We got the three points on a night when all our rivals for Top Four were also winning, by hook (United) or crook (Chelsea) or just plain superiority (Liverpool and Arsenal). Nacer Chadli converted a terrific volley, and Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason produced assured finishes of the type of attacking football which had been sorely missing since the North London Derby. Good Christian Eriksen was back; and Hugo bottled one but of course was called to rescue the win at the death because Spurs are… well, Spurs, and how could we actually have a sweat-free finish? It’s not in our DNA. Gylfi almost scored, then dummied an assist (sort of), then did score, because he just had to—wouldn’t be right not to. And we all hope and pray that Bafetimbi Gomis had nothing but a fainting incident and will be back flying for the Swans soon.
I buried the lede. Danny Rose had his best game as a Lilywhite in—well, forever. Tonight he earned Woody Allen’s sobriquet—Broadway Danny Rose, West End Danny Rose, Hollywood Danny Rose—Planet Earth’s Danny Rose. He was the best player on the pitch on a night when three others scored and several other Spurs came close. His perfect cross enabled Chadli to open the scoring. His spurts down the left wing were effective and unceasing. And there was hardly a moment when he played himself out of position or failed to recover and defend the wing after the attack fizzled. He was certain in our zone and in our box. He was a brilliant two-way player—the type that Baines, Zabaleta or Ashley Cole back in the day often are/were—but you know what is more surprising—he was, on this night, better than them—better than the best.
It was a revelatory performance by a player that was blameless on both Swansea goals (no coincidence, I’m afraid, that the Swans scored once and almost equalized after Poch took him out) and precise in his football for 75 minutes. If Roy Hodgson noticed and if Rose can continue to feature even 80% of his skill at the Lane tonight, a promotion to England’s first team will be in the cards soon. Ben Davies almost certainly noticed and now, with all European Cup fixtures consigned to the past, must be content with a spot on the bench for the next ten weeks. I am not questioning Pochettino’s squad selection—we lost to Fiorentina and Chelsea fair and square—but if this Danny Rose had played in Italy, I would expect Spurs to still be alive in that competition.
It is showings like Rose’s tonight that make me believe we are closer to cracking the code and besting Arsenal or Liverpool or even the Manchester clubs for an entire season, not an occasional fixture. Hats off, Danny— if Woody Allen’s famous comment that 80% of life is just showing up, tonight you were the extra 20%. And then some.
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