Sun Still Shines on Special Spurs Side

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

I know the fixture list gets tougher. Three London derbies. A Man United team that hasn’t lost in twenty games. Away contests against resurgent Leicester and relegation-threatened Palace, Hull and maybe even the Hammers. It’s no matter. This team will not lose again this season in the league. They might just win all seven, but I suspect it will be at least 5 wins and 2 draws. Which means 85 points. A probable goal difference over 50. Basically, if Chelsea does not fold, the best second place side in the Premier League’s history.

Today was instructive. Watford were big, fast and had ideas for the first 20 minutes. On a different day, in a different year, they score and change the entire feeling of the game and we sweat out a close win or are forced to settle for a point. Or worse. When Janssen was stopped by first Gomes and then by the bar, there was cause for wondering if this might be one of those frustrating experiences. (Sorry, Jose. You have a monopoly on these games this season. I thought his press conference following United’s latest draw was classic: “We dominate. Like always. Hit the post. As always. Other goalkeeper makes great saves. As always. A key decision goes the other way. As always.” Funny AND true)

But this Spurs’ side knows no other way but success (to quote a recent Nobel Prize winner, Isaac: “there’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all”) and in a splash of sunshine, first Dele scored a wonder goal, curling into the top corner, then Dier with a brilliant blast off a deflection, and finally Son scored a beautiful left footed blast followed by a second half volley and yes, he could easily have had two more. Four Minus Zero No Limit.

I can’t say much more other than whatever pace Davies and Trippier lack compared to the starting wing/fullbacks Rose and Walker, they more than make up for with confidence and crossing, particularly from Trippier. Dembele was typically authoritative. Dier shone and he and Son now present Poch with the nice selection problem of whether or not to return to the back three—in which case Son moves to the bench—or stick with the revived 4-2-3-1, in which case Dier would sit in favor of Dembele and Wanyama. Such problems!

Now Wembley looms. Assuming a win next weekend over the Cherries, then Chelsea’s two away results will dictate the mood heading into the Cup semifinal. If the Blues win both, then this becomes Spurs final chance to make a statement about this season heading to next and capture a trophy. It is a bit of a rubber match, as both sides won on home turf earlier in the year. But if Chelsea drop points in one or both games at Bournemouth or Old Trafford, then this semifinal will crack with tension, not only the two top teams dueling for a Cup trophy but effectively laying down the script for the final month as well. A Spurs victory will cause both teams to believe the title could still slip away from the Blues’ grasp. A Chelsea win—even in extra time or penalties—will justify their position on top, no matter how precarious.

How can you beat this? A North London Derby—the final one at the Lane—that matters. A Man United game—the last at the Lane—that matters. Two away London derbies. And Chelsea—our current bitterest rival—at Wembley. Life is very good, mates.

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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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