One thing is apparent. Whether Spurs still could win the title or not, once again—and at the exact same point as last season—it is apparent that they are the best team in the league and have been since the November loss at Stamford Bridge.
Can we navigate a congested fixture list without our best goal scorer, one of our two dominant wing players, our defencive rock midfielder? Well, there’s not a lot of choice. Assuming no Kane, Rose, Wanyama and Winks versus Swansea, one can only hope that the likes of Sissoko, Janssen and Wimmer can rise to the occasion as so many did today.
Let us first credit the defence. Burnley was not without aggression or chances, but at no point did the keeper, three central defenders or other members of the team appear stressed. Burnley were going to have to do something special to score today, and something special isn’t in the Clarets’ tool kit.
As for the other side of things, Janssen seemed Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy” at first, a bit too agitated and in danger of being booked. He then he settled into a long stretch where he—and to be fair, several others—seemed infatuated with the safe back pass when a turn and move forward beckoned. Maybe they knew the goals would come today. Dele should have converted Eriksen’s rebound and—Butterfly effect, anyone—if he had in all likelihood neither Wanyama nor Winks get injured but that’s football.
Moussa Sissoko played hard and in space but, as has been true so often this year, his final move or touch would betray him. Yet he had a gorgeous ball to Son that almost produced a goal. But our aggression kept creating chances and eventually, off a corner, there was Dier and a title race (thank you, Big Sam. If Russell Brand can kiss you, so can thousands of Spurs fans) after he casually lined up the winning kick. And losing Wanyama meant 50 plus minutes of Dembele so no problems there.
The killer was a thing of beauty—perfectly weighted ball by Eriksen to Dele in space who made an impeccable cross to Son and—jeez?—was that Chelsea out there? Not today it wasn’t as Costa, Hazard and Co huffed and puffed and could not blow Palace down.
Let’s hope things aren’t too serious for young Winks. The Swansea game may be the toughest road test remaining given the timing, but since the others are resurgent Leicester, Palace and a Hull side that may be fighting relegation on the final Sunday, nothing will come easy. It never does.
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