On November 5, 2016, Chelsea would defeat Everton 5-0 and climb to the top of the English Premier League table. Fast forward to May 6, 2017, and they’re still there. And after West Ham ended any chancea��however slima��of a Tottenham title bid, not to mention their nine-match win streak, that’s exactly where Chelsea is going to stay. But it was always going to be this way. Always.
And before you say ‘You’re just saying that now because Tottenham actually lost,’ don’t. Because you couldn’t be more incorrect. I said as much four days ago. And, six days before that. Oh, and 10 days before that. And would you believe ita��10 more days before that! Now, I know what you’re thinking. And now, I didn’t go out of my way to never acknowledge a title race that never was simply to be smug about it later. Rather, I went out of my way to not acknowledge a non-existent title race for this reason, and this reason alone: The insufferable narratives that inevitably followed Tottenham’s defeat on Friday afternoon.
As a Tottenham supporter, you are absolutely allowed to be disappointed about the West Ham defeat. Spurs shouldn’t be losing to that side the way they did. It would have been one thing to lose, but you could make the case on Friday that Tottenham hardly showed up. Maybe they had run out of steam, who knows? It certainly was a poor performance, and one we haven’t seen often. But to suggest even for a seconda��and we’re stepping outside the Tottenham fanbase herea��that they a�?bottleda�? a title challenge is moronic at best and lazy at worst.
In my opinion, last season’s horrendous five-match finish was much more of a letdown than Friday. Especially when you consider who the team in front of them was. And now, Spurs have three matches left to right the ship this season. They have three matches left to motivate themselves despite perhaps not having anything relevant to play for. Barring a collapse like last season’s, they are all but assured a second-place finish. So if you’re going to call anything a bottle-job, make it last season (which would also be incorrect). Still, if you truly wish to convince yourself that it was, consider this:
- What do you call what the greatest manager in the world, Pep Guardiola, did with Manchester City and all that money this season?
- Remember when JosA� Mourinho, Zlatan and Paul Pogba were going to take over the EPL?
- What about JA?rgen Klopp getting another full season, etc etc…
- Arsenal’s season.
If Spurs truly bottled their EPL season with Friday afternoon’s loss, I shudder to think what those other clubs did. Even if they had ended the season on a 13-match win streak, putting them on 89 points, they wouldn’t have won the league. Sure Chelsea can probably take it a little easier now if they’d like, but do you think for one second that Antonio Conte is going to let his side get complacent? Hell no. This title was never Tottenham’s to lose. Good on them for giving it a chase, but they predictably ran out of steam. What they need to do now more than ever, though, is learn from it.
That means investing in depth that will actually pay dividends immediately. Not constant long-term projects. You’re not going to find an Eric Dier or Dele Alli every season, and when two of your bigger purchasesa��Georges-KA�vin N’Koudou and Vincent Janssena��disappoint the way they have, that’s an issue. Getting raw prospects with potentially high ceilings to give you an immediate return on your investment and trust is a wonderful thing. But as we’ve this season and in years past with Spurs, it’s far from a guarantee.
It also means showing up for other competitions. Ones like the Champions League (woof), their subsequent Europa League exit (more woof) and whatever that FA Cup semi-final was.
So if you’re a Tottenham supporter, by all means be upset. Be upset about Friday. Be upset about falling short. After all, it’s frustrating. And if you support a different club, feel free to rub it in. That’s sports fandom in a nutshell; that’s what this is all about. Just don’t be lazy. If you want to look for a bottle job, you have plenty of other material:
- Tottenham’s five-match finish last EPL season.
- Spurs taking just one UCL point from a Leverkusen side currently 12th in Germany.
- Tottenham losing to Gent in the Europa League after crashing out of the UCL.
- Hell, even Spurs literally giving Chelsea three goals in the FA Cup semi-final.
There’s so much there, folks. Look beyond just this season. It’s as simple as this: Tottenham had to be flawless down the stretch. They weren’t, and that’s the end of it.