The simplest conclusion from a thrilling 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Lane is this: Spurs play harder than they do. They meaning everyone. Pep—we press, and we press, and we press some more. Like Patton v. Rommel, we read your book. And actually from two different corners of Barcelona these managers were formed—one part Bielsa, another Cruyff. I can’t wait for the return fixture.
The league is brutal this year—if Red, Gooners and Red Devils were encouraged by the inability of City to steer clear of the rest, they must me dismayed that the Lilywhites are once again crashing the elite party. Leicester miracle notwithstanding, Spurs have been the most complete team in this league for over a year now, and that did not change today.
Let’s just go around the pitch. Hugo made several good saves. It was a testament to the defence in front of him that none were truly world class, though the deflection off an Aguero shot came close. But those clearances? Yikes. The only flaw in our captain. The four in front of him were impeccable. Alderweireld typically assured. I thought it was Vertonghen’s best game of the year. And the pace provided by Walker and Rose on both ends of the pitch was evident all day and necessary against the likes of Aguero, Navas, Silva and Fernando—and yes, as I thought, DeBruyne was missed more than Kane.
In the midfield Wanyama was a rock—again. While he doesn’t provide the ball control and ability to turn upfield as Dembele does, his defending is extraordinary and effort unparalleled. Eriksen was fierce throughout—perhaps his best game of the year though he produced nothing spectacular. Sissoko is a beast and he had a stretch in the second half when he was marauding down the right flank. Lamela was Lamela—there were a couple of bad giveaways but the effort is enormous and he will always be in the middle of a creative spurt. As for the penalty, I think Son wins the argument next time—give Bravo his due for terrific anticipation.
The stars were of course Alli and Son. It makes one wonder whether a false nine with these two weaving their magic isn’t the best formation for this club—that in a funny way both Kane and Janssen can sometimes interfere with the best manifestation of Poch’s philosophy. Son’s progress from the tentative player of last season has been enormous—a leap in form that could give Spurs the chance not only to win this league but perhaps make a deeper run in the Champions League than any of us had considered. He was selfish occasionally with shots, but I think we want him to be. The link-up on the second goal was a thing of beauty. The effort by multiple forwards to keep the play alive produced a deserved result.
Two weeks in international play. Harry can get more healthy. Mousa will return. Look out world. This is the best Spurs team in more than a half-century. And it’s the best team in the Premier League.
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