Altered state

 

It's been a decent Christmas so far for Tottenham. Considering the gulf in class between Chelsea and everyone else I can't say I'm expecting Santa to deliver a late present to the White Hart Lane faithful come the first of January. To be honest the last thing I want is someone in red and white giving us a helping hand. The visit of Jose Mourinho's men will be a daunting prospect considering our home form lacks spark and has done for three years. Mauricio Pochettino's and his fabled philosophy is showing signs of improving various aspects of our football but we're still way off from the end product that he desires and we lust for.

I'm not that sure how we can go about beating Chelsea. A question most Premier League coaches ask every week. We can of course hope that the fact it's them and it's a derby and we're at home is enough to muster up something unexpected, something special. Yes, I'm actually searching for the blueprint for victory in romanticised ideals that see the underdog knock out the champion not because of pound for pound superiority in footwork or strategy in tempo but because we tried really really hard and give it everything; guts and blood and against all odds.

It has happened before, of course. It still happens all the time. Football upsets are as common as man flu. The thing (as illustrated in the defeat at Stamford Bridge) is that Spurs still try to play football rather than embrace their weakness when facing stern opposition and focus on how we can get at them, frustrate them and somehow take advantage without leaving ourselves open. Remember Arsenal away? This would be the small-club mentality others are often accused of perpetuating. If you've not got the quality then you have to fight, dig deep and 'get at 'em'. Toe to toe and we're the ones getting knocked out.

The other whimsical hope is that we do attempt to play football and our players elevate their personal standards. I'm reminded of that magical 3-1 win over Manchester City when we scored three second half goals in a seven minute rout. Okay, so we had Gareth Bale in the side. The point is, football can produce moments that redefine the accepted reality. Do we have enough to force an altered state?

We don't score enough goals at home. We make it such a hard slot for ourselves and the home crowd. Our defending (as displayed against Manchester United) is still flaky. Would Diego Costa fluff so many opportunities if they're given so freely to him? Our passing tempo and pressing needs to be relentless if we're going to pressure Chelsea. There's a chance of course they could have an off day which would be a heavenly blessing. If this happens we'd need to produce the type of magic the irritant Eden Hazard is capable of every time he blinks.

Spurs are in flux and my opinion hasn't changed all season long. We're going to need the entirety of the season to work towards tangible progression. We don't quite have a Bale but Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are providing us with endeavour and industry, be it in smaller doses. We need to pull more than a rabbit out of hat. We need a bulldozer. That's some feat we're waiting on. Applause on permanent ice.

We are desperate for that defining home performance that will give the players that confidence to turn up and turn over teams with composure and comfort. Those odds are stacked against us. Happy new fear...year.