Bournemouth, as they say, scored too soon.
After the late jolt in Belgium, an early strike against was just what this Spurs side needed to “spur” them on to a much-deserved and needed result. The outcome was clearly a result of the manager’s tough words on and since Thursday. And “OOOO” is now, at last, clear of the black cloud that has been hanging directly over his blond head—a hat trick that shouts of possibility.
As does the entire season now. The crack-up at Stamford Bridge shows no sign of abating. Whether Jose wants out, as every action of his (and people should not forget that his father is ailing) suggests, or Roman wants him out, it is highly likely that a move will ensue. Whether it occurs in time for the Blues to make a serious run at Top Four is an open question.
And if they can’t, and one can safely assume that the two Mancunian side plus our North London rivals are the pick of the league, it leaves Spurs in a small group with a realistic chance at that fourth Champions League place.
Liverpool are still finding themselves under a new manager and with continuing injury woes. Klopp’s quality is unquestioned—whether his players can match his skill is the issue. The Hammers are having a magical final season at the Boleyn ground—each week it seems as if everything that can go right does, and they avoid the bad bounce, the dodgy call, the late lapse that could turn three points into one, or a draw into a loss. But Spurs will have two chances to shape the two London sides relative standing (as they will with Arsenal and Chelsea as well)—we should have no fear of that outcome. Leicester City are a more vexing problem in some ways, for Vardy and Mahrez have combined into a mini “S and S” from Anfield 2013-14 and are producing results each week. It seems inconceivable for the Foxes to continue at this altitude, but in a year when the defenders are losing the plot week after week, who can say?
The quality we possess is now obvious. The keeper is world class. The back four is stronger than at any point in the last five years—pace on the edge, the Belgian Waffles stifling attackers in the middle. The holding midfielders, when healthy, are in the top rank of this league with Mason and Dier for defense; and Alli for attack. And the front 7—including N’jie and Son with Eriksen, Lamela, Dembele and Chadli plus Kane—may not be Arsenal or City, but they’re not bad. We have depth. We have a manager growing into the job.
And the best years lie ahead, whatever the outcome in this one.
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