Who would think that we would have had 36 points after 16 matches; our highest ever tally at this stage in a Premier League season? After all I’ve said (criticising the team) I still think I was right with my comments at the time. We can only judge as things stand at a particular moment when we are analysing events. I do believe it has more to do with luck, and all teams need luck, not just the players, quality of the squad etc. In fact, only twice before have we had a better total after 16 matches in a top-flight campaign (46 in 1960-61 and 37 in 1956-57 – based on three points for a win).
Another interesting point, this was the first time Spurs had started a Premier League game with neither Christian Eriksen nor Harry Kane in their starting XI since 8 March 2014 against Chelsea, a 4-0 defeat under Tim Sherwood.
The dropping of Kane and Eriksen had bought a lot of contention within our group. Their eyes were more focused on Tuesday’s match than against Leicester’s. Nevertheless, we won. But if we had not then the recriminations would have flown here there and everywhere.
All I can say was that we were focused and up for it. Every player played their part. And it showed. After 45 minutes of Leicester defending for all their worth they finally conceded in extra time of the first half, and it was a brilliant strike. A more last-gasp strike (from “Nice one…”). We felt we deserved it, the way we were playing. But we wanted more, and you could feel the hunger within the players.
The second half came, and they were eager to go. We didn’t have to wait long for the second goal. A cross from Son and Alli headed it in. We continued with our battles, while they continued defending with all their worth and even tried to sneak a goal in, as Southampton did. But they couldn’t manage it (thank god!). We had stopped their 6 matches unbeaten run. Congratulations all around.
One other point; a magnificent chorus came from the away end with the fans in full throttle. Singing old and new Tottenham songs.
The players walked off the field relieved, the management were of the same temperament. As for the fans; at least their long journey home was more pleasant. Not so for the Leicester fans, who started moving out long before the final whistle came.
Chelsea did some damage to City’s hopes by beating them 2-0. We beat Chelsea, which shows you that anything is possible. I never rule out our chances of winning the league until it is beyond hope. Another couple of defeats, while we continue on our path and we could easily narrow the 5 point gap between City and us. Liverpool will get their comeuppance eventually (they are now at the top of the Premier League). It is only a matter of time. Arsenal narrowly beat Huddersfield 1-0 to stay in 5th position. Chelsea are fourth. Both London rivals are below us.
At least we go to Spain on a high. As for Barcelona; they’ve won their group stage and really have nothing to play for, other than making sure that they don’t get any injuries. We will put out a full and robust squad. What will define Pochettino’s moment will be his tactical manoeuvring and substitutions (which had let him down in the past). I believe we could get a draw. Don’t forget that we are at the magnificent Nou Camp. Not many clubs have walked away with a victory from there, more so in the Champions League.
Christmas is going to be one hectic football rush. After that game, we come back to Wembley to face Burnley, our last home game before Christmas. But not the last game, that will come against Everton away. Then we can settle down to Christmas dinner, pudding and being bloated and then it all starts all over again with a home match against Bournemouth on Boxing day. That will be followed by a trip to Cardiff and then the year ends.
Did you know that in the old days – before the Second World War – all clubs played football on Christmas morning? Yes, true… could you imagine fans getting up on Christmas day, wishing their family a happy Christmas… little Tommy looking on, his dad or mum gazes back, smiles and says, “Priorities are priorities, I am off to watch Spurs plays…” He or she walks out leaving his or her family dazed, and with tears in their eyes. Then again he or she might say, your Christmas present today is a trip to see Father Daddy Christmas at Spurs… bewildered and a few days later the divorce papers come through the door (would you believe it, unreasonable behaviour? Unreasonable behaviour would be taking the family to see Arsenal or Chelsea… not Spurs… Some people just don’t get it…).
But no football on Christmas day, in a modern society that comes on Boxing day and New Year’s day when everybody is full and tired and then probably will have to travel miles for their beloved clubs. That is football for you. Let us get behind Spurs and hope they make the next stage of the Champions League knock-out competition.
Have something to tell us about this article?