Hola. Back to Blightly from the wonderment of Madrid. Had four massively pleasurable days in the Spanish sun. I'll miss the tapas but probably won't have too much time to think about it what with the little matter of seasons end and fourth spot.
I caught the Stoke game having found an Irish pub and thankfully did not have my city break emotionally wrecked with the dropping of points, even if it did all look rather ominous early on. If there is a single trait that needs to be eradicated and another trait birthed from its ashes, it's the set-piece conundrum.
Stoke taking an early lead with the cheapest, softest of set-pieces was just so typical Tottenham. Static gargoyles frozen in time, watching and waiting for the inevitable goal conceded. We never seem to have a convincing handle on defending the simplistic. It's the inability to hassle and bully men in the box, mark 'em up and stop them from getting their head to the ball that grates so heavily. Every time Stoke had a set-piece I had heart palpitations. Equally frustrating (at times) is the fact that when we have a kick in and around the box it's always going to be an attempt at goal. Which is fair game considering the player we have that's a little handy with a dead ball but on occasion I'd like to see more innovation.
Thankfully, the conceded goal was our only major indiscretion. Stoke are hardly masters of possession and with their attacking outlet completely reliant on free kicks and corners it was always a matter of time before we took a stranglehold of the game.
Dempsey aided proceedings with a brilliant instinctive/opportunistic effort for the equaliser. The game continued without any excitement or excellence but the essentials here concerned commitment and improving (as the game progressed) on containing Stoke's one trick aerial pony by clipping its wings and using ye olde faithful turf to ground their ambitions.
There were some Gareth Bale dramatics of the indefensible ilk. Hardly crime of the century stuff, just unnecessary. Although probably worth it simply to hear the disdain from the home supporters who brilliantly encapsulate the art of footballing contradictions. Bale guilty of play acting. Stoke, with Adam at the forefront, with ugly bruising tactics. Two wrongs don't make a right but it's probably best to just keep your mouth shut than shower yourself with hypocrisy. Didn't even shrug when Adam was sent off. If there was a foothold to dominate the game beyond any doubt this was it.
Huddlestone struggled. It's no longer frustrating but simply a forever known fact that Tommy, for all his precision and vision and pinging of balls cross field, he's a very specialist type of player when it comes to influencing a game. Off the bench, he can make a difference if the tempo of the game suits him. But from a starting position he lacks sustained electricity to light up a game. Like a failed experiment, it's akin to Tesla sticking a lightbulb into the ground and setting the local generator on fire.
Pulis and his technical box reactions were not too dissimilar to 'crazy man on street being crazy'. Elsewhere we continued to boss the stats. I couldn't make up my mind whether we'd find a way to breakthrough or be wretched with the prospect of dropping points. The former, thankfully, after a variety of chances leading up to our second goal. Should have guessed with confidence considering our recent record with leaving it late.
Adebayor in space at the far post to knock in the assist from the action man Dempsey. The only oddity here, Adebayor's goal celebration. Tottenham's resolve once more paying off. We don't ever give up. That gritty resilience such a vital characteristic.
Plenty of footballing irony at the final whistle. It's still out of our hands. We could potentially finish up on 72 points, which is a very impressive tally of points. That irony poking at the fact that it might still not be enough.
I'm glad it's going to the final game. Much rather heartbreak at the death than at Stoke.