It was just a few weekends ago after Leeds knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the FA Cup when I suggested that the loss could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Spurs. It's so far, so good for Tottenham following that defeat. Their unbeaten streak in the Premier League has extended through February and up to ten games, and they have a 2-1 advantage over Lyon heading into Thursday night's Europa League match in France. It's also worth noting that Spurs weren't knocked out of the FA by suffering a defeat at home to a second tier side.
The fact of the matter is that Spurs really needed a week off between Europa League fixtures. Tottenham have played 11 games since December 26, and they've twice had midweek encounters since January 30. That may not seem like too much to handle on paper, but you can't forget that a combination of fatigue/injuries and a lack of depth was this team's undoing beginning at this exact time one year ago.
This week is all about two things for Spurs: Getting ready for the second leg at Lyon and getting rested. I'm hardly the first person to suggest that Moussa Dembele needs some time off the pitch as March approaches. The time off also gives first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris a breather. Manager Andre Villas-Boas went with veteran Brad Friedel for last Thursday's Europa League showdown at the Lane, a decision I completely understood but also one that was somewhat controversial in the eyes of more than a few Tottenham supporters. Lloris getting the start for the away leg makes sense in theory, but, as usual, Villas-Boas isn't showing his cards just yet.
Tottenham fans would do well to remember that the next couple of weeks will remain a time for Spurs too survive and not necessarily thrive. Yes, Gareth Bale is scoring whenever he wants right now, but it's unrealistic to expect him to continue this kind of form up until spring. Jermain Defoe remains sidelined until the end of the month at least, and Emmanuel Adebayor and Clint Dempsey just aren't meshing in the starting XI. AVB has some hard decisions ahead of him, as relying on just one man to produce goals can be a recipe for disaster.
Then again, there are teams that have made it work in the past.
I'm sure that every Tottenham supporter out there wants Spurs to win every trophy imaginable. That's just not going to happen, and AVB's Blue and White Army still have a shot at winning a significant trophy, one that is, in many ways, bigger and more prestigious than is the FA Cup. I know that winter weekends just aren't the same without Spurs being on TV.
Those of you who find yourselves bored over the next couple of days can always check out the Arsenal vs. Blackburn highlights if you need a smile.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Europa League