Yes, Spurs were the better side and on many occasions would have won this game. Any one of Kane, Eriksen, Alli, Dembele or Dier could have scored the second—and game killer—at various points in both halves. But to be fair Olivier Giroud had three unobstructed headers, one of which hit the bar and the other two scooted just wide. The point is less that disappointment over one point rather than three—the point is now we are playing the best in this league on equal terms, or better.
We keep repeating the virtues of this back four—Walker got caught just the once and Lloris bungled the save—but other than that one miscue, it was a typically accomplished performance for this season. Gone are the days when Chelsea, City, Liverpool or Arsenal shredded Spurs defence.
Vertonghen’s Dutch-French contretemps vis-à-vis Giroud spoke volumes—these Spurs don’t back down.
More revealing was the command in midfield—we’ve all sung the praises of the gritty Dier. Lamela and Eriksen each run back to defend more than at any point in their two+ years at the Lane; Dembele simply floats by that first pressing attacker and turns every ball, it seems, into a Spurs thrust forward. And the likes of Son and N’Jie have barely scratched the surface of their potential impact.
But the biggest story/most impressive development of all is Delle Alli. How many times today did he insert himself into an Arsenal possession and win the ball back, or keep pressing when others would have surrendered the ball to prolong a Spurs offensive, or did he coolly gain possession and make the right decision with the ball? As good as Mason and Bentaleb seemed to be last season, the pairing of Dier and Alli are even better. Watching them play begins to conjure visions not only of Champions League play, but of trophies—domestic and otherwise.
The draw instead of win changes nothing about the challenge ahead— beat the Hammers in two weeks’ time and then Chelsea a week later—both at the Lane– and Spurs will become the heavy favorite to finish ahead of all but the supposed Top Three (let’s let Leicester enjoy their perch a while more—the schedule begins to come down on them like bricks in late November), and may even be fancied to beat at least one of those sides.
Is there any side playing better right now in England? The answer is both exhilarating and frightening. And obvious……. COYS.
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