The Tottenham Hotspur FC is showing some of the potential that the talented squad has been hinting at all season. This week, new manager Tim Sherwood made it clear that they were still in the running for the English Premier League (EPL) title. Traditionally, Boxing Day is a turning point in the season for EPL teams. More often than not, the teams atop the standings when the smoke clears on the day after Christmas are historically are the teams battling for ascendancy in May. This is the time of year where the Premier League gets interesting for a lot of fans. Trade rumors abound, managers are fired and replaced, and every club believes that they are still in the hunt.
This is also the time of year that sees managers shaking up their rosters in order to address weaknesses or replace players temporarily sidelined for injuries. Fans get to see players desperate to make an impression take advantage of the opportunities that are presented. In addition, knee-jerk decisions made at this time of year have been known to come back to haunt some clubs later in the season. In the case of Tottenham Hotspur FC, however, the match this Sunday gave the brand new manager a chance to begin showing off the club’s real winning potential.
In the case of the interim Tottenham manager, Sherwood’s players appeared determined to prove that their hugely talented squad could perform at a higher level than recent history was suggesting. After the debacle against Liverpool FC last week that spelled the end of former manager, Andre Villas-Boas, expectations were very low. Sherwood gave the team a chance to prove that there was something more to the Hotspurs than fans had seen.
One of the primary changes that he made to the lineup was to bring back Emmanuel Adebayor to play up front alongside Roberto Soldado. Soldado, who has been criticized as not being worth the money to sign him this year, played beautifully alongside Adebayor. Villas-Boas kept Adebayor out of the starting lineup for the majority of this season, even having him train with the youth team rather than the first squad. Given the opportunity to prove that the decision to bench him was a mistake, Adebayor took full advantage. He scored two of the three goals that Tottenham put up, and provided the partner up front for Soldado that allowed some of the other team stars to fall into roles more suited to their talents.
With a pair of real strikers up front, Gylfi Sigurdsson was able to knock balls in from the midfield where his power and precision shine best. Likewise, Christian Eriksen was able to bolster the defensive effort instead of having to keep pressure up front as in recent matches. In light of the fact that the Tottenham back four still showed a holdover tendency to get caught too far forward today, Eriksen was needed to prevent Southampton FC from taking advantage. The chance at a fresh start was apparently exactly what Sherwood needed as motivation for his squad. The potential the team showed this week has provided tangible momentum for the Tottenham Hotspur FC going into Boxing Day that has fans believing their team can make it all the way to the top of the standings.
By Jim Malone