Merseyside Frustration

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Image: SpursWeb

Tell me you wouldn’t have taken the three points last Saturday noon from these two fixtures and walked quickly away. Four would have been nicer—six was never in the cards—and if I am taunting the Football Pip Gods who have another near-miss in store for Spurs, so be it. Let’s get on with Europa with the knowledge that our most difficult away fixture is done and dusted—there is not a game left on the list that this side cannot win, including the journey to Old Trafford or the visit of a suddenly listless holder side to the Lane.

Truth is our lads made too many errors to gain the point tonight. Bentaleb and Mason—for all their energy and fight—should never be confused for Scholes and Keane. Too many giveaways, too little dynamism in the middle of the field— but they are young and learning and they will have games such as tonight. All three goals featured fairly serious errors—Lloris bungled the first; Danny Rose made a needless and rash challenge on Sturridge for the second; Eric Dier simply lost Balotelli for the winner. We aren’t Mourinho’s Chelsea—not yet, maybe not ever. But the difference tonight from the three most recent games vs. the Reds is that Spurs stayed close or level the entire way. Each of their strikes was matched by one of our own—Kane, Lamela and Dembele all shining and the days of the massive blowout appear to be gone. And only at the death did fatigue finally seem to win the day—seven of those outfield players played 90+ minutes twice in four days against two of the best six sides in the league, to a solid if not remarkable effect.

Top four will come down to two separate fronts—could this team sweep through Europe and perhaps meet this same bunch from Anfield in a semi-final or even the final in Poland? Unlikely given the knockout nature of the competition but hardly impossible. Could we pip the likes of Southampton, Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal—three of them, at least—to get to the Champions League the old-fashioned way? Yes—but the away games at Old Trafford and St. Mary’s will probably tell the tale. The worry is that the fact that both competitions may proceed a pace for a while—each wounding the other—let alone the impact of a sure to be emotional v. Chelsea where Capital One Cup final 2015 tickets will be in demand. But I’ll take our chances and believe in the manager’s ability to keep the ship on course. Ben Davies will get a call soon—so will Stambouli and Fazio. And Harry Kane will keep scoring and whirling around the pitch. A small setback tonight—the lads will be the stronger for it.

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with most of your analysis, both of the match and of the fight for top 4 (there is nothing certain in fixture lists, but folk need to have a good look at Liverpool's). But:

    I felt like the team was ever so slightly jaded at Anfield, the fatigue was psychological as much as physical and was evident not only in the last 10 minutes but throughout the match,

    I have watched the first Liverpool goal several times. I think folk are being way too harsh of Lloris, he had basically got down to it and as it was about to touch his hand it bobbled off the turf (which was not 'that' good at Anfield). If that hadn't happened he would have saved it. The type of bobble that always looks worse in front of goal, and the reason we were told to keep our shots low when I was a kid. There was no way he could have anticipated that happening and even less chance of him being able to make any adjustments (as it was virtually on his hand when it bobbled up). Happens sometimes,

  2. When Mignolet kicked the ball from hand which led to the first goal he was two yards out of his area it should have been handball and a free kick to spurs.

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