Serging for Top Four

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Image: SpursWeb

It’s been a while since Spurs commanded a game against half-decent opposition like that. Actually, it was mid-October and the last time a Merseyside club came to Wembley. We might be in the top four as soon as tomorrow, depending on whether a Coutinho-less Liverpool are able to fashion a result against the league leaders at Anfield.

This is a game where even the quibbles (an occasional Eriksen or Dele missed pass, Dier being lazy and allowing Rooney (?) to outjump him for a header, the standard bizarre Hugo clearance) are barely worth mentioning. The entire team, but for a fifteen minute stretch in the first have where they were a bit careless and sloppy, was exceptional today. Sanchez was imperious in the middle, rising numerous times to win headers in the box. Vertonghen continues his superb play this season with a defensive master class, Davies was solid down the left. Serge Aurier had a particularly noteworthy game, producing the first goal in space and threatening throughout.

Mousa Dembele had his best game of the year, directing traffic and showing the likes of Rooney and McCarthy his physicality. Dier and Eriksen, of all the midfielders, were least stellar, but I can’t say either had a bad game and Eriksen was there to convert the final goal and orchestrated much of the attack. Kane was Kane—plenty of shots, maybe one or two too many, and a couple of five foot tap-ins, the second mishit and the first midjudged by the linesman since Harry was a few inches offside. He has passed Teddy Sheringham for Spurs’ all-time Premier League goal scorer, in a hundred fewer games.

The two brightest lights were Dele and Son—and nowhere was their skill more apparent than for the fourth goal—Son for the umpteenth time in space, with a perfect lay-off to Dele, who then flicked a perfect backheel ball over to Eriksen with Pickford rendered just a spectator. Son scored the opener, could have scored again but for the post, and both forwards were active and energetic throughout the contest. It is nights like these when one wonders—despite the talent at places like Barcelona and Manchester City—whether any club in the world can match Spurs’ four attackers when they are at the top of their form. Son would be my MOTM but really it was all four of them—Arlo White of NBC asked Graham LeSaux if he had a name for these four brilliant Spurs players. It is a worthwhile question deserving of a worthy answer.

So it’s the Saints away and then comes the crux of the matter. United and Arsenal at home; Liverpool and Juventus away. We’ll know more in a month about just how high this bunch might soar this season. The difficulty is that the two teams most vulnerable to a Spurs passage in the standings play us at their homes—surely we need a result in either Anfield, Stamford Bridge or both. But Chelsea have hit a speed bump (three consecutive scoreless draws) and Liverpool are barely attempting to claim they can play on without their best player.

Toby and Danny should return soon—this team is starting to peak. At just the right time.

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.

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