This time last year we were in the middle of the great run our final position was built on, several of the wins in that sequence, notably those at Fulham and Blackburn were of the same nature as this victory, an early goal or two and swamping of the opposition in the first half followed by an almost total caving in in the second.
Circumstances meant that I had to rely on BBC Radio London for coverage of this one and such was the contrast between the first and second half I actually turned off the commentary soon after Rodriguez “delivered Saints a lifeline”. The commentator and summariser had just agreed that Spurs were “complacent” and had come out after half-time “thinking that the job was done”. That was enough for me as thoughts of Norwich, Panathinaikos and the Baggies came to mind – buoyed by a revived home crowd the inevitable Southampton equaliser and perhaps winner were as predictable as Villas-Boas central midfield based defensive substitution. I turned back on with seven minutes to go to hear “Spurs are lucky to still be leading” so, as the laws of superstition dictates switched off again and, thanks to my quick work with the on/off button, we held on.
Take a look through your half full glass and you’ll see a side that wins when not at its best, a hallmark of champions as we’re often told. Pick up that half empty glass though and you’ll see an inability to subdue a cowed opposition or play possession and slow the game’s tempo when required. Trips to Southampton have rarely been fun in my Spurs-watching time so any win should be viewed as good one, those who made the trip and who witnessed the second half near capitulation in person might view it differently.
Five wins and two draws in nine games, all (effectively) achieved minus Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Adebayor, Parker and Lloris, a group of players that will massively improve the strength and options when they return. Worryingly Dembélé too was missing once more from this one. The extent of his injury is a mystery and a concern.
Wigan at WHL next week and then Man City and the Gooners both away from home. If we’re still averaging close to two points a game by the end of November then we should be very happy with the way things are going.
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