Whatever this season is or will be, it defies all conventions about Tottenham’s recent or somewhat distant past. How many of you would have thought that a game against lowly Fulham—where by the end not one, not two, not three, but all four of our best goal scorers would be missing from action—would be decided with a handful of seconds to play from a gorgeous cross by Georges-Kevin N’koudou to Harry Winks for a simple headed tap-in? Where did that result fall on the Oddschecker sheet for Spurs?
How many late deciders have there been now?—the three glorious Champions League escape goals, the penalty Cup win v Watford after two late goals, the late Lamela goal to beat Brighton, the second half goal by Foyth to beat Palace, the Eriksen winner at the death at Wembley v Burnley—it has been a season of gritty results that have kept our heads above water in four different competitions despite stadium delays, lack of signings, Poch to United rumours, and now a plethora of key injuries.
And now the tests go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Let’s play Chelsea where we only recently buried our bogeyman and, despite Mauricio Sarri’s rant against his players (or maybe because of it), let’s withhold Kane, Son and Dele from our squad and see if somehow we can get the needed draw to advance or lose by a goal and emerge victorious from penalties.
Then let’s travel across the Thames three days later with all those absent plus in all likelihood at least half of those fit for Chelsea and try to progress in the other cup competition. Let’s see if we can change our Wembley luck (Spurs, for all their away brilliance, have lost as many home league games as the remainder of the Top Six combined) and get results against the likes of Watford, Newcastle and Leicester before Kane, Son and probably Dele return. Let’s then hope against hope that most, if not all, of that troika can return by the first game of the Round of 16 match v Dortmund, and also a possible Cup final v City—and then just after those two fixtures come London Derbies at Chelsea and home to Woolwich in the same week.
I don’t know how Poch can do it. We could just as easily be out of all three cup competitions and barely clinging to Top Four status by the end of February as we could be in good shape in any, let alone all four.
City may not care about another League Cup final with bigger fish to fry, and Chelsea may be suffering a winter of discontent, but in our weakened state the chances that we can get by both to win silverware seem remote. Dortmund was a coin flip with Kane and Dele—without one or both surely we can’t hope to advance. Palace and the FA cup seem like a sacrifice to the football Gods, but without a whole lot of prospect that an early exit will receive a reward. And it seems that at least two of our three pursuers for Top Four may be rounding into form—any more Wolves-like slip-ups will jeopardise what Levy and Poch have been banking on for the new ground—if not this year, next.
Yet somehow we won today. Eriksen, Dele, Nkoudou and Winks made the difference that the others couldn’t—we shrugged off an indifferent half and went out and got the points. He is magic, you know. Poch talks about belief in almost mystical ways—and on nights like this one thinks he might just be onto something. It feels like there is some sort of pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
Surely all the anti-Spursy results are not easily dismissed. They must mean something else why would the Gods be messing with us again?
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