Tottenham 2 Swansea 1
I've got to be honest. There was a moment, just one little collection of seconds where I momentarily considered that Tottenham would not equalise. I know, it's shameful. I've already punished myself for insubordination by slamming a door shut on my fingers. I'm using voice activated typing to write this blog. I have no regrets. I needed this test and bloody fingers aside, it has served as a reminder that Spurs have more cool than Arthur Fonzarelli riding a polar bear across an iceberg. If you're wondering, the revised definition of Spursy is; Getting things done.
Aside from a slow opening twenty minutes, this was peak Pochettino. A perfect illustration of the squads mentality and composure. One nil down, but keep on plugging away, until the breakthrough arrives. Which it will because it's fuelled by that other thing, the one that some don't quite grasp as a tangible commodity because it's not a tactic or a formation or a particular in-game quality. It's the thing that binds all the formalities of organisation and tempo together. Belief. Much like theorising over quantum mechanics, you can't see it but the consequences are undeniably true.
Pragmatism would say this is comparable to fairy tales. That believing isn't a second striker. It isn't depth. It isn't something you can hold in your hand so it's nothing more than fantasy. Pragmatism would tell you the essence of achievement is built on functioning parts. You play well and you play for each other and you repeat the training ground moves with forceful intent and it will all come together not because of some near religious preaching but because you're good, really good and you're better than the opposition.
If you think that's enough then you lack soul, much like our neighbours up at Old Trafford, that this Spurs team has in abundance. What is football if it isn't about faith and belief? However, there's no need to pray for a miracle to an unseen God. We can see our twelve disciples including the one walking on water. No, he's not the messiah, he's just a very good football coach.
In those seconds of concern, I thought back to earlier defeats against Newcastle and Leicester. Yet there was something that lacked the ominous dread of those encounters. There was something in the manner in which we swept forward over and over again that simply screamed; It's gonna happen. And it did.
The second half was a spanking. Utterly dominant, pillaging their penalty area like Vikings storming a village. Lukasz Fabianski across the full ninety was infuriating with his constant denial, pulling off save after save. Danny Rose found Eric Dier for what looked to be a nailed on goal. Christian Eriksen fired in free-kicks, including one that witnessed part but not all of the ball cross the goal-line. Rose from distance, finger tips over. Harry Kane also out of luck. Then all of Fabianski's work was undone when he chose to punch instead of catch, Kyle Walker drilling the ball back in for Nacer Chadli to draw us level.
Earlier in the first half Hugo Lloris pulled off a wonder save from Gylfi Sigurðsson. Erik Lamela could have scored. Swansea did with a shot deflecting off Jack Cork with Alberto Paloschi doing the damage. Half-time, second half and over 30 shots on goal tells you pretty much everything about this team and their ability to find that way through. Consistency is the c-word none of us have any problem citing.
The winner came from the feet of Rose who smacked a shot just inside the box, which bounced under their keeper. Our full-backs magnificent with their ethic, a solid transitional option to have when we shift from defence to midfield to attack especially when one or two players had quiet games in terms of influence.
Eriksen however was key to almost everything, so involved these-days, orchestrating forward play from deep and biting chunks out of the visitors attempts to claim rare moments of possession. Even if players don't do enough to set them apart from others they do more than enough grafting for it all to work. It always comes back to belief which allows for an equilibrium to hold up those sweeping bursts of progression, over and over again.
It's a cliché to say it (also surreal) but this team doesn't give up and doesn't collapse under the pressure. What is genuinely outstanding is that neither do the supporters. Remember the articles a couple of seasons back about how the fans need to support and sing and encourage? That it would help the team push on? Perhaps now there's enough evidence to suggest that this only truly works if the fans can actually see that the players are capable of delivering. Now we have a team and supporters that thrive off each other. Mauricio Pochettino was right. We have to think the same way he and the players think. To quote Kane, 'We will never give in'.
Guts, glory, blood and sweat next. West Ham United away then them lot down the road at our patch. Many of us reminded by 2010 when we had two massive derby games in our push for top four. We had less control then, up against it and written off. We have our emotions more in check today but that doesn't mean I'm not about to lose my sh*t in anticipation for these two wars.
Tottenham Hotspur, accomplished and polished and always ready to get dirty and fighty. Best defensive record. Creating more attempts at goal than any other side in the league. Goals coming from all over the pitch (fourteen different goal scorers). Record number of points from games played so far. It's an easy thing to say that no matter what happens between now and the end of the season, this has been an exceptional evolution. There's still thirty three points up for grabs. No way are the sides being discounted out of the running. More twists and turns to follow. No matter what, I simply refuse to accept an apologetic footnote when we can still be crowned kings.
One game at a time.