A treat at the Lane. A 3-2 result for a 4-0 performance. Spurs even had the decency to include a nervy final ten minutes for the old skoolers that still want to flirt with potential despondency. It flattered the visitors. In-form Everton were never really in it, blessed with punishing us for two rare mistakes late on. The rest of the encounter was a stroll in the park, always in control, never stretched or bullied. In one rich spell after the opener, we terrorised their defence, swarming like bees but not quite finding that killer sting. When the second arrived, the game was done. The dramatics that followed, an encore to warm the hearts of those present.
Before the game it was all about the Toffeemen's unbeaten run of nine league games. Tottenham stood proud with only the five goals conceded at home all season. An exceptional statistic that would be further extended to a record nine successive wins on the trot. Shame about the defensive lapses, but it's a brave new world where conceding two goals in a game is considered something that would irritate.
The game started low key then exploded into life with Harry Kane producing one of those talismanic goals out of nothing. Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen pulling Everton's backline away for him to cut in, embrace the created space and dip a wonderful shot into the net. It shook everyone into life, the spectators included. Joe Robles saved after some clever play from Harry and Christian. Kyle Walker sent Eriksen though with a super threaded ball. Ashley Williams pulled Kane down for what looked a certain penalty. Victor Wanyama's shot smacked off the woodwork and Kane (offside) hit the rebound wide. The visitors offered a half chance but little else to be concerned with.
Cue the second half and a second goal.
Robles with a 'mare. Thanks to Kyle Walker chasing down what looked a lost ball and playing it across (and back) to the Everton keeper. He rolled it out fatally to Morgan Schneiderlin. Mousa Dembele and Dele conspired to mug the midfielder, Kane was sent through and he [cliche] simply doesn't miss from there [/cliche]. High field pressure points the key to this one. If you can't find a way through using conventional counters and build ups then force the opposition to pay for any careless football. Spurs alert to capitalise.
Then the late drama followed. It was a bit like watching the deleted scenes on a Blu-Ray. Not really essential and doesn't alter the enjoyment of the movie.
Jan Vertonghen lost his balance up against Belgium team-mate Romelu Lukaku for the surprise goal. Focus now on that other cliche, the one about 'Two - nil' being a dangerous scoreline. Kane could have had another hat-trick, lifting the ball into the chest of Robles instead of firing across his body. Poch took him off for the standard 'few minutes' cameo from Vincent Janssen. The maligned forward immediately got stuck in. Won a free-kick. One of the other subs, Harry Winks dinked a ball into the box for Dele, pointing to where he wanted it. Flick, goal, 3-1. Back down the other end Eric Dier snoozed momentarily, and Everton got their second (also from a freekick). Enner Valencia the scorer. Football. Not a bad way to spend your early Sunday afternoon.
The move of the game had to be Poch wildly celebrating the 3-1 with genuine emotion and relief and then sternly looking at his watch, seething at 3-2 moments later. He should still be content with the result. 150 games, 77 won, only 35 lost.
Not sure there's any deep philosophical hot-take for this one. We are still looking up, once again waiting for a miracle collapse to take advantage of. Perhaps unlike last seasons intensity and the Premier League's reluctance to stop Leicester City, this time round it all feels a little more traditional and less pressured. Nobody believes Chelsea will fluff their lines. Manchester City (with a game in hand) are relaxed and playing their football. Poch still has the team drilled with professional intent. Mathematics over practicalities until the sums fail to add up. Proving that it's not just about winning silverware to cement a winning mentality. You have to think and behave like a winner all of the time. The biggest test to manager and squad is how we finish the season. We have to avoid the slump that we've suffered in the past. But with no potential for emotional baggage to anchor us down, we might be far more comfortable this time round.
Of course, if the impossible happened and Chelsea imploded, that pressure will be back with extreme mental brutality. We'll face another test. A continuation of the physical and psychological strain endured and suffered in the last campaign. Life at the top is fantastical torture.
There were very few lulls in individual performances in the game. Even with Jan's slip and Dier losing his man, both played well. Eric with contained aggression and Jan oozing class alongside Toby Alderweireld. Ben Davies had a very good shift. You hardly noticed him (you know, cause most of the time he's only ever noticed when he errs). He was all action, involved in the challenge and productive with passing. Congrats also to his new contract.
Wanyama, the destroyer of superlatives, stands up next to a mountain and chops it down with the edge of his hand. Pre-match, Ronald Koeman had what looked a strong nucleus to combat our own. They got chewed up and spat out. I could go on. Eriksen, Walker...I'll end up listing all of them. Of course, I shouldn't ignore the front two forwards; Mr Kane and Mr Dele. Both deserving of punditry accolades and fanboy praise.
Harry 'Plonker' Kane, the one season wonder, the boy that tries too hard. He scored yet another long ranger confusing haters everywhere that tag him as a tap-in merchant. He now has more goals from outside the box than any other player in the Prem this season. Ouch. He's already on 24 for 2016/17, this after an injury spell that saw him sidelined early on. So good, he gives the other strikers a head start (badum tish). Of course, Harry does have playing for Tottenham in his favour. We often moan about the lack of alternatives but with Dele up top and that aforementioned movement to create space, the team complements the player and vice versa.
Talking of which...
We've got Alli.
Dele 'The biggest tit we've ever signed, petulant little fairy who completely lacks what's required to make it as a professional footballer, an irritating tit, talent eclipsed by his arrogance' Alli. Aka 'Tart'. A young lad, composed and down to earth with a little bit of a temperament but plenty of bite, persistently showcasing that he's got two yards more in the head than the defender attempting to man mark him. We often talk about how disciplined and regimented our team is under Poch. That we're not expressive and free-flowing. In this day and age you can't be expansive without constraints. What we have is intelligent footballers that understand their team mates and when it clicks, they know exactly how to attack with penetration (ooh) and not losing shape. Proper unit.
Dele is neither a midfielder or striker. A forward thinking forward, playing just off Kane, but equally capable of spearheading an attack or ending one with say, I don't know, a flicked goal. To have that ability to always find yourself in the right place at the right time - that alone is game changing.
10 goals in Dele's last 11 Prem games.
43 goals in Kane's last 50 Prem games.
32 goals between the two of them in the Prem.
39 goals between the two of them this season (league, Europe, FA Cup).
If salty fans, our own and rival, can only focus on a handshake then we're doing everything right.
Deal with it people.
Enjoy your three-point week.