This is a night for marking achievement, for celebration, for good news. So, let’s do it. We’ve made top four and can grace the new stadium with European Champions League football next season. It’s in our hands to make third and finish above Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Boy, would we have taken that at the beginning of the season – truly punching above our weight in terms of return on investment. Everyone associated with the club deserves plaudits for their work over the season, over the marathon that is the Premiership.
And yet, and yet, I was bored rigid watching that first half. OK, I’m not expecting City where they play for minutes at a time with the slow strangulation of control then flip through the gears and in seconds open up defences, blinking in disbelief. We’ve only sporadically mastered the art of changing momentum though we do have one or two players capable of it.
No, it was turgid. The limit of every player’s imagination was, having footled about a bit, to offer an increasingly predictable pass to Trippier who didn’t do much with it anyway.
They were supposed to die trying to gain fourth – it was too late for that; they were already playing like zombies. Newcastle were the only team that looked like scoring. It was so depressing.
Second half, a goal and an improvement in the display but not enough to dispel the malaise that’s settled on the team, not enough to fill one with confidence for next season. There’s work to be done over the summer.
How miserable of this correspondent. I wouldn’t rather be in the shoes of a Chelsea supporter tonight, let alone an Arsenal or even a Liverpool fan. It’s one of those seasons the United supporters should feel sheepishly guilty about, even if they don’t. So, how dare I complain – party pooper!
Lloris – 7
Man of the match for a couple of proper saves first half to keep us in it. Diving, Peter ‘the Cat’ Bonnetti style. Looked good in the boulangerie window (confirming his place in the French side for the WC).
Trippier – 5
Has become the ‘go to’ man in this Spurs side. An overly heavy burden for him to bear.
Davies – 5
Works hard, offers little.
Sanchez – 7
Best defender tonight. Still left for dead by their sub running at him with pace.
Vertonghen – 6
Sissoko – 4
Does anyone else play that game? Which Wizard of Oz character would Sissoko be and what should he look for from the wizard? Some people want to offer him two feet on the ends of the right legs and some a brain. For me, he’s the cowardly lion, and what he lacks is a heart. He always opts for the safe pass and lacks the courage to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Better opening and conclusion to the game though – also probably conscious of his biennial appearance on the world stage.
Wanyama – 5
Played OK but, without Dembele in his pomp, our central midfield has just not been progressive enough – and a tiny handful of career goals / assists puts question marks against him too.
Son – 6
Now, he has heart and courage, never stops running, offering himself, taking risks for the big reward. However, things didn’t really work out for him tonight.
Eriksen – 6
Looked the best player on the ball. Had a great early free kick tipped away. Allowed himself to become marginalised though.
Dele – 4
Nothing worked. Nothing came off. Looked much better posing on the Boohoo posters on the Underground on the way to the match.
Kane – 5
OK, took his goal really well. He scored. That was the difference. We got Champions’ League as a result. But we all know something’s wrong. He looks slower, laboured, ordinary. Did he demand to be back too soon? Ah, well, England’s problem in the immediate future.
No Moura. To be honest, I don’t know why all the fuss about wingers. We’re always looking for one every window. We buy a hatful. Never play them. The assumption is always they’re no bloody good. Who knows? They never play. What’s the point?
Lamela does come on. I like a couple of his tricks and he laid on an intelligent chance for Rose which was scorned. He also committed, yet again, an ugly, ugly foul.
The crowd did their best all night but most especially when Alderweireld came on.
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