International Soccer
By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor - Archive - Email
Current slide could have lasting impact for Spurs
The Spurs have claimed just one win in their last nine games.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When Tottenham handed out a 5-0 drubbing of Newcastle back in February the question was whether or not Harry Redknapp's side could join Manchester City and Manchester United in a three-team title race.

But since that emphatic victory Spurs have claimed just one win from their last nine games and dropped to fifth in the league table, which is a precarious position for a team attempting to join England's elite.

Tottenham has at times looked worthy of that distinction this season, but if the club fails to pull out of its current tailspin and is unable to crack the top four, the team could look very different come the beginning of the next campaign in August.

Redknapp for one is the odds-on favorite to be named as the next England manager. However, the man on the sidelines is not the only thing that could be different as a number of attractive players currently on the Tottenham roster could depart north London in search of teams bound for the Champions League.

Creative midfielder Luka Modric came within an eyelash of joining Chelsea last summer before the move was ultimately squashed by Spurs. And you can bet that should Tottenham finish fifth or lower this season, there will be no shortage of suitors for the Croatia international.

Gareth Bale has established himself as one of the best young wingers in the world over the past two seasons and has attracted interest from clubs like Barcelona among others.

The 22-year-old announced his arrival on the world stage by shredding Inter Milan in the Champions League two years ago, and after missing out on the competition this season with Spurs, probably doesn't want to go another year without featuring in Europe's biggest club competition.

The issue of money could play a major role in the case of both Bale and Modric as missing out on the Champions League would deprive the club of additional funds, which would make turning down a lucrative offer for either player even more difficult.

Leading-scorer Emmanuel Adebayor is on loan at the club from Manchester City, meaning his future is still uncertain, while Dutch playmaker Rafael Van der Vaart has recently hinted that a return to his native Netherlands is likely at some point before the end of his career.

The collection of talent that Redknapp has assembled at Tottenham during his three years in charge is impressive. But now the question is how did things go south so quickly?

Since that five-goal hammering of Newcastle in February, Tottenham has won just once in its last nine league games.

The poor run of form began when Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead at rivals Arsenal, allowing the Gunners to net five unanswered goals and run out with a 5-2 win.

Tottenham went on an 11-game unbeaten streak in the first half of the season that saw the club score at least two goals in each game. But with just eight goals in its last nine matches, someone clearly needs to step up.

Adebayor would be one candidate as he has tallied just four goals in Tottenham's last 13 league matches, while Bale has also not looked as dynamic as he did in the first part of the season.

Luck also seems to be going against Tottenham at the moment as the club lost 1-0 at QPR on Saturday despite badly outplaying the home side.

With Liverpool clearly enduring a down season and Chelsea performing below its best for a large part of the campaign, the door is open for a team like Tottenham to burst through and claim a place in the top four.

Newcastle has been one of the surprise packages of the season and sits three points clear of Spurs with four games remaining.

The Magpies are in a brilliant run of form having collected six straight wins in the league to move past both Chelsea and Tottenham. But the schedule gets very difficult over the final four weeks, which could provide Tottenham with the chance it needs to snatch fourth place.

Newcastle faces away games against relegation-battling Wigan, Chelsea and Everton and a home contest with Manchester City.

Tottenham's schedule is much easier to navigate with Spurs facing bottom-half sides in its next three games before closing the season at home against ninth- place Fulham, which won't have much to play for at that point.

Despite such a poor run of results the past two months Tottenham still has a chance to finish in the top four and build on what has been a successful couple of seasons.

It's a chance the club must take advantage of because if not, it's one that likely won't come around again next season.

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