Big Game Syndrome
If there is one thing that can be said to be missing from this Spurs side that we’ve grown to love so much in the last 14 months or so it is the ability to get results in big games. Pretty much every time we’ve played a match where a win would raise us a notch in the league (or even put us top of the pile) or get us through an important cup round we’ve fallen short, last season’s result at the Etihad being the honourable exception.
We’re largely a young learning team so shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much about it. Since Pochettino has been in charge we’ve lost the soft touch reputation that may have lingered from the nineties but haven’t yet shown enough steel consistently in crucial games. It’ll come though and tonight would be a good place to start.
Whilst tonight isn’t quite in the same category as the games against Leicester, West Ham, Newcastle, Monaco or May’s visit to Stamford Bridge, it’s still one that would earn visible and confidence building rewards should we come out on top. We would enhance our reputation by putting an end to the visitors’ (probably title winning) run and we would rise to third having played the same number of games as those around us.
Alli 4-1, and one for Alli?
In November we gave a rampant Chelski a fright on their own patch by taking a deserved early lead and holding on to it until nearly half time. We fell away after the break but our problem then was not being clinical enough to take full advantage of our superiority whilst we were on top. Recently that’s not been an issue as Kane and especially Alli have been finding the corners of the net with pleasing regularity. We will need this rediscovered ability tonight if we’re going to get anything from this game.
For those who like to pay as much attention to tactics, a team’s shape and positioning as much as the action then tonight could be a small wet dream come true. Poch has been flirting with three at the back on a regular basis recently as I suspect he sees it as our best chance of playing with width and getting the best out of our favourite attacking options, the full backs.
We know that Chelsea will come with Luiz deep and Alonso and Moses wide. Rose and Walker will be hoping to get in behind those two and put pressure on Cahill and Azpilicueta whilst Alli and Kane occupy Sideshow in the middle. Their formation though is designed to allow Hazard and Pedro at least to just push forward and not worry about what’s going on behind them though so an amazing amount of up and down and up and down is expected of Rose and Walker. Dembele and Wanyama too will need eyes in the back of their heads.
It doesn’t help that Costa appears to be have been converted from psychopath to footballer during the summer. He will be up against Vertonghen and Dier in forceful mood though so his new found good guy persona will be tested.
Should’ve gone to Specsavers?
Martin Atkinson is the referee. We’ve had him just the once this season thus far, on the opening day at Goodison.
Time to gird loins, stand tall and get Eriksen on the ball as much as possible. If we play at our best, a famous win is ours for the taking.
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