The game (Chelsea away) pretty much washed over me. It was fairly drab. I understand that from a football perspective (rather than considering customer satisfaction focusing on entertainment) that this was a contained performance from Chelsea that saw them claim the three points with relative comfort. It wasn't just about professionalism but rather the reality that they didn't need to do much to beat us.
What we witnessed was a simple demonstration of one team that is pretty much complete in terms of personnel, style identity and strategy and another that will not find its personal holy grail until we've played the entirety of the season, worked through yet another summer of arrivals and departures and set off yet again with redemption leading us to...whatever it is we do to find ourselves repeating the cycle.
I'm not downbeat here. Not at all. I still hate losing to Chelsea. I wished for a glimmer of hope. That's the problem with Spurs at the moment. We want something that is more likely to appear from rubbing a magic lamp than from the boots of our players.
We sort of got that (glimmer) in the opening exchanges and had Harry Kane cut back to either Aaron Lennon or Ryan Mason we might have scored. That and the header to the woodwork. Kane needs to be far more aware of the better option if he's going to refine himself into a leading forward. What this displayed for all those that required further damnation to our predicament was expertly executed by Eden Hazard down the other end when Chelsea cut us open for their first attempt and goal.
There's a gulf of class here because they've signed the players we'd love to sign but are never truly in competition for thanks to wage structure and the challenge of having to compete with those that can provide a platform for almost instant success. I've got violin music playing as a soundtrack currently.
Chelsea have the better players, more assured shape and far superior potency. They played with patience and punished us twice more. Yet within this very low key derby match that hardly lived up to the hype of so many that have come before, it still gave me the occasional nod to improving team mechanics within the Tottenham side.
Vlad Chiriches had the touch of a man with milk bottles for feet and Mason and Nabil Bentaleb struggled to impose any authority in the centre but thankfully Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen looked to continue their understanding and partnership as our fairly solid centre-pairing. Ben Davies again endeavoured to work hard. Not sure it really mattered too much that Roberto Soldado was dropped. You might think, what about a bit of daring to do, but we could have lined-up with any combination of players and it still wouldn't have mattered thanks to the lack of edge in our game.
Our intensity was powder-puff for the most part. Like I said, it felt drab. It was never pulsated. Chelsea hardly the giving type to allow us time and space. We gave it a go, but it was never dangerous just limply inquisitive. The result was never really in doubt, like watching a recorded match on your planner knowing the result before hand. We got into decent positions but never really tested them. We're going to struggle against the top sides. We've pretty much struggled against most of them already. We've struggled against the supposed lesser teams too. This is what we'll have to suck up and deal with as we strive to improve towards claiming back some backbone.
Crystal Palace at home is the spiritual follow-up to the win over Everton. It's such a shame that we have found ourselves in this familiar state of seasonal flux because all it does is remind me of lost momentum and the genuine belief and ability we had in abundance not that long ago. It remains extraordinary that we have to rely on Harry Kane (no discredit to him as he led the way forward again) but you don't go from having one of the best players in the world to then watching this pale shadow of a side without feeling a little disparaged. If I'm going to claim pride for seeing so many academy players in the starting eleven then I'm also going to have to let go of the past.
This is a feeling very few of us have managed to shake off for over a season now. It's hardly breaking news, the transition. It's bad enough losing to them, we usually make it easy, but on this occasion it was more patronising than it was calamitous.
We didn't learn anything new in defeat, aside from the minor positives mentioned earlier. I don't want to dwell too much on the conclusion that this was Spurs trying really hard and still not getting anywhere. We're going to have to flat-track bully our way towards a respectful position.
Three nil does look comprehensive but it didn't feel similar to what Liverpool did to us or City away or the non-event of Stoke at home. It wasn't a tonking, just a casual half-arsed master-class in how to contain an opposing side and kill the game off before it gets a chance to start. Probably a waste of emotion to feel downhearted about it within the context of the actual season (and transition). It was Chelsea and they're hardly going to lose let alone lose at home. We're hardly going to beat them in the shape we're in.
I thoroughly enjoyed our performance against Everton. This defeat made me shrug knowingly that we're nowhere near the standard we need to be. That's probably the worst thing about it. The fact I have no choice other than to accept it all.
Still, the supporters sang their hearts out. This is the only workable mentality that will see us through to better days.