The goal was a burst of brilliance. Erik Lamela corralled the ball in our end and the Argentine released it nicely to Christian Eriksen. The Dane instantly found Son Heung-Min in stride to his left. The Korean barely paused despite being surrounded by three defenders and launched the type of hard low strike our other forwards have rarely contributed in these first half-dozen games. Their keeper couldn’t stop it and there was the result. Lloris and woodwork combined to deny Palace’s best opportunities and though it was hard to discern in the White Hart Lane mist, I believe I glimpsed a bus in those last fifteen minutes.
I never quite understood why so many pundits fancied Pardew’s charges to win this one. Superficially, of course, the province of punditry, you could see it: their away form has been superb and our home form has not. But the actual talent comparison plus the ebb and flow of a season were both convincing reasons to me why what happened would happen. Spurs would control the action and earn the three points.
And so we have won the first—and easiest—half of the quartet of consecutive home fixtures that will define this season’s early phase. Now we face two angry sides—the first bubbling over the crimes committed by Diego Costa and Mike Dean in West London yesterday; the second falling quickly back to earth with another perplexing European defeat followed by a poor first half performance and frustrated second to the Hammers. Recent form would give Spurs better odds in the Cup tie and warn of the danger of a crushing defeat to City in the league game. But this season may defy those past results—without David Silva City are not the same and a front line of Eriksen, Lamela and Son behind Kane may go toe-to-toe with the Blue Mooners better than any Spurs combination since Bale left for Spain. Our recent home record in NLDs has been superb, but this is a strange midweek game I simply don’t feel as secure about.
One more win in either game would be nice, but regardless we are starting to see the virtue of this young and talented group. The back four are more stable than at any point since AVB’s first season—the two fullbacks were so solid today I simply can’t remember an egregious error (Whereas Danny Rose committed a bushel full of them on Thursday night). And the two Belgian Waffles in the middle are meshing better with every passing week. Dier is our most consistent asset; Alli offers youthful exuberance if not yet finishing power; at least Lamela mixes continual effort and a few moments of purpose with all the mishits, failed dribbles and strange passes.
My only gripe with Kane is not the missed header or the obvious pressing to get off the goalless streak. The lad works hard and lays off the ball well and there are plenty of strikers in this league who do neither. It is the persistent offside forays—usually unnecessary. If he hadn’t poked his head forward two feet today, Davies would have scored the winner several minutes before Son. Somebody—and I suspect they have already—needs to sit him down in the film room and catalogue all the offside violations and show him that very few were worth the gamble.
Things could be worse (and might be in seven days time!)—the league is wide open and we aren’t conceding goals even if we can’t score them either. If a young side can master that half of the game, the inventiveness and clinical skill will come
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