There is no doubting that we need to finish above Arsenal to truly crow about the shift in power under the brooding North London sky. But you need to be insane (or own a red and white shirt) to disagree that one cycle is coming to its end and another continues to blossom.
One of the finest testaments to the Redknapp era at Spurs is the fact that in recent years we have the better record over our old enemy. In head to heads, we tend to best them. The fear, the crippling self-doubt...doesn’t exist any more. For too many years we lacked the quality and the authority to stamp Lilywhite across the NLD and sheer plucky effort was never enough as we were brushed aside time and time again. The dominance of the monopoly crumbled and everyone up top degraded a little. Arsenal have gone from super human to mere mortals whilst we have anchored ourselves to the upper tier without yet consolidating, but with every chance of doing so.
Wenger and his sorry lot are akin to Superman when he agrees to sacrifice his powers. Except you can’t see them getting their powers back (unlike in the movie), what with Arsene building a Fortress of Solitude out of Kryptonite. They’ve lost their best players. They tend to lose their best players almost by default these days. You expect them to replace the lost souls with new Gods but they dither and end up with decent players but of the ilk you expect seasoned top eight sides to sign. It’s a sign of the times, they’re in transition and they are struggling to adapt to morality. They look beatable. They look like they have mistakes and lapses of concentration in them all the time.
This is not an obituary. They still possess quality, but in a twisted way they are more alike to us in terms of how we shaped up a few seasons back. Couple of star players in amongst the ordinary, fancy football flattering to deceive. They show glimpses of belief and desire but it's almost at the expense of really having to push for it, rather than oozing with ease.
Our 2-1 win more or less paints the same picture as described above. Reactions from their support further illustrating how different things truly are at this moment in time. Did Arsenal play well at the Lane? Apparently so. They nicked possession by a couple of %. But if this was Arsenal playing well (bossing it) how come I hardly remember Friedel having to shot-stop? Szczesny on the other hand? More to the point, if this was Arsenal playing well, how can a Spurs side that hardly asserted themselves still be so comfortable in victory? You could point to Redknapp and claim he started the wrong midfield and that had we played three centrally to combat their three man midfield then Arsenal would not have enjoyed so much time on the ball.
They had efforts. They missed a sitter. They struggled to find cutting edge. We had less time on the ball, failed to dictate tempo but on the counter we were too good for their disorganised defence to handle. When Redknapp made the tactical switch and brought on Sandro it was game over. I’ll wager we’d have won easily if he had started. We’d have suffocated their trio and allowed the likes of Bale to run riot. From the heart of a defensive stronghold there would have been offensive riches to behold. Sandro and Parker in the middle means less of the running back for the more creative of our players.
In an ironic role-reversal, they matched us (we're meant to have the better players, right?) and at the start of the second half bettered us. And yet in the end our quality was superior. The likes of Parker, King and Walker excelling. Defoe worked his socks off. Okay, so Ade was subdued and Modric not as influentially. But Bale was menacing in the second half and Sandro consolidated.
A better Arsenal side with some of those long gone players strutting their stuff would have (might have) punished us. Speaks volumes that we can start the wrong formation and yet still work our way to three points. It’s not that we didn’t play well, it’s just that we should have been set up to be far stronger from the start. We have the depth now. We got away with it because they’re the ones now punching above their weight, trying to play a particular way when lacking the players to do so. We have that little bit more in the way of desire and belief than they do.
When Walker scored, I was obviously euphoric but there was a voice in my head that said, “Well that was expected, wasn’t it?”. What bizarro universe is this that I suddenly find myself living in?
New Spurs. Don’t have to play well to beat Arsenal. I like that.
Was it handball? Top of arm? Apex? I’m going to be completely biased and say it was majestically controlled and not blatantly ‘handball’ in the traditional way. This was hardly a Henry moment. Arsenal should have complained about it with more vigour but they don’t even seem to have that in them these days.
Talking of Rafa. He loves giving it to the scum. It's like having a Dutch version of Jenas.
Ade. Obviously had a Robbie Keane moment when one on one and thought too much about the moment rather than instinctively scoring then concerning himself about whether to celebrate or not.
As for Jack Wilshere and his tweets:
"Van der Vaart should be sent off! He celebrated with the fans? I'm sure that is a yellow?"
“Remember one thing.....Form is temporary and class is permanent!”
Let’s humour him. Rafa did not jump into the stands. If anything the fans moved towards the player. He then moved back. Absolutely nothing to see here other than someone passionately celebrating a goal in a massive game. If Jack was to ever score in a NLD, I look forward to him shaking hands with his team-mates and briskly walking back to the centre-circle.
As for his form/class comment? I’ll remember one thing Jack, your desperation.
The vile chanting. The way the media are banging on about it, anybody would think this only ever happens when Spurs play Arsenal.
Remember how most of us felt post-transfer window closure? We wanted more than what we got. What we’ve got is four wins out of four with Parker and Adebayor. Probably worthy of another article, so I'll just say sorry. I was (along with a few) proved wrong about Parker. I'm okay with that.
12 points. 6 games. Both Manc sides played along with Liverpool and Arsenal. Just Chelsea left. Next nine games look winnable. This being Tottenham it’s the games we should be winning where we end up dropping points. But retaining confidence and positivity...we’re accomplished these days away from home and our form at the Lane remains strong (we don’t lose too many). The season is about to kick off for us.
Clive Allen. Knight him.