There Are No Moral Victories

3
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Zero points are zero points. It was Spurs’ best performance since the City game. They deserved at least a draw. With a healthy Alderweireld and an eligible Rose, not only do they almost certainly not lose, they could easily have won. The effort was there until the very end—the quality of the team evident to all.

But little things win titles, and little things cost slots in the Champions League. The finishing wasn’t there after Eriksen’s sublime effort in the 11th minute—despite plenty of opportunities. The entire team started to coast with a couple of minutes left in the first half. Dier appeared most culpable for not closing down Pedro but really it was a teamwide effort and an almost inevitable outcome given Chelsea’s quality. The winner placed Kevin Wimmer into a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation—if anything the bigger fault lay with Dier and Walker for allowing Costa and Co to get free to find Moses.

In the second half- in the final 15 minutes or so—Spurs at least lifted themselves off the mat and pressed hard. Kane, Wanyama, and Dembele were particularly active—Nkoudou got free a couple of times even if he disappointed with his service in the end. I can’t really make this a harsh column. This was probably one of the two or three toughest games to win or even draw on the schedule—the fact that it was our first defeat is no surprise. Now Poch must use health and the more relaxed Europa schedule (assuming we do qualify with a win or draw against CSKA) to start to narrow the gap between Spurs and the top four. Of course it won’t be easy, but this game puts to rest any notion that we are not good enough. We are. Whether that quality is reflected in the final table is up to the manager and the players.

As to the raging debate about the Monaco selection, of course none of it worked. But if Vertonghen and Walker play vs Monaco a) there’s no guarantee of a better result, and a pretty strong chance it would only have been a draw that probably would still leave Spurs out of luck, and b) there’s every reason to believe the chances of a result today would have dropped. So let’s stop finger-pointing and get on with it. The margin of error has dropped a lot—but a strong run between now and New Year’s will make us forget the past six weeks pretty quickly.

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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. The second half wast of a free kick taken to quickly leading to The opposition 2 goal they still give the ball away to easily and have not the experience as the opponents they played today they desperately need a player who nose were the onion bag is and is hungry for goals

  2. We aren't good enough though are we.
    You have to be consistently good for the entire 90 minutes plus stoppages, we weren't. We looked a great team UNTIL we either went to sleep or players didn't do their job and at those points we looked like a mid table mob.
    It looks like the old problems that Poch supposedly eradicated are starting to sneak back in, starting poorly, going to sleep, not pressing, lack of general effort, mental fragility etc…. all old, well acknowledged Spurs traits/problems, all are slowly seeping back in to the team.
    Poch needs to get a hold of this before it spirals out of control and Levy starts looking for a new manager! Don't say that there's no way that Levy would do that because you'd be lying to yourself and me if you made that claim, we all know that he is capable of it and worse, let's just hope that he doesn't this time!

  3. They wouldn't believe they could win at the bridge if Chelsea fielded seven players instead of eleven. The first half was okay but the game lasts 90 minutes and we are frail in every department. Chelsea only had to play at 50 per cent to win this game and that says it all. We got lucky last week against the spammers last week and were shown up here as we always are at the bridge.

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