Ronald & Erwin’s gang, not Richard & Stuart’s
With the shock waves from Monday still reverberating around that part of the football world concerned with crime and punishment, we head to White Hart Lane for our final home game of the season and by the sounds of it, the last one in front of 36,000 people.
One more win please.
There’s motivation aplenty, a win would secure second barring a couple of big results from Citeh or two from the Gooners that would make one suspicious that the nails had come loose on Henry Norris’s coffin.
Saints and Sinners
That we are able to face Southampton on Sunday (1.30 ko by the way – no boozy long lingering Sunday lunch for the wicked) with only one further mandatory player lost (after Alli) is something of a miracle. The news that just Dembélé received a personal charge from the FA would have come as a huge relief to Pochettino who must have contemplated that all of Dier, Walker, Lamela and Rose at least might also have been called up before the FA beaks.
Clattenburg’s normal incompetence turned out to be a double edged sword in that his failure to control the game was matched by his inability to spot any red card offences. It’s a feat almost on a par with Leicester’s title win that we finished the game with eleven men still on the field; didn’t see that as the lead story on the BBC news though did we? Oh no.
Breaking (legs) Bad
The mass outbreak of indiscipline had several root causes; allowing the antics of the nefarious scumbag Costa’s to get in their heads, especially when the players knew what to expect, and the surprising inability to cope with the pressure being chief amongst them. Our lads seemed worked up to an extreme that ended up being harmful.
This time two years ago, under Sherwood, we rolled over at Liverpool in a way you never ever want to see from a Spurs team, but Monday also saw behaviour you don’t want associated with our club. You want the spirit and the fight and togetherness, you absolutely don’t want the nasty, on and off the ball, violence.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that there was no yellow card for Alderweireld on Monday. At least one man managed to keep his cool whilst everyone around him lost theirs.
How much is that Sadio in the window?
Southampton are on a run of form and have been playing well (against everyone apart from Leicester of course). They are still in with a slim shout of a Europa League spot assuming that sixth place qualifies, though as well as the top four, there’s a good chance that the Uniteds of Manchester and West Ham will finish above them and maybe Liverpool too. They’ll no doubt give it a go, especially those players who sense a transfer window is imminent (Mané, Wanyama) and those with Euro ambitions (Pelle, Clasie, van Dijk and others). They’ve a poor recent record against us but will believe that depleted and demoralised as we may be, they’re in with a shout of pulling off a result.
To absent friends
Diego Costa is such an example of sneaky evil villainry that Mousa Dembélé’s ill advised poke into his face was understandable on many levels. But to commit the act knowing that he was certain to miss the remainder of our season was unforgivable. Our record with him in the side is far better than without and with no obvious replacement he’s given Poch an unnecessary headache. During the season Alli, Mason, Bentaleb and Carroll have all been tried in the middle as one of the ‘double pivot’, all with limited success. I suspect Carroll may be given the nod at the weekend even though in Wanyama there is in the opposition midfield a specimen of man large enough to have young Tom for lunch and still have room for seconds.
Elsewhere Rose came off injured towards the end of Monday (though not so badly that he didn’t fancy a bit of afters in the tunnel apparently) and also there appear to be rumours that Alderweireld may be injured. I have no evidence for any of this.
Will he want to make us cry?
Jonathan Moss, he of Leicester v West Ham infamy, is the referee. He’d have looked at the schedule for this weekend and thought, “Great, an easy one, I’ll get no trouble from these two….”. Little did he know.
One last push. COYFS!
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