After travelling with Spurs through Asia and Europe (and gaining a trophy on the way, the team, not me) we finally arrived back in England and to a Premier League new season (noticed I quickly passed over our friendly against Milan, actually not even mentioning it… apart from now… as I find these matches are just runarounds or tryouts for young hopefuls). So, where were we? Oh, yes, a matter of a season starter. But not before we, the fans, paid a tribute to Justin Edinburgh (who died suddenly in June). We gave him a roaring round of applause and then to the match. Justine was a great fan favourite. Gone, but will always be in our hearts… especially those that saw him play.
Before the kick-off, displaying their wares was Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon. Both got a massive ovation before disappearing down the tunnel to watch their future teammates perform. Also watching from the stands were Vertonghen, Alli, Son and Foyth. Either injured, left out or suspended.
This is the season that Pochettino needs to win silverware, if not, he should seriously look at his situation. Maybe a fresh face could improve where he had failed (if failed)… but hopefully, that is a long way off or not at all.
With all the injuries I thought the team was strong, or at least strong enough to cope with newly-promoted Villa.
Anyway, for long periods, our opponents looked set to mark their return to the Premier League with a scalp, ours! In the end, the team that finished fifth in the Championship table last season were handed a souvenir from the realities of Premier League life, a 3-1 defeat. Ironically, we only managed one shot on target in the first half, but by the end of the 90 minutes, we had produced 31 efforts in total – 10 of which were blocked as Villa defended gallantly for long spells. Villa quickly made up for the lost time by scoring with their first shot to stun our roaring crowd (at least up to that point). McGinn kept his cool to slot past Lloris after Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose failed to get a challenge in on the Scottish midfielder.
Their new signing Trezeguet created space for an opening but could not finish while Grealish also had a chance, before we turned the game on its head in the closing stages. Goals from Ndombele and Kane cruelly smashed their Premier return into the green, green grass of our new stadium. They walked away, punch drunk, as any team should do when leaving our stadium.
A hair raising first half, but we soon settled down as a team that means business. And that business will be to win silverware and whatever else we can put into our basket.
Next up are those that are favoured to capture the title again and who showed West Ham what living in the Premier League is all about, more so if you are just one of the minnows that hold the heads above the waterline of those that want to challenge for glories. West Ham were thrashed 5-0 my last season’s triple winners (League, FA & League cup).
The starting games of this season were just warm-ups for the big guns to flex their muscles against each other. That is for the likes of us, Liverpool and City competing against each other. United, Arsenal and Chelsea, who have deteriorated of late, and hopefully continue deteriorating (Chelsea are there because of not being able to purchase in the transfer window and for putting a spotty-nosed-child in charge of their team), are not included with the big guns (and rightly-so!).
Can we challenge for the title? Of course we can. Not only did we have quality, but the three new purchases will add to what we’ve already got. It is a three-horse race. And I think there is a duck among the thoroughbreds, and it ain’t us.
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