Opinion: That was the week that was

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Image: SpursWeb

Does anybody remember – if they are old enough – a hit TV show from the sixties (satirical) ‘That was the Week That was’? Well, that is what it felt like right up to Aurier being sent off and them equalising. We reasoned that we were in some satirical twilight time novel. Of course, from the start of the season, after we get to the final, we thought this was going to be our year. Then one by one the skittles were being knocked down. The game against Southampton, we thought, somebody had put a bomb under the skittles. What the…!

Can it get any worse?

Then the sun started to come out (metaphorically speaking, even though the sun was actually out) and the crowd roared. They fought like possessed demons (the players, not the crowd). A one-man-deficit would have destroyed a weaker side, but to be fair the victorias and 10 men team were fortunate to be up against a mediocre Southampton side.

Having made a slow start this season, this was a welcome victory for us, as we had started the day closer to the bottom three than the top two. After dropping 10 points from our previous six games, we were relieved to have returned to our winning ways (of course we will have to go back a bit to remember them) even if it was a far from convincing performance.

Our French goalkeeper Lloris had been forced to save from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before France midfielder Ndombele lashed home his second goal since joining from Lyon in July (a star in the making).

Our season has been anything but straightforward and, having developed a nasty habit of throwing away leads, we once again gifted our adversaries a way back at our Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Aurier’s needless lunge on Bertrand as the Southampton player charged forward, resulting in a second yellow card for the Ivory Coast defender, lifted Southampton’s hopes – and eight minutes later they were level. You could hear the gasps from the crowd, as we thought Deja-vu all over again.

Lloris, back in the side after missing the Leicester defeat to be with his wife, as she gave birth to a baby (what else would it be? Penguin? Don’t be ridiculous), was so embarrassed after losing possession inside his own six-yard area to Ings, who then managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Yet, and remembering who we are, we managed to get ourselves back in front, Kane finishing from 12 yards after a sweeping move involving the imposing Son Heung-min and Eriksen, whose pass allowed ‘One of our own’ to score his 10th goal of the season for club and country.

Eriksen keeps cool to motivate Spurs

This was a big day for Eriksen, who started this month by being linked with a move away from Tottenham before the European transfer deadline.

He ended it by marking his recall to Pochettino’s team, starting line-up with a busy performance which he capped by providing the assist for the winning goal.

With his contract set to expire next summer, the Denmark midfielder continues to be linked with a move away after six years at the club. Let us hope that Vertoghen supports his stay at the club. Maybe even Dele Alli will raise a glass or two, if he stays.

Yet while Aurier was sent off and Lloris committed a horrible mistake, Eriksen kept a cool head as he played a significant part in helping to put our season back on track.

With the game goalless, his free-kick took a deflection and resulted in a chance for Kane, who slipped as he attempted to volley home from close range.

Saints fail to capitalise after Aurier dismissal

Southampton have found playing away from home a much more comfortable experience than performing at St Mary’s this season, but not at the Tottenham stadium though.

Southampton arrived in north London seeking a fifth straight league and cup away win – and for spells they looked like they might extend that run.

Despite losing Portugal defender Cedric Soares in the warm-up, which resulted in Jannik Vestergaard being promoted from the substitutes bench, they took the game to us, until we showed them who was Kings of White Hart Lane.

Man of the match – Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

Have we turned the corner? Next up will be the Germans in the Champions League (Bayern Munich). We can do it, we should do it and if we do, do it, then the fireworks will be ablaze at the end of the game, above and within the stadium. After that, Brighton away.

Some stats for you

We have won eight of our past nine Premier League home games against Southampton, losing the other in May 2016.

We have won a Premier League game when having a player sent off for the first time since September 2017 against West Ham.

Southampton had 58.8% possession against us, the most by a non ‘big six’ side in an away league game against them since Everton in November 2014 (61.4%).

Since the start of last season, Southampton have both scored, and conceded goals in 29 different Premier League games – only Arsenal (31) have done so in more.

Harry Kane scored in his sixth consecutive Premier League appearance against Southampton – only Robin van Persie against Stoke (eight), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink against West Ham (seven) and Romelu Lukaku against West Ham (7) have had longer scoring streaks against an opponent in the competition.

Tanguy Ndombele has scored more goals in his first five Premier League appearances for us (two) than he managed in 69 Ligue 1 appearances for Amiens and Lyon combined (one).

Serge Aurier became the first Tottenham player to be sent off in a Premier League home match since Kyle Naughton against Stoke in November 2014.

So, there you have the statistics, the game, and now we must look forward to – hopefully – significant challenges and rewards ahead… this will be the season (said every year, and every year meant, but one of these years will become a reality).

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