Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Oh Manchester, so much to answer for*

I can see us getting properly turned over tonight. A team weakened by injuries looks further hampered by flagging morale and growing uncertainty surrounding our future.

We are drifting, rudderless and listless (leaderless?) into summer's harbour. We will have no Champions League football to look forward to, probably no European football of any sort and, according to Harry, very little chance of qualifying for any next year.

We have no solution to our stadium conundrum. No word at all on our stadium conundrum, in fact. Just silence. Maybe they're going for some clever reverse-engineering solution. The current ground isn't big enough to match our ambition - so we've lowered our ambition; the aim now is to become a club that only needs about 36,000 seats. Problem solved.

(Edit: not silence, just a series of stark statements approved by lawyers revealing a dogged but baffling determination with regard to a battle that most fans don't want us to enter, let alone win)

We all know it shouldn't be like this. Arsenal and Chelsea aside, we've picked up seven points from seven of the worst teams in the league. The only one we've beaten, in fact, was Stoke, who are actually playing pretty well at the moment. So, make that four points from six of the very, very worst teams in the league. Four out of 18 when, reasonably and realistically, we should have expected 12-18.

Where Harry is right is in his assertion that top four qualification won't get any easier. Man Utd and Chelsea aren't going anywhere. Man City will spend and spend until they win the lot. And Arsenal, despite a few comedy collapses, remain a side of true quality that haven't finished outside the top four for, what, a decade at least, right?

And then there's Liverpool. There wasn't. But now there is. Again.

That's why we need to shake off this fug with some goals, some wins, some points and some panache. It's what we called for against Blackpool at home - and instead we got another miserable performance, plus a particularly nasty injury to Bale.

We all know, and if we don't Harry is 'happy' to remind you, that Spurs have had darker days than these and been in worse positions than this. But you can't ignore context. You can't keep harking back to a blip under a manager who the team had stopped playing for, or to a time when our playing staff was demonstrably inferior to the current crop.

Right, that's it. In a modernist tribute to the way our season's finishing, this preview's just going to peter out. It's not even going to be a preview. It's going to fail and disappoint. And if it could, it would probably blame you.

* Could just as easily been 'I Know it's Over'. Or 'You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Harry'.

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