Well, we know Poch means it when he talks of wanting trophies. And the suspicion emerges from his selection for today’s walk in the park by the Thames that the domestic cup is rather more attainable and possibly appealing. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, Spurs must not only beat Gent by 2 goals at a heretofore uwelcome Wembley (without conceding one) but would then face three additional home and home legs before a final, all occurring in the midst of what could an increasingly frenetic fight for the Top Four. In this cup, we may draw the likes of Lincoln, Millwall or Boro in the next round (and possibly Blackburn, Huddersfield or even, Wenger forbid, Sutton United) or, if not, will be matched against one of our top rivals in the league with a need to show our stick.
So with Alan Pardew, Bruce Arena, Antonio Conte and, yes, trivia repository Richard Osman looking on, the Spurs side missing for nearly a month showed up. Kane of course deserves the major plaudits for three exquisite finishes, but really there were no weak links today. Dele and Eriksen swarmed throughout, and if they lacked a bit on the finish, we can excuse it and hope they will be more clinical when really needed. The Dane made several superb deliveries. Son was a bit more anonymous, as was Winks, though the latter combined a couple of strange failures to advance the ball close to the box with a few nice through balls including the pass to Trippier that began the sequence resulting in Kane’s second goal. Sissoko and Dembele each had opportunities during their cameos—Wanyama even nearly got into the act with a strong shot near the end but was typically resolute in his command of the middle.
The other clear difference from recent weeks was the obvious security provided by the reunited pairing of the Belgian Waffles. Vertonghen had one bad give away, and Vorm nearly gifted Fulham a goal in the first half, but generally it was a return to the seamless defending that has marked most of this campaign. Fulham’s only brief stretch of pressure came mainly down Kieran Tripper’s right wing upon the entry of the 16 yr old sensation Sessegnon, and while our right back lacked the pace of Walker, his defending was solid and denied the Cottagers any supreme chances until one of their many corners finally produced a scary header. Even then Wanyama caused enough disruption to send it over the bar.
And it was nice to see Scott Parker on the pitch, wasn’t it? Particularly after Our Other One of Our Own Harry’s nice comments about him in the build-up. The perfect draw would be Lincoln at home, followed by either Arsenal or Chelsea for the semi-final and the other for the final. But it will probably be a date in Manchester or at Stamford Bridge but that’s fine. The lads have a purpose and perhaps the February walkabout just ended.
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