Much fanfare has added an artificial, and purely cosmetic shine to some Premier League sides’ seasons. Certain circumstances have meant that clubs, who would otherwise be hanging on, are able to escape the fact they have under-performed, as a team, this season.
The spotlight has been drawn away from teams as a whole. In some instances a sub-plot has formed around one player, one group of results, or one cup run.
To hide behind these purely superficial, and short-term elements would be wrong.
So where do we begin?
Due to the weekend that was in it, we will firstly look at Aston Villa. They’ve reached the FA Cup final, Christian Benteke has found his form again and ‘tactics Tim’ is back with a bang.
That’s all well and good but what we must not forget is that the pre-Tim Sherwood Villa were on a direct course for relegation. The new boss may have stopped the bleeding but whether or not Villa are a club that can consistently produce the goods for an entire season remains to be seen.
The silver lining looks to have enveloped the cloud altogether, when looking at Villa’s season. A cup final appearance may give the fans what they want. However, Villa are comparable to a car with an expensive body-kit and sound system which can barely go from a to b, without breaking down.
On the outside it seems all rosy but behind this veil of positivity there lurks a bigger problem. Under Paul Lambert there was initially a sense that this club was slowly, but surely, maturing into a team of men who could compete at the highest level.
This has yet to materialise however, and putting an FA Cup final appearance in the way of the bigger picture will be to Villa’s detriment.
Tottenham are equally as guilty of covering up what are fundamental problems with the team. An over-reliance on the newest English saviour Harry Kane is to the forefront of these issues. He cannot be their sole go-to-guy for goals. It simply won’t last, particularly as the young striker’s ambitions swell with the likelihood being that he will be tempted away.
A piece by the Telegraph recently showed just how dependent Spurs have been on the 21-year-old this season, when they reported that a massive 22 points had been accrued purely down to Kane’s nine match-winning goals.
This makes Kane’s goals more influential in deciding results than any other player in the Premier League this season. That statistic alone may not sound surprising but what is shocking is that were it not for Kane’s nine game-changing goals, Spurs would now be level with Newcastle United in 15th, who they beat 3-1 at the weekend.
Of course if someone replaced the Englishman up front they would have found goals in his place but the stark reality is that Tottenham, even in the post-Gareth Bale era look to still be a one-man band.
They’ve found a hero in Bale before and now in Kane the same over-reliance is occurring again. Lightening has already struck twice, for it to happen a third time is highly-unlikly. Who will come after Kane is inevitably tempted away?
This writer can’t help but worry for Tottenham and Aston Villa beyond the Kane and FA Cup-induced high these sides are respectively enjoying at present.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena