Spurs 4 WW 3
Cup football. Bit mad when it wants to be. We made mass changes and broke our balance but we really shouldn't be looking for an excuse against League Two opposition. You can't be arrogant enough to expect them to be running around White Hart Lane star-struck, taking photos so they can show their grandkids some day. Wycombe turned up and gave a very decent account of themselves. We did our very best to make them feel welcomed. The choirboys enjoying the acoustics before dramatically losing their voice.
Yes, post-game Poch had a dig, suggesting quite blatantly he wasn't happy with his teams application. You could sort of indirectly blame him for the selection, giving us a mid-range tier spine. But like I said, it's League Two opposition and we should be capable of matching their tempo and desire as a standard expectancy. But alas, cup mentality is the scourge of modern day football.
Cup games are one-off occasions. It's a bit silly to get yourself into a losing position twice but it's probably the first time in a long time that this competition has felt alive (for me). A little bit of drama does that. It was bordering on the ridiculous towards the end.
Down to ten men due to injury (all subs used up).
Then incomprehensibly 4-3 up in stoppage time.
It was the ultimate trolling that left the visitors heartbroken in the cruellest of twists. One man pitch invasion and a bloke in the crowd celebrating with a plastic bag full of cannabis. It was football in its purist form, no elitism just pure emotion. Spurs won and that's all that mattered at the death. That's all that should matter. What with it being a one-off tie. Winning is the only important detail when the alternative is getting knocked out.
The goal Dele Alli scored was gift wrapped (much like the goals we handed them). That was the moment that shifted the momentum. I have to say at 2-3 I was mentally prepared for a barrage of criticism aimed at our manger for disrespecting the cup. A 'humiliating' home exit. The 89th minute equaliser was relief. The 97th minute Son winner was pure banter.
Got away with it. Lucky. Whatever mate. Ball is in the pot.
I've already seen some obsess and scapegoat. 'This proves that X player isn't any good'. Not my thing to get microscopic about it. Reminds me of earlier in the season when Kane, Eriksen, Dele and others were subjected to criticism. Some of it fair but the disease that plagues so many football supporters is seeking finality in the present rather than considering the season is made up of thirty-eight games and some with the cups.
As for those in-game question marks?
If it was my thing I'd probably score players out of ten like a shallow tabloid and launch scathing attacks at all concerned whilst pointing with foamed mouth at the calendar and screaming something about a window.
Scathing? Nah, no need. You can make observations without the blood-lust. Some of which are a continuation of previous blights (I guess some players really do irritate). It's also very possible to admit that a signing was a mistake or isn't working out without wishing that person ill health. I know, I know...it's radical thinking. Society might not be ready for it.
Sissoko's heavy touch and two left pegs and Janssen's mobility (nicely taken pen though, adventurous, not down the middle) are often the narratives that follow their appearances. Mousa is nowhere near looking like £30M catalyst. Vincent remains in purgatory for the moment but his character and his determination retain more hope than say the apologetic mess that Roberto Soldado looked when also attempting to discover form. I think. Or maybe I'm fibbing to myself. (edit: Should probably clarify that I thought he stuck in a decent shift when subbed on, but league games will be bread and butter of his progression).
The outlay on both was/is substantial and I can't stop anyone from questioning the logic. For the grand sum of both transfer fees could we have purchased a fully fledged world class acquisition? We do love to theorise. If's and buts. We wouldn't have to if both got off to a flyer. Considering how quick we are to dismiss players only for them to end up killing it, you'd think we'd have learnt our lesson by now. Yet for the money spent, the expectancy was they would more or less hit the ground running. They haven't. Add Georges-Kévin N'Koudou to the mix and we have three signings that haven't strengthened our first team. Hence the frustration.
What Sissoko will bring remains to be seen. We know what Janssen has to deliver but we're still sat here waiting. N'Koudou is potential and wasn't signed for an immediate impact. They have all yet to claim an identity. They haven't achieved what Victor Wanyama has; settled in and owned it. Although let's be fair here...the majority never predicted what Vic would do. In fact, I remember most questioning the transfer and stating that he wouldn't improve our first team. Funny old game.
The performances in the 4-3 are in isolation and do little to help us predict their futures. Or is it another lose opportunity and continuation of blighted form. Take your pick. I think I've come full circle with this sidetrack without actually stating an answer. Which is probably the point. If we have up on every player that struggled we'd have no one left at Hotspur Way. Something something Poch, something something Trust. I'd rather keep faith in those that are truly in the know and not some random critic that never goes to games.
Elsewhere...Onomah was there but not present. Harry Winks possibly the only player that stood out in a wholly positive manner. He was embarrassed about the way the game played out, which is great honesty from within. Carter-Vickers gave away a penalty. Eric Dier was left calling for a taxi. Wimmer not winning. Dembele and Alli, off the bench requirements to 'save the tie'.
Had we played an almost full strength side and won at a canter or had the team selected played with tenacity and stream-rolled plucky Wanderers - we'd be left with 'well...that's to be expected, can't read anything into it' rhetoric. There's no momentum to gain from these games as such. But sure, it would have been nice to have played the game out with considerable comfort. Instead we got football being football. Headache inducing suffering before heart skips out of mouth and back into chest. One for the traditionalists.
Result never in doubt, right?
The same usual questions can be asked about the competition in the aftermath. I wont repeat them. First part of this blog here covers off the paradoxical nature of wanting to win a cup by not taking it too seriously. The rotation was always going to happen.
Does it once more showcase a lack of true depth? Was the issue (as Poch suggested) associated totally to lacklustre attitude? Players not taking advantage of a rare appearance? Or is the reality simply down to the fact that a second string will always struggle for fluidity. Especially when the second string are not made up of international players on 200k per week (not that it guarantees anything, but in terms of pound for pound quality there's a substantial difference).
Spurs are peak when their first eleven are starting. I only expect to see that happen in league games. Still, we're in the draw for the next round and edging closer to a quarter-final (or a rival club in round five) where no doubt we'll probably see a far stronger line-up. Probably. Maybe. I don't know. Interestingly, we made nine changes to our team and won. Others that attempted something similar lost.
Poch remarking that he now understands 'the magic of the cup' is simply polite deflection. There is no real magic, just an illusion. A sleight of hand. Cup runs these-days remain a nuisance. I think back to 1991 and what a journey that was from Blackpool to Wembley. Every encounter unforgettable. It was a different time. Twenty-six years in the past. Best I let go now.
In conclusion, only Tottenham can do their best to lose a game and still end up winning. We never give up, always ready to take a chance, primed to be ruthless. Spursy has been redefined. Even though it was Spursy to be staring at a shock home defeat in the first place.