from the International break to record a well fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa. Goals from Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado made sure that Spurs climbed back up the table to fifth. The Spurs went marching on in Europe also, as they saw the Sheriff off to win 2-0 win Moldova on another successful European night with goals from Jermain Defoe and Jan Vertonghen.
Spurs then went head-to-head against Hull City twice in one week at White Hart Lane. After Roberto Soldado secured the Premier League fixture for Spurs in a 1-0 win, the Capital One Cup game proved a tough test. After a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes (including a stunning Gylfi Sigurdsson goal), Tottenham then defeated the Tigers 8-7 on penalties, putting the events at Basel the previous season to bed, showing they can score penalties. October was over but a horrible November was on the horizon.
Our first game of the month was a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. Both sides were evenly matched with the most memorable highlight of the game a thunderous clash between Hugo Lloris and Romelu Lukaku, firmly placing the Frenchman in Spurs folk law.
The Europa League was back once more, and Tottenham record signing Erik Lamela finally broke through. I was lucky enough to witness his tremendous goal and the night was capped off as Jermain Defoe scored a club-record 23rd European goal to win the game 2-1.
But then came a defeat at home. A fabulous performance from Tim Krul and goal from Loic Remy confirmed the 1-0 win for Newcastle at White Hart Lane, something that amazed everyone in the footballing world, purely because it was amazing that Spurs didn’t score! A rough patch for Spurs was extended, as the Lilywhites suffered a 6-0 thumping to Manchester City. This could be seen as the game to spark AVB’s downfall. A 2-0 victory over Tromsø in which Tottenham made sure they won their Europa League group after with goals from Dembélé and Causevic (OG), was only a consolation prize for a bad month.
Tottenham played an outstanding 9 games in December and began with a tasty draw at the Lane. Tottenham replied against the red side of Manchester with a well fought 2-2 draw at the Lane. Tottenham goals from Kyle Walker and Sandro (the club’s goal of the season).
Spurs fans then cried: “I wish it could be Christmas every day!” as they came out of a difficult London derby with Fulham as 2-1 winners, goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby – their first Tottenham Premier League goals for the Lilywhites after Dejagah put the hosts ahead. Tottenham ended a fabulous week which saw 6 goals scored as they beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light thanks to goals from Paulinho and John O’Shea. Spurs look back to their best with some particularly good pieces of play. Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado then scored his first ever club hatrick in a 4-1 bashing of Anzhi Machakala in midweek, Lewis Holtby scoring the other.
But then, it was all over for Andre Villas-Boas. A 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Lane sparked the end for the manager, just a day later. I thank Andre for his service to the club, and for bringing some tremendous memories along with it. I was lucky enough to meet the man, and he was a credit to the club. It just wasn’t to be. Tim Sherwood took over and remained for the rest of the season however in his first game, the month of December was only worsened by a Capital One Cup exit to West Ham, the second of the season.
In Sherwood’s first Premier League game, Spurs came from behind to earn a 3-2 victory at Southampton with goals coming from Emmanuel Adebayor (2) and Hooiveld. Sherwood was praised for helping to get the best from Adebayor again, the striker we know and love was back! A Boxing Day draw with West Brom was slightly disheartening after the win at the Saints, however those at the Lane witnessed a tremendous Christian Eriksen freekick.
Tottenham then ended 2013 with a comfortable 3-0 win over Stoke City at White Hart Lane, goals coming from Roberto Soldado (penalty), Mousa Dembélé and Aaron Lennon.
Tottenham made the perfect start to 2014 with a spectacular 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. This was the second time in two years that Spurs had done so and made sure for the second year they were unbeaten against the Champions after drawing at the Lane in 2013.
However, a week later Tottenham lost the second North London Derby of the season as they fell out of the FA Cup thanks to a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal. This difficult defeat was forgotten soon however, as Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe capped off a beautiful 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace – a game that saw Defoe score his last for the club, and Jason Puncheon strike the best penalty ever seen.
Tottenham continued a good spell of form under Tim Sherwood with three points at the Liberty Stadium, furthering their impressive record against Swansea since the Welsh were promoted with a 3-1 victory. This form was swiftly wiped away, with a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Manchester City.
The month began with a frustrating draw away at Hull City. A decent goal from Paulinho managed to secure a 1-1 tie, however Spurs looked disinterested and overly tired. Tottenham then returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane over top-four competitors Everton. Despite the game not being in Spurs control for the entire 90 minutes, the victory showed that the fight is not over as Tim Sherwood’s side move within three points of Liverpool in fourth.
Spurs secured another vital three points in the race for Champions league with a smashing 4-0 win at St James’ Park. Goals from Adebayor (2), Paulinho and Chadli. But soon after, Tottenham began the first leg of their Europa league last of 32 tie, with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. The poor run was then extended by an away defeat to Norwich, showing signs that Sherwood wasn’t much better than his predecessor.
Tottenham produced a stunning comeback to beat FC Dnipro and reach the Europa League last 16 on a dramatic night at White Hart Lane, goals from Adebayor (2) and Eriksen. I was at the game and it was one of my favourite ever atmospheres inside the Lane. Amazing night.
The month of March was nothing short of diabolical for Tottenham Hotspur. It began with a quiet victory over Cardiff City at the Lane, with Roberto Soldado clinching a rare goal from open play, forcing the crowd into the most bizarre and relieved state ever witnessed, a state shared by the Spaniard.
But then began the run of despair. Spurs travelled to Stamford Bridge in the hope of turning around a terrible record at Chelsea. They were however defeated 4-0, with the emergence of Adam Richman in the away end not enough to inspire the boys. The display forced Sherwood to produce quote of the season, remarking: “It’s a lack of characters, too many of them [being] too nice to each other, and you need to show a bit more guts and not want to be someone’s mate all the time. They need to drag it out of each other.”
The bad month continued at the hand of Last-16 opponents, Benfica. Whilst tempers flared on the touchline between managers, tempers flared in the stand too, as Spurs suffered a disappointing 3-1 home defeat, despite a marvellous Eriksen goal. This run was only worsened by defeat to Arsenal in the North London Derby at the weekend.
Spurs tried everything possible to resurrect the UEFA Europa League tie as they travelled to Benfica, however came crashing out after a 5-3 aggregate defeat in the last-16 leg. Nacer Chadli tried his best to save the Spurs, as his two goals set up and interesting final few minutes, only for a last gasp Benfica penalty to seal the deal.
Tottenham did attempt to improve the month of March with a win against Southampton at the Lane. Despite being 2-0 down, they came back to win 3-2 with two goals from Eriksen, and a stunning late effort from Gylfi Sigurdsson. The efforts made were however spoilt with defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, in 90 minutes of misery during a 4-0 loss, a week later.
Tottenham defied the media pressure surrounding Sherwood to comeback with a thumping 5-1 victory over relegation threatened Sunderland. Spurs faced great amounts of difficulty in producing a strong show after not only poor recent performances, but a day filled with questions about their future.
A week later, they were at it again. Tottenham came from behind to rescue an awful start and earn a 3-3 draw at the Hawthorns. Although it meant little in the long run, a draw on the road was not to be ignored, the performance however deserved every bit of negativity thrown at it. Eriksen’s late leveller enough to steal a point.
An unbeaten April continued at the Lane. Tottenham came back from the draw at the Hawthorns to beat Fulham 3-1 at White Hart Lane, with goals from Paulinho, Kane and Kaboul. This was bettered as Spurs made it two wins in two, after a Danny Rose goal sealed a 1-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium a week later.
As the season came to a close, Tottenham lost to West Ham United for the third time this season, as the Hammers completed a 2-0 victory at Upton Park, with goals from Kane (OG) and Downing.
The season was then concluded with a smashing 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane, with Paulinho, Adebayor (pen) and an own goal securing a strong end to the campaign under Sherwood.
On the 13th May 2014, it was announced that Tim Sherwood had left his role as Head Coach. I wish Tim all the success in the world however it was not to be. He didn’t do himself any favours with the fans and ultimately had he come to his senses in January he may have been better off. Thank you for spending the season with myself, it’s been quite the ride. Let’s have a great summer, enjoy the World Cup and come back stronger. Up the Spurs!
@TalkingTHFC Season Awards
Player of the Season – Hugo Lloris
Young Player of the Season – Christian Eriksen
Goal of the Season – Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Hull City
Assist of the Season – Erik Lamela vs. Cardiff
Save of the Season – Hugo Lloris vs. Manchester City (H)
Comedy moment of the Season – Vertonghen vs. Villa (A)
Best Away performance – Old Trafford
Best Home performance – Stoke
Signing of the Season – Christian Eriksen
Moment of the Season – Triumph over FC Dnipro at the Lane
Result of the Season – Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Celebration of the Season – The ‘Ade salute’
Quote of the Season – Christian Eriksen: “Yeah for sure.”
Meme of the Season – Christian Eriksen: “Yeah for sure.”
Atmosphere of the Season – FC Dnipro (Home) / Ledley Testimonial
Battle of the season – Benfica (A)
Picture of the Season –