Because of a hectic Easter, I didn’t get to report on the City game, so here goes a quick evaluation and then on to our match against Brighton.
After our fantastic win (that is aggregate win) over City last week, we returned to City three days later.
Instead of going by coach (as I did for the Champions league game) I went with Jeff by car. I drove to his house and then from there to Manchester (if I knew how much parking there was at the City ground I would have driven myself up there). All this meant a 4 am start.
I thought we would get a drudging in this league match against City (because of Wednesday), instead we all came away believing we should have at least got a draw, if not win. The good news was that Arsenal, United and Chelsea all dropped points, thus keeping us in third place (let us hope they drop more points for us).
Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal returned Manchester City to the top of the table as they overcame their Champions League conquerors at Etihad Stadium. The 18-year-old’s diving header, created by Sergio Aguero, after only five minutes ensured the reigning champions maintained the pressure on rivals Liverpool before their match at Cardiff City on Sunday.
It was, however, a nervous performance in a game a far cry from the drama of Wednesday’s European game here as City relied on goalkeeper Ederson to make several crucial saves. They also lost key midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to injury.
Foden gave City the perfect start but Ederson thwarted Son Heung-min on three occasions and saved well from Christian Eriksen and Lucas Moura. Son was also denied by a magnificent tackle by Aymeric Laporte.
Raheem Sterling had City’s best chance after the break, only to be frustrated by the outstretched leg of Paulo Gazzaniga – in for injured Hugo Lloris – but Pep Guardiola’s side held on to move a point clear of Liverpool with four games left.
Beyond that, there is nothing more to add. I got home at 9 pm. A hectic Easter followed and then it was suddenly over (was it worth it?).
Tuesday quickly arrived, and I left my home at 12.30 to get to my destination for 2.30 pm (traffic problems on the M25 added a half-an-hour on). I then made my way by train to White Hart Lane (soon to be called the “Tottenham Hotspur” station).
Met Martin before the match and talked about our trip to Amsterdam (Ajax) and then he went to his entrance, and I went to mine. Got through the security quite quickly and then I had to find one of our representatives to get a programme (that is how it is done now, because of waste and the backlash over not getting programmes previously).
Met up with the others, got myself a large wine and something to eat and then sat and chatted about what we thought the score would be (I said we would win 4-0; close, only three goals out though!). Then we made our way to our seats.
Both sets of players came out to loud cheers and applause, the preliminaries done, then all to their position, the referee checked his watch, and we were off. Forty-five minutes of defensive football from Brighton and the whistle finally went to put us out of our mistery (or the players out of theirs) and to the lounge and drinks. Because of the queues and running out of tea/ coffee, I ended up missing 5 minutes of the second half (but to be fair I didn’t miss that much). Thirty-eight minutes of duplicating the first half until Eriksen did his party piece.
Brighton came to defend and defend they did. They almost got away with getting one point and would have if it wasn’t for Eriksen’s stunning goal in the 88th minute. Yes, Christian Eriksen’s stunning late winner finally ended Brighton’s resistance to boost our hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League. Brighton were on course to gain a point in their battle to avoid relegation before our most effective attacking player, Eriksen, shot low into the corner from 25 yards in the 88th minute.
Toby Alderweireld had earlier hit the post while Lucas Moura and Dele Alli both had efforts cleared off the goalline. Brighton, without a goal in seven matches, were restricted to counter attacks and set pieces, with the impressive central defensive pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy both heading off target.
We are now three points ahead of Chelsea and four clear of Arsenal in fifth.
Attack after attack we tried to break down their defence, I don’t know why we didn’t shoot over the heads of the Brighton defence to one of our players near the goal mouth. But ours is not to reason why, just to watch, follow and pay our dues.
After giving the players a standing ovation, we made our way to the lounge. Jeff had already gone home, which left Mel, Terry, Beverley, Ian and myself to take in the comforts of Tottenham’s hospitality. At 10.45 I made my way to the station with Mel and his friend and caught the 11.08 train to my destination and finally got home at just after one.
Next up will be West Ham United, and they won’t come to defend, but they will hope of sneaking a win, that is why we’ve got to be on our guard.
See you at our stadium tomorrow.
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