We all knew it. We could feel it coming. The chances for a third goal went glimmering. Stoke found its purpose. Kane went off early with a knock. The funny thing is I was just thinking how little the central defense had figured in the game, and thought that must be a good thing—Davies and Walker had both been booked but seemed to be dealing with various thrusts down the flanks fairly well.
And then Toby Alderweireld decided to truly become a member of Spurs. In the only way he could conceivably do it. An utterly foolish, wasteful penalty with Ireland hardly threatening Lloris at the by-line, and it all changed. Younis Kaboul and Federico Fazio could not have done any better, Toby: well done, mate.
The only remaining questions became how quickly would the Potters equalize: fairly. And could they score a third: almost. Without “OOOO” Spurs attack was tepid. Erik Lamela tried, but was more noteworthy for a couple of stupid fouls. Dembele and Eriksen had run out of gas. Bentaleb went missing after replacing Mason—one wonders just how deep into Poch’s doghouse our supposed young midfield star has placed himself. Kyle almost got into a fight, the supporters booed our lads off the pitch, and any misguided and very faint hopes of Top Four went out the North London window.
Were there positives? Sure. ‘arry played like a Number 10—with three beautiful chip shots over the defense one of which led to the second goal—Davies to Chadli—either of the others could/should have produced one as well. Eriksen was everywhere in the first half but disappeared in the second, of course. Dier actually look like he belonged in central midfield. Hugo, after his requisite clunker of a clearance that a) almost led to a goal and b) almost got Dier seriously injured, was his usual stout self—he had little or no chance on the goals and was fortunate Diouf and Arnautovic misfired on a few other occasions.
Butland kept them in the game, for sure. But so did we—let’s be honest—this is how Spurs play at home—far too often—whether the manager is Cockney, Portugese or Argentine. We lose the plot. Against Stoke (or Norwich. The Hammers. Newcastle. Fill in the appropriate side for whichever season you wish)
The saving grace? It can’t get much worse (Hmm…Leicester is unbeaten and possibly will be top of table after tomorrow… Maybe it can get worse). The team is young. N’Jie and Berahino and maybe someone else are on the way. But God they don’t make it easy, do they?
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