May 5, 2010. That was the date which changed Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Away against Manchester City, they headed to the Etihad knowing a win would guarantee them their first ever top four finish in the Premier League.
That’s the moment Spurs went from being a team with lofty aspirations to a club with a genuine chance of winning trophies.
Except they haven’t.
Since that historic day in Tottenham’s history, they’ve found themselves in one major cup final (losing to Chelsea in the 2015 League Cup showpiece), and have managed just one more campaign in the Champions League.
That came this year, although they failed to make it out of their group, and subsequently fell into the Europa League Round of 32.
But while fans will have been disappointed with their side’s early exit from the bigger European competition, this was their perfect opportunity to make a real statement.
European exit a huge missed opportunity
Winning the Europa League would have guaranteed them a spot in next year’s Champions League. That would have been an ideal route for them to go down, given how close it is between five sides aiming for a top four finish behind Chelsea in the Premier League.
Things didn’t exactly go according to plan though, with Spurs losing 3-2 on aggregate to mid-table Belgian side, Gent.
It wasn’t a competition Mauricio Pochettino was taking lightly, either. In fact, the squad he put out last night featured no less than 10 players who started the remarkable 2-0 victory over Chelsea last month.
Last night’s draw was a prime example of something we’ve seen so often over the last few years at Tottenham. Fans will laugh at Arsenal for bottling it every year on the big stage, but to be fair to Arsene Wenger’s men, they have two Emirates FA Cups to their names in the last three seasons.
Progression? What progression?
Fans can’t have it both ways. If you’re heading into a Premier League campaign with genuine optimism that this could be the year your side lifts the trophy, you’re setting yourself up for criticism when things don’t go right.
There’s only so many times we can accept the excuse that this side is still progressing. We’ve heard it a lot over the last few seasons, yet it’s an excuse which is being used a little too much now.
And if we’re talking about progression at White Hart Lane over the last few years, then we need to look at the facts.
Yes, Tottenham finished third in last year’s Premier League. But with four games to go, they were well in the title race. They ended up picking up just two points from that final quartet of fixtures, and were leapfrogged by their north London rivals in the process.
And back in January, it has to be said that it looked as though Spurs were the only side capable of challenging Chelsea for top spot in the table. But, once again, they’ve struggled to maintain the kind of form which got that position in the first place, and they’ve been less than convincing in their last four league outings.
That run has seen them fall 10 points behind Chelsea, while Manchester United in sixth have closed the gap between themselves and Spurs to just two points (it was five points four games ago).
Granted, they are doing well to keep hold of their key players under Pochettino, something which they had previously struggled to do.
But the longer this wait goes on for a major trophy, the more chance they’ll have of losing the likes of Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
They’re 3/1 in the ‘Betting without Chelsea’ market in the Premier League. And it has to be said that only that will be considered as genuine progression from the north London outfit.
Anything else has to be considered a failed season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing