I’m not going to bury the lede. The first was the type of goal only he scores for this team. The second was a stupendous volley from his other foot. The third was a bit of very good fortune. And the fourth was a beautiful gift to a teammate in need. He almost got his own fourth from a header and risked injury to boot—but I for one didn’t question Poch. The engine has to run. If there is one reason other than the manager why this team is a cut above most, and perhaps all, of the others in recent years, it is this very special, very Londonish, very gifted player. We chant it—but it’s rwal. And I suspect we’ll be saying it for many more years to come.
As to the rest, it was good for Dele to get a goal and he was in fine mettle as was Eriksen in the formation each of our attacking three obviously enjoy playing best. Kyle was dynamic per usual—think of the goals he would score if he could only finish—but I thought Ben Davies had his best game in a long while but for one second half dip involving a giveaway and a weak headed attempt to clear the box. But generally he was forceful, quick and strong from the left— were going to need it as Rose appears to be sidelined for another month.
Wanyama was regal and also deft today—one of his best games. And for the back two, one can only hope that Toby’s groin pull isn’t serious; Jan’s removal seemed more precautionary than worrisome. Eric Dier redeemed himself some with very assured defending and even a couple of serious attacking thrusts. Wimmer was not tested in his cameo but seemed relaxed and confident for a change.
The virtue of the Gent debacle is apparent. The league comes first and the trophy could come in what was always the likeliest venue—a domestic competition where, for once, we’ve had favorable draws and do not have to play multiple legs. Or at least we can hope the Den won’t await us after the next. The two Manchester sides, deep as they are, will be the sides most distracted over the run-in; Liverpool and Arsenal have been the sides most likely to drop points in unlikely moments—if even one of them do it again, we may have the cushion needed to finish top four.
Everton next week is the toughest game other than potential London or Manchester showdowns at Wembley on the fixture list until deep into April. Poch knows his squad and he simply needs to demand and produce consistent quality from his charges. He has signaled that this is a slow burn—Spurs’ revival—and of course he is right. We have a decent chance for a trophy this year, a better chance to repeat a Top four finish. Progress is enough for now.
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