COMMENTARY | Tottenham Hotspur supporters had to endure another painful end to a season on May 19 when their beloved side again narrowly missed out on Champions League. Time heals all wounds, as they say, and I am now, after several days of mourning, able to enjoy all that Spurs gave their fans from August 2012 to May 2013. The truth of the matter is that Tottenham provided plenty of scintillating and memorable football this past season, and they were an absolute joy to watch;
most of the time.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: Pleased to meet you
Defender Jan Vertonghen had been linked with Spurs throughout the 2011-12 campaign, and he made the move to White Hart Lane last summer. After being eased into Premier League football by manager Andre Villas-Boas, Vertonghen introduced himself to the Tottenham faithful in a big way with two quality plays that occurred in the span of six days.
The first came on September 23 when Spurs were hosting Queens Park Rangers. A defensive miscue inside the Tottenham penalty area gifted David Hoilett with what appeared to be a clear attempt on goal. In rushed the Belgium international, however, who coolly slid in and won the ball. It would go on to be the team's best solo defensive effort of the season, one that brought memories of Ledley King to mind.
Vertonghen helped Spurs make history six days later when they were away to Manchester United. A galloping run into the United penalty area coupled with a fortunate bounce provided the visitors with the opening goal in the second minute of the match. Tottenham ultimately held on for a 3-2 victory, the team's first win at Old Trafford since 1989. That, of course, was another incredible moment produced by the club this season, one that doesn't get its own section in this piece merely because of my decision to group it along with Vertonghen's moments of brilliance.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: 4-0 at Villa Park
Tottenham's most complete victory of the Premier League season came on December 26 when they were away to lowly Aston Villa. It was on this day that the world got a glimpse of what was to come from undisputed Player of the Year Gareth Bale. The Welshman's hat-trick, completed in under 25 minutes, propelled Spurs to the blowout win. Little could we have imagined what Bale had in store for the second half of the campaign.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: When we cared about Europa League
For many within the Tottenham fan base, Europa League was a nuisance and not much more, something that could potentially play a part in Spurs not earning Champions League come springtime. Then, seven days after more heroics from Bale, Mousa Dembele gave everybody a reason to cheer and to also believe that Spurs could maybe win a European trophy. With Spurs a few minutes away from being bounced out of the tournament when away to Lyon, Dembele got around his man before unleashing a left-footed rocket that put Tottenham through to the competition's next round.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
Spurs were largely outplayed by their rivals in the game's opening 35 minutes before some shoddy defending gave Bale the space and opportunity to break through free and clear inside the penalty area. The Welsh wonder made no mistake in beating Arsenal 'keeper Wojciech Szczęsny before letting out a scream for all the world to see. Aaron Lennon then struck for what was the match-winning tally two minutes later. The speedy winger went on a diagonal run and beat a rather lazy offside trap before latching on to a Scott Parker through ball. Lennon finished the play by cutting around Szczęsny and then depositing the ball into the back of the net.
Holding onto that two-goal advantage wasn't an easy task for the hosts, who surrendered a goal six minutes into the second half. Arsenal may have been the better overall side for much of the match, but they couldn't find an equalizer before the final whistle. As unimpressive a win as it was, it was still a Tottenham victory over the Gunners; one that, unfortunately for Spurs, didn't mean much when all was said and done.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: Three goals in seven minutes
Tottenham's Champions League dreams were turning into one big nightmare when Spurs were down to Manchester City 1-0 on April 21. That all changed 15 minutes before time, when Clint Dempsey took advantage of some horrendous man-marking and then sent a Bale cross past the City goalline to level the match. It was all Spurs from there. Jermain Defoe buried a world class hit four minutes later, and Bale wrapped the match up for good in the 82nd minute. It was the Lane's best hour of the year, one that won't soon be forgotten despite Spurs finishing out of the top-four of the league table.
2012-13 Tottenham Hotspur top moments of the season: Bale at West Ham
It's the only way to finish this piece. Everything about this goal makes it my moment of the season; the glorious winner that was scored at the death, and also the touchline celebration. As time passes and more and more football is played, it's those few seconds that I'll immediately remember whenever I reflect on this past season.
I hope I'll be able to witness similar scenes involving Bale and AVB down the road.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Champions League
- Gareth Bale
- Jan Vertonghen