One scoreless draw with Milan having taken Tottenham Hotspur to the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League, another, with West Ham United, has left them to contemplate the prospect of playing in the wasteland of next season's Europa League.
Spurs' failure to break down Avram Grant's newly resilient side, while missing the chances that did come their way, deepened the roots they are putting down in fifth place.
Tottenham's imminent encounters with Real Madrid have rightly stirred the imagination but they need to end a flat patch in the Premier League if they are to retain serious hopes of again finishing in the top four. Certainly they would have expected to take more than a paltry two points from games against Blackpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham.
When a manager starts to get philosophical that is the time to worry. "If we don't do it this time we'll try again next season," said Harry Redknapp. "What can you do - I think we can win the Premier League with this club. There is a championship in Tottenham and it's my ambition to win it. If we keep improving, who knows?"
Many of Redknapp's predecessors at White Hart Lane have found themselves thinking along similar lines. Yet the reality is that only Arthur Rowe, in 1951, and Bill Nicholson 10 years later have won league titles with Spurs. If points were awarded for artistic impression Spurs might be up there with Arsenal but in the league their history is full of promises unfulfilled.
A bit like the game on Saturday. Luka Modric was everywhere, setting up moves, creating space, finding angles and linking the play, but when it came to finding the net Spurs were frustrated by a combination of post, crossbar, the goalkeeping of Robert Green and their own profligacy. "I love the way we played," said Redknapp. "That's how it goes. Some games you play crap and end up winning. Today we just didn't get the break. We had so many chances it was crazy."
A number fell to Jermain Defoe, who could have marked his 250th appearance for the club with his 100th goal but was off target, too late to get a touch or thwarted by Green's reflexes. Defoe's overall scoring record is good but in the Premier League this season he has found the net only twice, both at Molineux a fortnight ago. He has become not so much a goalscorer as a player who sometimes scores goals and against West Ham his afternoon was summed up when a shot from Aaron Lennon cannoned back off a post, hit Defoe and bounced wide.
Tottenham's attack had begun to look prolific when the newly arrived Rafael van der Vaart struck up an understanding with Peter Crouch. But Crouch stayed on the bench on Saturday while Van der Vaart seemed off the pace after his recent calf injury. In fact Spurs were more likely to score once the Dutchman had given way to Roman Pavlyuchenko, Van der Vaart leaving the arena in what looked suspiciously like a huff. Redknapp told TV he would be speaking to the player today, but later said he might not bother.
Carlton Cole missed two early chances to put West Ham ahead but in the main their performance thrived on the organisation and discipline of their defence, in which Wayne Bridge was outstanding, and the excellence of Green. The moment five minutes from the end when Green touched a free-kick from Gareth Bale on to the bar before Lars Jacobsen hooked the rebound off the line said everything about the revival at Upton Park.