We started off at the new stadium with a bang, now the whimper has set in. West Ham were the first team to put a dent in our amour at our new stadium (The Hammers also became the first team to defeat Arsenal at their new ground as well). But that probably had more to do with all eyes on Tuesday (Ajax), but those eyes turned inwards, and Ajax inflicted our second home defeat. In the league, we’ve been lucky as Arsenal, Chelsea and United have been throwing wobblies the same time as we have. This time around, we’ve got nobody to fall back on (as we did in the league), so we will have to suck it up and move on and prepare for the return encounter.
The good news is that they weren’t as brilliant as some commentators have made them out to be. Another bit of good news was that Ajax only managed to score one, if we score at their ground then we will even things up. An extra goal on top of that will put us in charge. Sounds easy, and it can be, providing we turn up fully committed.
We didn’t lack in effort on what many regarded as the biggest night in our history, a first Champions League semi-final staged in our magnificent new stadium. It was quality and threat that was missing, with us powerless to compensate for the harmful suspension of Son and the injury to top goalscorer Kane.
Before the kick off the fans were in full spirit, with flag waving and singing the Spurs songs. It all started off so positively.
The weight fell on to Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, along with Lucas Moura, but they were simply unable to trouble Ajax on a night of pure frustration for Pochettino, our players and the supporters who packed our arena and backed our team superbly. You couldn’t ask for more (from the fans). We also missed the midfield industry of Winks and were hit further by the loss of Vertonghen; who got a heavy blow to the head. Hopefully, his injuries will be short term. A couple of days rest, and he should be up and running (hopefully).
There is still all to play for and if our Champions League run to the last four has proved anything, it is that we must never be discounted.
Even though they scored after 15 minutes and we showed signs of being overwhelmed, we quickly dusted ourselves off and fought back. Overall we were second best and lacked stamina. We will need to go to a higher gear if we want to see our dream fulfilled. I believe we can do it and the players are confident. We will, nevertheless, need to produce much better if our goal of advancing to the Champions League final in Madrid is to be realised.
Now we must dust ourselves down and prepare for Saturday’s game at Bournemouth. If we win, and we should win, we would have secured our place for next season’s Champions League competition. Pochettino must not take this game for granted. After the Bournemouth match, we then face Everton in the league, our last league game of the season, and they are much improved since we thrashed them over the Christmas period. We can’t afford to put all our eggs in the European basket. We need to make sure of Champions League football, and that can only be achieved by beating Bournemouth. Hoping that Chelsea, United and Arsenal continually fall on their swords would be madness.
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