Before the match against Brighton, Mauricio Pochettino described the game as a “must win” game. They are all “must win” games, if we want any chance of ending the season with something relevant.
We’ve been fortunate this season. We had a ten point gap between us and fourth place. Then we started losing, but what was more of a miracle – even though the gap dwindled – was that Chelsea, Arsenal and United then started bizarrely dropping points. As if they didn’t want us to be replaced by one of them. We should have tumbled down to sixth position by now, but because of all their hiccups and defeats, we’ve embedded ourselves into third. Heavens above, I am not moaning, just amazed at the bizarre situation.
It was Eriksen who unlocked Brighton’s well-organised defence given he had created our best chances (oddly enough, a section of the Spurs supporters are very critical of him). His early cross was headed over by Jan Vertonghen then minutes later Alli narrowly failed to get a touch on another Eriksen delivery. Our Brazilian forward Moura was also played in by Eriksen, and although his shot evaded Seagulls keeper Matt Ryan, it was cleared off the line by Dunk – whose centre-back partner Duffy denied Alli in similar fashion soon after.
We continued to create chances in the second half with Eriksen and Son Heung-min both shooting over before Danny Rose forced a fine one-handed save from Ryan. Alderweireld’s shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area hit the inside of the post and bounced out, and we were so desperate for a goal that we turned to striker Vincent Janssen for his first Spurs appearance since August 2017. To be fair on him, he did try his damnedest, bless him. But I understand the logic of using him. Son will be out of the Ajax game, and that only leaves Llorente (Kane still out). We need another backup, and that back up will have to be Janssen. He has the stage, so it would be great if he showed his manager and us why he should be a regular in the squad. Anyway, back to the match: there looked to be minimal danger when Alli slid a pass to Eriksen 40 yards out, but his fine strike from outside the area defeated Ryan to earn his side three points. Four minutes added on, that came and went, and we had got our three points. Relief all around.
We’ve won all four of our home games in all competitions since we moved into our spanking brand new stadium. We scored eight goals and conceding none. In that match we attempted 21 shots from outside the box, the most by a team in a Premier League game since Liverpool also registered 21 against Chelsea in April 2014.
Our haul of 29 shots overall in the game was our most in a Premier League fixture since we gathered 31 against West Ham in January 2018.
Just a matter of interest, we haven’t lost a Premier League home game on a Tuesday since August 2007 (1-3 vs Everton), winning eight and drawing one since then. And since his Premier League debut in September 2013, Eriksen has scored 21 goals from outside the box in the competition, more than any other player. All good, but as we go forward none of that will help us, other than solid teamwork, concentration and three points in the bag.
Putting the Champions league to one side, we’ve got three games left in the League to secure our top four spot. None of them will be easy, all will be going full out to get a result over us. Our last remaining games are; West Ham (h), Bournemouth (a) and the final game against Everton at home, none of them can get relegated or will be able to get into the enchanted circle (top sixth in the league). It is only we who are aiming for something more.
So, West Ham next, followed by Ajax in the Champions League, followed by Bournemouth, followed by a trip to Amsterdam. And if we get through that, we then have something exciting to take with us into next season.
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