But for a slightly mistimed sliding effort early in the game, it would have been four. A slightly miscalculated chip could have made it five. If Dele had been more unselfish late on a four-on-two Spurs attack (where “OOOO” was the fifth Spur—the trailer) it could easily have been six. If Son had won a penalty on a challenge not all that different from the one awarded to Dele v Burnley it might have been seven.
And the thing is—typing all that isn’t even all that remarkable any more. An afterthought four years ago wondering if he had a future with our club, or any Premiership club, is now one of the 10 (5? 4?) best players in the world. And yet for most simple-minded foolish men who pass for football commentators, the only topic is “what happens when the big clubs come calling”. Hello? He’s at a big club. Neil Ashton reported today on NBCSN that the new Kane contract, with goal incentives (do you think his agent would ever turn up his nose at those sweeteners?), will make him one of the highest paid players in the league. In other words, well north of 250K quid a season. Why leave with so much in front of him? Why leave when on their best day—and we have seen several already this year, despite the spottiness—Spurs can beat anyone—in England and on the continent? Why leave when the endorsement deals will be queuing up outside his door?
Messi is better–overall. Ronaldo has been better. Neymar should be better. But as pure goal scorers? Kane pips them, I think. His instincts for space, his work rate, his ability to use both feet, his imagination take him above all the rest. He’s not only one of our own, he’s sui generis.
As for the rest—can we be happy Hugo chose this game to get a bit daft? It warms the holiday heart to see the real Danny Rose. His effort set up the first goal and he was simply everywhere and anywhere. No January transfer, please. Dele and Son both shone. Sanchez did as well as he could before the game got so frightfully open that the Saints would have chances. Vertonghen gravitated between horrendous mistakes (to open each half) and sublime recovery, marking and ball-handling. And Serge Aurier reminded us throughout that while he might not be the overall package that Kyle Walker was, he’s not far off and he does some things with the ball Walker could never do.
This is a Top Four club if it stays reasonably healthy and about to welcome Wanyama and then, in a month’s time, Alderweireld back. Just in time for Juve. The team we saw today can beat anybody. Let’s hope there’s a home-and-home with a certain Spanish team on the spring horizon.
Have something to tell us about this article?