2-1 win over Burnley
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Well, the first 45 minutes. Second half wasn't that great in comparison. Untidy and disjointed when compared to the excitement dished up before the half-time oranges. Yes I know what some of you might be thinking the first half wasn't that great either if you wish to point towards the openness of the game. This, after-all (and no disrespect) was only Burnley and they had their fair share of attacking fortitude.
On this season alone, the football played in the forty-five minutes before the break was far superior than the low-energy, lack of urgency lack of anything truly heart-warming mess we've seen prior. All that has come before is looking more like a learning curve we failed to adjust to as a fan-base, too quick to judge and too quick to exaggerate.
Maybe it's naive and risky, but that openness is allowing us to play football. The interchanging between Kane, Lamela, Chadli and Eriksen at times the best we've seen for a while. Again, I'm not about to drown in superlatives because the reality is what we're seeing are the basics of what we should be getting from this squad, week in week out.
It's just nice to see more expression from the players. More comfort and awareness. Nabil and Ryan in the middle offers balance when Mason can push forward but his injury and subsequent departure left us less adventurous from the centre, allowing Burnley to test us in that quieter second half.
Getting us to play attractive football with end product is half the mission. The other is finding that elevation to dominate Burnley (and others) at home by dictating the tempo rather than being reactive to whatever strategy the opposing side bring as it clashes with ours. We do have more of the possession most of the time, perhaps wishing for most of it will lead us back into the darker days of slow moving ball retention. It's the ease of how the opposition can create clear cut chances that remains a problem. The crux is, we're still transitioning. Taking all this into account:
Loved Lamela in this game. Okay, so Burnley gave him time and space, but he got forward and cut in and we witnessed more of the waltzing than the snoozing from him. Some proper mazy runs into the box. No showing off. Just direct and focused meaning his skills were productive. His goal not too dissimilar to his confident hits in Roma colours. Not too dissimilar to that Welsh kid Gareth either. More game time, more confidence and he'll begin to display these traits against better opposition. I've said it all season and it's not going to change from one game to the next but occasional evidence will make me hopeful that in the end he will blend in perfectly to life on the pitch in England.
The Eriksen-Kane-Lamela combo is lovely on the eyes. I've mentioned this already. Makes me happy. Eriksen, the brains and vision. Lamela, that unknown quality. Kane, that element of determination and desire. It works. It needs polishing, but it works. Harry was industrious again and quick thinking with his free-kick to set Chadli on the way before he turned up in the box to finish the move.
The midfield and its functionality still needs work in terms of owning it at home. Works fine away when we rely on the counter. We just need to be able to take hold of games more. This might be part of the learning curve that will need additional experience. Stambouli only a year older than Mason. Dembele and Capoue perhaps fighting for the their futures to fit into Poch and his philosophy. This is the dynamic of the squad that is most in flux.
Again, the fact we've not done that (bossed teams at home) for most of the games at the Lane means I'm back in that happy place of simply enjoying that opening 45 for what it was. Spurs spursing it up with positives. Win the battles, keep on fighting the war.
The three points on Saturday were vital, as a buffer and for the sake of momentum. What comes next is a touch more daunting.
(H) Manchester United
(A) Burnley (cup)
Two games in particular might prove to be a pain in the bum. The two home games. If...if we managed to win both then that can be the mental boost required for a near perfect start to 2015. Two losses will just echo what we know already - we're a work in progress. Even if we won both, we're still a work in progress. Which leaves me thinking, screw it and everything and just go for the jugular and be damned with the consequences.
Do we have the smarts to out-think them both? Do we have enough game-changers in the team to out-score them? Probably not. The reality is our spine isn't as strong as either Utd's or Chelsea's. That's not a pound for pound comparison (that would be silly), just in terms of them being as strong as they can be in selection whereas Pochettino is still finding out what his best eleven is before the January sales kick in where he might make specific adjustments to improve further. That's no to over-state United's form. They've picked up but their defending is still far from what you'd consider to be solid. More I think about it the more I'm leaning towards the possibility that we're in with a chance.
Thing is, I don't feel the pressure. I'm looking forward to both games and don't feel nervous about either. The 'you never know' delusion is enough for me to send me toward both clashes believing.
I'll blog when I want. I'll post some bits here and there if anything spikes my interest.
Hope you like the new blog layout. Normal blogs (likes these) are still under DML on the site menu. Mainstream 500 word musings are shared via Club Metro and Thought of the Day has returned (long time readers will remember), this time as a micro-blog. The home page lists all the latest from the aforementioned.
I'm still in transition. I feel that so much of what is said these-days is written dozens of times already and originality is strained to its limits. Everyone is a blogger of sorts by virtue of social media. Everyone watches Spurs and if there is one thing I know for sure is that Spurs fans don't need to be told what to think. I'd hate to be that guy. It's staggering how difficult I've found it to regain past expressive license. Satire, parody where you gone buddies?
I know where I'm heading with this website, it might take another month or so to get there.
In the mean time...