What do Tottenham Hotspur actually want? That is sure to be a question going through the minds of the club’s fans right now.
Presumably it is a return to doing exactly what they were doing three years ago this week, and lining up in a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. They lost 5-0 on aggregate, but that doesn’t seem to be the important point.
Chairman Daniel Levy craves a return to that Bernabeu stage, to hear the Champions League music again, and he’s growing more and more impatient in his attempts to reach it. So much so that he’s found himself in a position in which Tim Sherwood is the club’s manager.
There is now a sad sense that this Tottenham season has been as wasted as the majority of the money they received for Gareth Bale from Real in the summer. What promised so much has delivered so little.
The limp performance in the 4-0 loss at Liverpool was seemingly a final straw for many supporters as they turned on Sherwood, who was appointed to the role after a 5-0 White Hart Lane loss to the Reds led to the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in December.
The irony of the opponents wouldn’t have been lost on those fans. Whilst Liverpool kept their prized asset in the summer, Tottenham lost theirs. The Reds have been on an upward curve pretty much ever since, Spurs haven’t. Tottenham finished above Liverpool in four consecutive seasons prior to this one, and would have started the season thinking they could do so again. They don’t look like getting back above them for a while now.
It could be worse though. They could be where Sunderland are.
Gus Poyet’s side slipped to the bottom of the table following Fulham’s win at Aston Villa on Saturday, and although they do possess three games in hand on most of the teams around them, one of those is here and one is at Manchester City.
Tough assignments on the road mean that if Sunderland are to stay up then they are likely to do so at the Stadium of Light, but whilst Poyet would have been viewing matches such as this one as simply a bonus fixture in the battle against the drop, he might now be encouraged by the struggles of his hosts.
In contrast to Spurs, Sunderland put on a good display in their last away game at Anfield when they only lost 2-1 and were somewhat unfortunate not to grab a point.
They’ll put up a decent fight here too, meaning that the Draw or Sunderland Double Chance isn’t out of the question at 2.50.
The draw itself also tempts at 4.10, but the nature of both defences means that the safest bets of the lot surely lie in the 1.75 for over 2.5 goals and the 1.83 for both teams to score.
After impressing at Anfield and coming off the bench to find the net against West Ham surely Adam Johnson will be turned to from the start by Poyet here.
The Englishman is 6.25 to score at any time, whilst Connor Wickham could lead the line again after starting the last two matches and is at 4.70 to score.
Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli has been utilised in a No. 10 role in recent weeks, and he looks to be an interesting option for the first goal at a huge 9.50.
Over 2.5 goals – 1.75
Both teams to score – 1.83