It was a day when we saw a transformation before our very eyes: the frog turned into a butterfly, or something. We can believe again and, perhaps more importantly, the players can.
It was a day when many probably had their attention on the following day’s Manchester derby. Empty seats at Wembley suggested there was some Christmas shopping going on in the hope of booking a Sunday sofa seat in front of the telly.
Let’s face it, we were striving for supremacy over Watford and Burnley in the hope we didn’t slide into a zone where we would be hacking it out with the trio of south coast pretenders and Stoke themselves.
Last thing I begged the boss: ‘I really hope they play well – I hate slagging off the boys’. Well, the first twenty minutes, we were shite. Cold turkey before Christmas, and I don’t mean the sort you get on a plate.
What did Stoke bring to the party? Left over quiche that tastes of warm water. After half time, the boys had it for breakfast – well, we’ve all done it – two goals in less than two minutes.
Five goals, fluency, movement, speed of thought and implementation. What a relief!
Lloris – 6
One brilliant save. Came too far for a corner which he had no chance of reaching and Shawcross scored.
Dier – 7
Almost no panics with him in possession. Good game.
Vertonghen – 8
Trademark last ditch tackle on Crouch and an air shot. Classy as ever though.
Trippier – 7
Made the single incisive pass of the first twenty minutes. Played well thereafter without quite living up to this early billing.
Davies – 6
Played well enough.
Winks – 8
Always so bright, has an unduly positive influence for a new boy – he picks up the tempo.
Dembele – 7
First half, I was struggling with Moussa. He gave every appearance of being the most powerful piece of machinery on the factory floor – but what did he actually produce? He benefitted more than most as the game wore on and looked almost imperious once more towards the end.
Eriksen – 8
Another player to create and benefit from the second half uplift. Eventually, the passes were opening up space. Beautifully taken goal and at least one half assist.
Alli – 6
I just can’t quite add to the stream of opprobrium that currently descends on him. Admittedly, almost nothing he tries comes off – and I mean nothing. However, he tries things, and when Spurs look at their worst, they play the percentages and don’t try things and don’t look threatening. We need a Dele who wants to try a run, a flick, a piece of impudence, not one that shrugs his shoulders in frustration. A wonderfully weighted assist for Son’s goal proves he still has the extra ingredient. The arrival of Lamela and the persistent quality of Son (especially when we revert to three centre backs) ensures he will face stiff competition for his place. And maybe he needs that?
Son – 9
My Man of the Match. Quick footed, bright, eager, goal orientated, he looked our only hope early on. His cross produced the own goal from Shawcross on twenty minutes and he might have had three such assists early on as it appeared he might get more help from hapless Stoke defenders than his own team mates. Took his goal well.
Kane – 8
Another transformative display. Early doors, missed three chances that were gifts (one, an off-side header). Suddenly, not an Easter Island god but just an actual bloke who happens to be really, really good at football. Then, finally, another simple chance and he rose … well, like an Easter Island god come to life and powered home the header. Another precision strike followed thereafter. Can’t argue with that!
Sissoko and Llorente came on and took part in some of the brightest football Spurs played but the notable appearance was that of Lamela. And that was significant. It wasn’t just nostalgia. He looked a real and constant threat and could so easily have scored. If he was fully fit next game – and Son is undroppable – would you play Dele or Eric?
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