There never was much doubt. Of course the score line should have read two or three for Spurs at halftime, and there was a brief spurt before Chadli’s clincher where Colchester found their legs and began to hint at the goal (plus a strike of woodwork) that would ultimately come.
But amidst all that were Bentaleb off the post, Chadli off the bar, two missed Kane opportunities, perplexing (per usual) Lamela failures in open situations, until Dier’s freakish deflection and Chadli’s simple header for his brace clinched the expected outcome.
Spurs had class and a side battling to remain in League One did not. The selection was interesting: in the wake of Vertonghen’s ligament injury, Pochettino elected to rest his erstwhile Belgian partner as well as his two fastest halfbacks for the necessary three pointers this week vs Norwich and Watford. Up front he decided not to sit either Eriksen or Kane, but rather the more frail but now weathier Dembele and the wunderkind Alli. Whether those 60+ minutes for two of his three most vital attacking charges come back to bite at Carrow Road will be discovered soon enough. I suspect the manager is simply doing what we would do in his position—play most of the hot hands and keep advancing in all three competitions and pray that more injuries can be avoided.
Will Dembele Deux be inserted straightaway into the first team, or loaned back to Fulham? Can’t imagine Levy would allow the latter—with N’Jie still probably a month away—at least– from his return, and a crowded fixture list including huge games at the Etihad and in Florence later next month, Pochettino must have some relief for Kane and Eriksen.
It is perhaps not so strange in this wonderfully weird season that when April and May come calling, Spurs could conceivably be more willing to rest their top players in league games, then in either of their cup competitions. One can imagine a situation by late April where the title is out of reach, but Top Four position has been secured—would the difference between an extra layer of playoff games to reach Group Stage in the Champions League be more vital than a possible trip to Wembley or a march toward a Europa League title? We shall see. As it is, Norwich and Watford beckon. And should we take all six points, the game vs City—site of such awful results in recent years—looms as the next best test of this club’s 2015-16 ambition.
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