Our season began on 18th August 2012. With a bright, talented new manager and a decent preseason, the team and AVB made their way to St. James’ Park for the first game of the new season and the first game of AVB’s tenure. The final 18 for the game showed that we needed to to business and do it fast. The ‘creative’ duo of Livermore and Sandro as well as Defoe and Kane being the only strikers showed the glaring gaps in our squad. The Modric situation had to be sorted. Demba Ba opened the scoring with a beautiful volley. Defoe equalize before Ben Arfa slipped between Van Der Vaart and Lennon in our box to draw a penalty which he himself took and finished. The game ended 2-1 to Newcastle which meant defeat in his first game for AVB.
We then took on West Brom in our first home game of the season. New full signing Emmanuel Adebayor was on the bench as one hole in the squad was filled. It was 0-0 at half time and the crowd at the Lane was restless. Benoit Assou-Ekotto opened the scoring before a 90th minute equalizer from James Morrison sent the Spurs fans home disgruntled.
On the 29th August we completed the signing of Mousa Dembele days after Modric completed his move to Real Madrid. With our next game not until September, Spurs fans had the chance to enjoy Deadline Day. Also known as Levy Day among our fans. Deadline Day started with the announcement by the Club that Younes Kaboul would have to undergo knee surgery. Danny Rose left on loan to Sunderland for the rest of the season. Giovanni Dos Santos left for greener pastures at Mallorca and fans favourite Rafa Van der Vaart left for Hamburg which set off speculation that we would sign Joao Moutinho. Sky Sports had announced that Spurs and Porto agreed a fee for the now former Porto player. Deadline Day ended with Spurs signing a world-class goal keeper in Hugo Lloris and a proven Premier League player in Clint Dempsey. The fans were left disappointed as 3rd-party ownership scuppered the Moutinho deal.
Livermore takes on Gutierrez
Our next game was against Norwich City on the first of September. Mousa Dembele came off the bench to score what many believed would have been the winning goal, but a late equalizer from Snodgrass ensured that after 3 games Spurs were without a win. The Spurs fans were booing the players and doubts were starting to grow whether we made a mistake in hiring AVB.
The international break came at the right time. Spurs returned to action on September 16th vs Reading. Goals from Defoe (2) and Bale and a late consolation goal from Robson-Kanu meant Spurs won 3-1, first win for AVB and the lads. BAE picked up an injury in the match and was expected to be out for one month. The injury was worse than feared and he missed four months.
The next game was an eventful 0-0 draw with Lazio in the Europa League. A debut in goal for Hugo Lloris. The next match was at home vs QPR. AVB started Bale at left-back which backfired horrendously a Zamora goal after 38 minutes meant a 1-0 half-time lead for QPR. The boos were out again for AVB. At the start of the second half, AVB changed the team around. He moved Bale to the left wing with Steven Caulker coming it at center back with Jan Vertonghen being moved to left back. The move was successful as a Faurlin own goal and Jermain Defoe -which was the result of a blistering counter attack- in the space of a minute meant Spurs had turned it around. The game finished 2-1 to Spurs. After the match, AVB claimed that Friedel was still his number 1 keeper which meant the wait continued for Lloris’ Premier League debut.
We then played Carlisle in the League Cup. Spurs won 3-0 with goals fron Jan Vertonghen, Townsend and Sigurdsson.
We then traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. It was a fixture in which Spurs fans didn’t enjoy. We hadn’t won at Old Trafford since 1989. The build-up to the game was dominated by an article by Paul Jiggins of the Sun (who AVB had publicly humiliated) which stated Spurs players were revolting against AVB. The game has the best start Spurs fans could hope for with a 2nd minute Jonny Evans own goal. Gareth Bale made it 2-0 before the break. Spurs fans were in dreamland. Nani reduced the deficit to make it 2-1 before a Gareth Bale shot was saved by De Gea which landed in the path of Clint Dempsey to tap in the rebound in an open net. Kagawa made it 3-2 and that is how the game ended. Elation for AVB and Spurs fans as Spurs won at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.
Gareth Scores vs Man United
October began with a Europa League fixture against Panathanaikos. The game ended 1-1 with goals from Dawson (Spurs) and Toché (Panathanaikos).
Hugo Lloris made his Premier League debut as Spurs beat Aston Villa 2-0. The goalscorers were Aaron Lennon and Steven Caulker. The international break followed.
The next match was against AVB’s old club Chelsea. It was the first time AVB faced them since his sacking and it was a game I’m sure he would have wanted us the win. The bad news before the game was that Mousa Dembele got injured on international duty with Belgium and Gareth Bale had to pull out of the starting XI as his girlfriend was in labour. Cahill opened the scoring for Chelsea with a thumping half volley on the edge of our box. AVB’s half-time team talk worked wonders as Gallas equalized just two minutes after HT against his former club before Defoe made it 2-1 just seven minutes later. Chelsea revived themselves and two Juan Mata goals and a late Sturridge goal meant the game ended 4-2 to Chelsea. Disappointment for AVB.
A 1-1 draw versus Maribor followed. Goals from Beric (Maribor) and our own Gylfi Sigurdsson meant that our first 3 Europa League outings ended in draws.
Our next PL assignment was Gareth Bale’s former club Southampton. Back into the starting line-up after the birth of his daughter Alba Violet Bale (familiar initials?), Gareth opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Clint Dempsey made it 2-0 six minutes before half-time and Rodriguez grabbed a consolation for the Saints late on. The game ended 2-1 to Spurs.
October ended with Spurs being eliminated from the Capital One Cup. Bale’s goal gave Spurs a 1-0 lead. And in the space of two late minutes, a Vertonghen own goal and a 86th minute winner from Jackson ensured Norwich’s progression at the expense of Spurs.
Bale, Clint and Azza celebrate vs Southampton