"Two points from third place is nothing in the Premier league. It's good to see that third place isn't going away" - Andre Villas-Boas
Do we have enough to make third our own? Ask most Spurs fans and they'll argue we probably don't now that Sandro is out for the rest of the season. Out for the season. Sandro - out, season. No matter how many times I write it or think it I still find myself questioning it. Sandro looks set to miss the next 4 to 5 months or 7 to 8 months depending how positive you wish to be.
Surreal or unquestionably typical...I'm stuck somewhere between the two. Our best player and our most pivotal in the system we play is now resigned to posting photos on Instagram of his leg in a cast. It's devastating. And cruelly ironic that whilst we worried about burn out and lack of rotation, he's now sidelined and we have to look towards Scott Parker for equal measures of immense intensity to cover us in that defensive midfield position.
Not that Parker is cover. He was first choice a year or so back. Livermore and Huddlestone now the understudies if our luck persists in walking away from us. Do we need to sign someone to add extra depth to this position? We need to be signing first team players rather than stop-gaps but in this case can we afford to allow a scenario where we look back with regret because we didn't look to strengthen? 3rd place is a genuine possibility. Would be even greater for want of that much sought after 'striker' and 'midfielder'. We remain in the perpetual arrival lounge for a plane that never lands. Hard enough dreaming about the proposed players we want to see at the Lane let alone adding another to the list. Last minute loan deals more likely, but only if AVB believes we need them. That and Levy sanctioning them.
Fact is, as good as Parker can be - Sandro has matured into a solid beast of a player and no matter how you look at it, we are weakened by his absence. The positive is, looking back on prior seasons, we lost players to injury (Bale, Modric) and still get on with it and compensated by pulling together as a team. Whimsical hope it is then.
Holtby is still being discussed as a January arrival with Schalke confirming that we are in talks with them about bringing the player over to N17 earlier than the pre-arrangement. This gets mentioned then denied by AVB, although denial is no guarantee of the truth. Holtby would hardly be a Sandro replacement. If anything it would suggest that no other creative playmaker is on the way this window (because how could we possibly fit them all in?)
Schalke were in action the other day, winning 5-4 with Holtby assisting twice and scoring whilst starring in an offensive role behind the forward. Cue social media drooling. The weight of expectancy already so high it's best he stays in Germany until next season.
Elsewhere...it's Manchester United at home today. I saw a stat yesterday that stated we've lost just the once in our last ten league games but have been beaten in our last four games against teams in the top six. Time for some grit and assured determination. United never have to play well to win, their seasoned experience and Alex Ferguson sees to that. And they have one or two players capable of scoring from nothing. Hardly an easy task at hand. Would be nice to complete a double over them, if anything to wipe away one or two WHL memories where we out-performed them but ended up with a point or less (I'm still haunted by that Tevez goal late late on to make it 1-1).
Norwich, West Brom and Newcastle follow. Momentum over the next month or so absolutely essential.
You can sit and debate the politics of finances and Spurs perhaps concentrating on a particular type of top level quality and not wanting to shift from those targets - but how many windows will open and close without their arrival before you start to question our scouting and strategy? Tick tock tick tock. Déjà vu or a glitch in the Matrix? How many more bullets can we dodge?
I've decided that in terms of transfers to simply assume we are not signing anyone - so that if we do, I'll be pleasantly surprised and joyful. It's shaping up to be another window that goes to the wire.