Happy Clapper: What a season we’re having! Unbeaten at home, best start since the early sixties and did you know that we have more points than at this stage last season?
The Realist: More points maybe but we’re outside the top four and likely to remain there unless one of the likely lads have a major meltdown. And we’ve got a seemingly reborn Man Utd breathing down our necks.
HC: True but we’re in this great position and we’ve not played well yet, we’ve not got out of third gear!
TR: But are you sure we’ve got any other gears? We’ve had plenty of opportunities to shift up a notch but it hasn’t happened. Old Trafford, Woolwich, not to mention the Wembley fiascos. We’ve only beaten one team of the current top ten thus far.
HC: But that’s because we’ve had so many injuries to key players. Kane, Toby, Dembélé, Alli, they’ve all suffered at some point.
TR: They have but we were lucky last year with our physio room being so empty, this season is more like an average campaign when it comes to knocks and bruises.
HC: Thanks to Wanyama and Dier we’ve hardly noticed the key absentees though and Winks, look at him, he’s been a great addition to the squad.
TR: Winks is excellent but should we be in a position where we’re relying so much on an untried twenty year old? Anyway, you say Winks, I say Onomah.
HC: We’ve got Lamela back soon anyway which means we’ll have pretty much a full squad ready for the new year and the cups.
TR: True that it’s a full squad, but it’s not a very deep squad. Only one of the summer signings can be deemed an unqualified success and we’ve still not got any reliable cover for either Kane or Eriksen. As for the cups, we all know Pochettino’s priority is to finish as high as possible in the league. The lack of numbers mean that he won’t put out a full team in the cups unless, thanks to a few decent draws, we sneak through to the very late stages. Look at Monaco away.
HC: It’s a young team as well remember.
TR: It is, but a young team with a lot of experience. Eriksen, Lloris, Alderweireld, Vertonghen & Dembele all have over 50 caps & Alli, Kane, Walker, Rose and Lamela have all played in major competitions.
HC: No-one wants to come to White Hart Lane to play us.
TR: No and I don’t blame them. But we’ve had a lot of dominating but somehow also unconvincing performances. Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Burnley, Leicester… we’ll get found out soon if we carry on with this level of intensity and profligacy in front of goal. Our lack of pace makes this slow, sideways approach play we have look oh so predictable and easy to deal with for the better teams (and West Ham), just look at the Champions League. Expect a lot more low scoring draws unless we find a spark from somewhere.
HC: So, do you think there should be changes then?
TR: Far from it. I think there’s no doubt that we’re heading in the right direction and also that the Pochettino project is ‘ahead of schedule’. All I’d like is a bit or realism about where we are and what our targets for the season should be.
HC: And what do you think our targets should be?
TR: Fourth, and a run in at least one of the remaining cups. We may not get fourth but no reason why we shouldn’t aim for it. A cup run is a more realistic project, assuming the manager takes at least one of them seriously.
HC: Football is about dreams and aspirations.
TR: You’re thinking of Christmas, and by the way, have a good one.
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