Hatem Ben Arfa, James Morrison, Robert Snodgrass, Hal Robson-Kanu, Daniel Sturridge, Simeon Jackson, Jan Vertonghen, Edin Dzeko, Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll, Gregorz Raziak, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic. The roll call of late goalscorers against Spurs continues to grow. Okay, Rasiak didn’t score, but even a static Pole with a criminal haircut might net against Tottenham in the last 10 minutes.
The grim but unsurprising statistic that Spurs would be top of the Premier League (and in the League Cup quarter-finals) if games finished on 80 minutes highlights a trend that shows little sign of relenting.
Inevitably some will blame William Gallas for chain-smoking by a goalpost or Hugo Lloris reading Proust to a ballboy, but perhaps a simple lack of fitness is the key. When Sebastien Bassong left Spurs just before the end of the transfer window, he was asked the difference between the training regimens of new boss Andre Villas-Boas and everyone’s un/favourite ex-gaffer Harry Redknapp. The answer was unusually illuminating.
According to Bassong, most of Spurs’ training under Redknapp focused on ‘running’ with new coach Villas-Boas concentrating on playing football through which the team would ‘naturally’ gain fitness. Has AVB failed to witness the unfitness?
Of course, Saturday’s late reverse against Everton came against a quality side, away from home, several days after Spurs had played in the Europa League with the likes of Gareth Bale, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker still missing and the talismanic Mousa Dembele, almost inevitably, off the pitch.
Yet disappointment should be diluted by the previous three league wins on the bounce, progress to the last 32 of European competition and that Spurs remain on equal points with fourth place Everton. Away fixtures against five of last season’s top six sides (excluding Spurs) have also been fulfilled.
In the words of the late Whitney Houston, ’it’s not right, but it’s okay’ (except in the last 10 minutes).
*Regular readers of this blog may have noticed my absence over the last 10 days. Like Alan Partridge before me, I am currently living in a hotel after a crazy home move (into storage), heinous work deadline, emotional wedding and an early hours brush with Brighton’s knife community. Regular service will hopefully be resumed soon.