I’m going to leave out all the psychodrama. No contract discussion. No girlfriends. No black eyes. No Big Brother. Let’s just judge what we actually watch—and have been watching for nearly 10 months now—on the pitch every week.
Spurs are a mid-table side—probably lower mid-table to be perfectly accurate—playing like one. They concede early goals. They make stupid mistakes. Their defence is slow and weak. Their attack is slow and disjointed. Their midfield is slow and only occasionally proactive. Nothing in the 90 minutes today at our mirage of a new stadium spoke of quality.
Did we play better in the final 20 minutes staring a defeat to the team bottom in the table? Sure—that’s what mediocre teams do. Were we lucky on the goal? Yes. Lucky not to concede a killer penalty before half time? Probably. Did we outplay Watford? In no sense of the word. They took the lead, and then did as teams do playing away—sat back and dared us to beat them. But for an unfortunate collision between their goalkeeper and a defender, it would have been enough to gain them all three points.
So now that we know what we’ve got, the urgency about changing it recedes a little. I don’t think—can’t be totally sure, of course—that we will find ourselves in a relegation fight.
Obviously we have very little hope of Top Four and we may learn in the next two weeks no chance of advancement in Europe. The sooner Poch—or whoever is the manager—can make the shift away from the deadwood, the better. Ndombele, Lo Celso, Sessegnon, Foyth and Walker-Peters must begin playing all the time. The two dead on their feet Belgians have to be moved away from starting roles. God love Sissoko but he doesn’t help us score goals. Dele awakened at the end today, enough to give him more chances.
I am perfectly content with Eriksen sitting on the bench until January—and then we can hope to move him somewhere. Rose and Aurier were the principal threats—neither could produce that one winning ball—and what does that say? Winks distributes but can’t or won’t go forward. Kane, Lucas and Dele had little idea how to play with one another.
It will be a season the likes of which we haven’t seen in North London in more than a decade. Frustrating. Disappointing. Offering little hope for better times ahead. Kane is receding before our very eyes—letting him leave if he can get a big deal probably makes sense in the summer.
It will take multiple transfer windows to reform this team—and I seriously doubt that the manager has the patience to stick around and try. Of course he has lost his way—but he’s not alone. They are all shrinking and have been since January but for a few magical exceptions. But the fairy dust has blown away. All that is left is what you saw today. Mostly average players playing as average players do. Nothing special. Nothing hopeful. They’re not magic, you know.
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