It took barely an hour for this team to win us all back, in the strangest of fashions, of course. Because that’s Tottenham.
It might be fitting that the victory that just might have ended, or at least weakened, the crisis which had seemed to be growing at N17 came against Poch’s old club. I seriously doubted whether we could ever hold them out for over an hour after Serge’s sendoff and Hugo’s howler. Me of little faith. What do we say to Death? Not today.
The list of heroes begins with the captain. What must have been going through his mind in a week when he welcomed a child to the world, undoubtedly was sleep-deprived, and having seen Aurier’s madness, was shocked to have doubled down without a howler of a mistake. At least some of the other keepers who can’t play from the back actually made a pass—Lloris simply turned, twisted and said to Danny ings “here, you take it”. And from then on he was immaculate, with two world class, season-saving saves on Ward-Prowse and Yoshida and the growing realization to all of us that nothing was going to get past him on this day. A truly inspiring performance.
Let me go to Eriksen. He is a difficult subject, and nobody is particularly happy with him. But he was there with the pass to Kane for the winner, and although he still seems a pale shadow of the man who helped ignite our attack 2-3 years ago, he put it 90 minutes of sheer effort and I will tip my cap to him. Now Sissoko—contract signed- place in our hearts secure forever. The term warrior was invented for him—he may not have had all the positioning down at right back, but his effort and will are simply astounding. Long may he wave. Son was on fire this match—his pass set up Ndembele for the first goal, and he also played a part in the winner. He got knackered—a stupid foul gave Ward-Prowse the chance for the free kick that almost sunk us, but it was still a fine showing. Kane was heart, soul and grit the whole game—scored one, almost two others, a true leader on the pitch. Let’s hope the ankles don’t prevent him from a full shift against Bayern on Tuesday.
Harry Winks and the three defenders who played the entire game were resolute—Danny’s emotion was obvious. When he and Lamela were both on the left wing—and with Sissoko on the right—I simply stopped thinking the Saints could score. The Belgians were terrific. And hello Eric Dier! Nice cameo. Even Wanyama didn’t do anything to cost us. And finally Tanguy who is Someguy, isn’t he? An extraordinary goal and a gutty and consistently strong 80+ minutes. This man will be an anchor for years to come. In fact, the three Frenchmen yesterday—our Musketeers—were an incredible trio of anchors. They do represent the World Cup champions, after all. Our English and Belgian lads should take not.
As for Aurier I thought the second yellow was harsh, but his rashness put him at the mercy of the referee, and I wish I could say he’ll learn from this—but it seems he never does. Right back continues to be an issue—we have three, but I’m not sure we have one, if you get the drift. But that’s tomorrow’s problem. No, we still haven’t won an away game. Yes, we are still in some jeopardy of not getting out of Group Stage. Yes, the only real trophy we may have to play for doesn’t even kick off until January. Yes, there are some contract headaches still at work. But I think yesterday meant something. I think they came together as a team. It took a foolish pair of fouls from one player—and an all-time howler from another. But together those setbacks caused the players to dig deep. Maybe Poch lit the fire at halftime. Or maybe it’s all not been as dire as some might think (and I count myself as one of the doomsayers).
Raise a pint to the Warriors of Tottenham Hotspur. They earned the shirt yesterday. Big time.
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