I went to the Liverpool game. I watched every second of the win over the Galcticos. Tonight was the best 90 minutes of football Spurs have played all season, and as good as the undressing of Man City last October. And with Chelsea’s implosion at Stamford Bridge, can we rule out passing every team ahead of us save City? I know—we never win at Anfield and it will be very tough to repeat the intensity that Spurs showed tonight—but this was the team we’ve been waiting for all season. It was obvious from the start—sure the opener was fortunate and indeed so was the second—but let’s be honest, but for a 8-10 minute stretch after Eriksen’s shocker when United fought back, Spurs were dominant and could easily have scored twice as many.
Every one of that side tonight played well—my only criticisms are aimed at the one player who rarely gets any—Kane fluffed two or three terrific chances that had me wondering about fatigue, and whether he will be able to go a full shift on Sunday. But meanwhile he was of course running all over the pitch, including the challenge that led to Eriksen’s opener (US viewers were greeted with the hilarity of Robbie Mustoe complaining that Kane had a foot over the line on the kickoff and it should have been retaken), and made several fine passes to his fellow forwards that could have produced a third or fourth goal. Eriksen showed just how valuable he is with one of his best all-around games in a Spurs shirt—he was directing traffic brilliantly throughout. My worries going in about our fullbacks on the wing against the pace of United’s front line were unfounded—Davies and particularly Trippier had terrific games.
Dier and Dembele were as active and effective as I can recall all season—Dembele’s discipline after the early booking was laudable—both simply controlled the middle of the pitch and made the likes of Matic and Pogba almost invisible. Son and Dele were insistent but actually let a couple of gilded chances slip away with hesitation—but I’m quibbling in a game when we outshot the second place team 22 to 6. Vertonghen was pitch perfect as always and Lloris made key saves on Lingard and Lukaku when the game could still have placed into doubt.
Think I’ve left someone out? I saved the best for last. Davinson Sanchez—that Sanchez, not the other—was quite simply a rock tonight and easily Man of the Match. His headers up against Lukaku were strong, his positioning faultless, his ability to work the ball out of danger exquisite. We all want Toby back, but if that is what we get instead, we are fortunate indeed. Moura, Rose, Aurier, Winks, and Alderweireld will all feature between tonight and Juventus, I feel. Three more tough games left in this stretch, but you could not have begun any better.
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