Pochettino was mad. We played Leicester City on the Sunday and then a few days later – tonight – we EW going to play a crucial game in the Champions league; Dortmund, at Wembley. Dortmund themselves had already played their league game the day before us. Sheer madness! The FA were supposed to be on our side, not making it easy for Dortmund by giving us less rest time. It seems we have to face and overcome two opponents (the FA & Dortmund) if we wish to get beyond this stage of the Champions League.
Before I start, some people have asked me about when we are going to move to our new stadium. Daniel Levy is keeping his cards close to his chest. The Tottenham staff and I hear many different rumours. What I do know is that there is still some work to be done in the East Stand. Some have suggested that we will play late March/ early April at the new stadium. But talking to somebody close to the action, I was told that we won’t move into our new stadium until next season. If that is true, some will be pleased, others furious. I think the players will feel more comfortable staying where they are at the moment at this crucial time of the season. I know Pochettino doesn’t want to unsettle the team. Whenever it is, it is, and there is no point dwelling on future happenings, just savour the moment (eventually it will be all history, and just a talking point). Ultimately, we will be there, and in the Champions League (well, I hope we will be!), and dare I say it, with a trophy?
To the match. Many where surprised that Skipp was in the lineup, but it didn’t surprise me as he had been doing well. Granted, Pochettino had to have one eye on Wednesday, and with hindsight, we won, so it was the right decision.
If we win this match, it would mean that we would have won 20 league games this season – only in our top-flight title-winning campaign of 1960-61 have we ever won more after our first 26 matches of a season (22). So a lot was riding on this match. In fact, a lot is riding on our whole season. If we can go without another draw, it would mean we join the Sheffield derby as the most played top-flight fixture without ever recording a goalless draw (84 meetings). As for Leicester City, if they lose, and lose they did, it means that it is their longest run in the division since May last year (also five).
The fans were apprehensive, as I was, we wanted to win this match, needed to win this match… but we started off on the back foot as the Foxes came at us with everything (without Vardy, as he was sitting on the bench). We held on, then the clock struck 33 minutes and thanks for a cross from Eriksen, Sanchez scored. The trouble is, once we score we seem to allow the opposition to fight back. But we held on until the half time whistle went.
Before you could blink an eye, the players were out on the pitch. They decided different tack and bought on Vardy, but just before that Leicester were given a penalty (even though we had one turned down). Vardy runs on to the pitch, took the ball, placed it on the penalty spot and fired. Lloris dived and saved. And what a save it was. They kept pressing, we sneaked in, or I should say Eriksen sneaked in and scored a brilliant drive from outside the box. That damped their spirits until up popped Vardy to get a goal back.
But they kept pressing, and in extra time they miss-kicked, we got the ball, and it went to Nice one Son, and he ran from one end of the pitch to the other and scored a brilliant goal. We were ecstatic. The whistle finally was blown to put the Foxes out of their misery…
The day before, Liverpool had beaten Bournemouth to go back to the top of the league. After our game Chelsea were going to try to get some honour back and hoped they could beat City. But a rampant City had other ideas. They didn’t just hammer Chelsea; they humiliated them by putting six past their keeper. Four in the first half, but eased off in the second and only scored an extra two… probably felt sorry for the no-idea posh boys of London’s deep dungeons.
But it wasn’t all good over the weekend though, Arsenal had beaten the team at the bottom of the league table Huddersfield, but even they didn’t get it all their own way, Huddersfield got a goal back. Never mind, in the coming weeks we’ve got Chelsea away and Arsenal at Wembley.
This season we had lost to Wolves (H), Watford (A), Arsenal (A), Liverpool (H), City (H) and United (H). If we had just beaten Wolves and Watford, who we had beaten (Wolves away, and Watford at home), then we could have been at the top of league, and everybody would be chasing us. But I believe we are still in it and if we turn out the right team/ combination, we can beat anybody on our day. I also think we can go all the way to the Champions League final, but again, provided that we get the team selection right and we are focused on the day.
Some said we would struggle, at the beginning of the season. But we are sitting in a strong position within the top four. United, Chelsea and Arsenal are well behind us… but we must focus and concentrate. It can be done. This season we’ve had the luck on our side. I do believe we can go to City and Liverpool and get something from these games. But we mustn’t slip up against those below sixth position. Which has been our undoing in the past.
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