JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 23: Minister of sport Fikile Mbalula (C) and Lebogang Maile (R) present a medal to Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham during the 2011 Vodacom Challenge final match between Orlando Pirates and Tottenham Hotspur at Coca Cola Stadium on July 23, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur recently went down to South Africa for a preseason tour. They started poorly, had an average game after that, and finished strong, looking like the far superior team in their final game. We shouldn't be putting much stock into preseason games at all, but if we're going to care, shouldn't this be exactly what we want to see?
Yes, of course part of me wishes that we could watch Spurs destroy the Seattle Sounders or the LA Galaxy. Who wouldn't want to watch that? It doesn't mean anything, though, it's just preseason. If you think that Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo clowning on MLS backups tells us that those teams are going to win titles this season, you're nuts.
Preseason is about players regaining their fitness, timing, and chemistry. In each game in South Africa, the players progressively looked more fit, had better timing, and had better chemistry. What else can we reasonably ask for? That's exactly what I want to see out of the team in preseason.
Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart, in particular, looked like they were starting to get into mid-season form. Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto look fantastic at the back. I definitely saw some improvement over three games from Tom Huddlestone. We still have a couple of preseason games against Brighton and Athletic Bilbao to see if the team is truly up to speed for the new season, but I'm feeling confident about most of the players.
Of course, there's one area that didn't look great and didn't improve as the games went on. You all know what I'm going to say. Yes, the strikers.
At this point, it could be my mind playing tricks on me. I have already decided in my head that our strikers are not adequate and that we are in serious need of a new forward or two. In our preseason games, none of the strikers that we have were able to score any kind of impressive goal. Therefore, they might have improved over the three games and I might not have noticed. I accept that this is a possibility.
But do I believe that's true? Hells to the no. Though I acknowledge the possibility that I have tinted glasses on in this situation, I'm pretty sure that our strikers were crap and that they will continue to not be good enough to start in meaningful games for Tottenham. We need a new one, and we need it bad.
So, other than our striker situation, I'm a bucket full of optimism! Let's hope that the team can improve further when they take on Brighton and Athletic Bilbao. Even the strikers.