Aaaaand we're done.
It's been exceptional in terms of sheer entertainment. The football has been pulsating and the players have been peak with pomp and professionalism. The sheer quality of the final two games, both away from home, has illustrated the gulf in class and focus we now possess. We destroy sides that dare not bother turning up. No mental fatigue, no switch off. In fact the single off day we've experienced (recently) at the London Stadium left us with 36 points from the last 39 possible. Mauricio Pochettino's monkey on his back has been knocked off effortlessly in this campaign. Spurs finished stronger than ever, breaking club records. Yet in its conclusion, there is no celebration of second place. Instead, an acknowledgement of what is required to go one better when we return in August. I have so much love for this football club.
Chelsea won thirty league games in a super efficient march to the title. That's outstandingly annoying. We've been here before with the obvious insight. They had no distractions of a European nature. They suffered next to nothing in terms of injuries to key players. Just over a handful, whilst we lost the likes of Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Kane and Dembele (suspension too) for prolonged periods. Unlike them, we can't rotate with similar confidence. It's one of several improvements we have to make to eradicate all the ready-made excuses.
Again (pretty much a repeat of what we all know), our early season lull and the costly points dropped post-Champions League games is what kept us chasing. We have to test ourselves further by leading and then protecting said lead. We've yet to spearhead the Premier League. There is no reason for stagnation or complacency because the problems this group have are ones that if fixed, will result in winning the league. Others teams will improve, I'm sure of it, but so will we. I'm certain of it. Don't believe me? Open your eyes. You have to be a right miserable bastard to think this team isn't a marvel to behold. Damn those imperfections though.
Of course, you don't get trophies for stats, however, you can't dismiss them. We finished with the best defence and the best attack. Add to it, the Golden Boot winner, that one season wonder and his groundhog day curse. Harry Kane is now on 99 goals for the club, 78 of them in the Prem. The overall strike-force stats are positively delicious.
Kane: 36 goals, 7 assists
Eriksen: 12 g, 23 a
Alli: 22 g, 13 a
Son: 21 g, 10 a
144 goals. Outrageous. 86 points in the league. What do we have to do to win the league? Talk about doing enough but it still not being enough.
Add to the mix, only 10 defeats all season. 4 in the league. The 8 draws the reason we're not champions. Along with that lull and perhaps the main crux of our incomplete attempt at being sat in first place; We have to play well as a team to win. Chelsea don't.
Spurs and their synergy is both their superpower and the kryptonite (you've heard this one before too). We have to find a way to win games, make breakthroughs, when collectively it isn't quite working out. It's not an easy objective for any given side. It's comfortable for the likes of Chelsea thanks to the wealth of ability they have to select from. However, City also have richness beyond most and have struggled for balance. What we have at Tottenham is exceptional and we do have match winners, players of supreme presence. What we experienced this season was just how emphatic you need to be to claim the top prize. Look at the consistency of Conte's side. Then look at the consistency they have to still produce the goods when they've suffered from a collective blip.
We're are getting closer, yet those 12 games (8 draws, 4 defeats) are the ones that need to be halved in our favour with points accumulated rather than lost. Twelve lessons to be learnt.
The 7-1 at Hull was a great way to sign off. We've been relentless. The hunger has been a joy to watch. Elsewhere when looking below us, hand over mouth, we disguise a grin at the torment our neighbours find themselves anchored to. Then burst out in uncontrollable laughter at just how much they struggle with their own fragility when left with nothing to goad about. Such is their hollow existence. I hardly care enough to brag about it yet can't help but poke them for the salty discomfort they attack with when failing to defend their abused self-esteem. Truly a grand way to end the season in terms of our momentum and the comedic encore elsewhere.
I'll leave it there for now. I want to write up a more definitive review and work towards doing something that isn't too heavy, a quick fire summary of what we need to do in time for the next war. Look out for that in the next week or so including some end of season awards.
We are aiming for bigger things. I love how easily accessible this truth is for us. We are still over-achieving in terms of financial clout but at some point, this won't be a good enough reason to accept our shortfalls. It will simply be perceived as an acceptance that we'll never win at the one thing those above us have become accustomed to. Times are changing and we are in transition. The new stadium will push us into brand new territory, even if we're only yards away from what was our spiritual home (once we return from a year spent at Wembley). We can't be held back. Don't be holding back Spurs.
This is the best Tottenham team of my lifetime. It has the potential to be a side with a legacy that history will never forget. As easy (in comparison to winning a cup is meant to be), winning the league over thirty-eight games has always been less probable but mathematics would now suggest otherwise. The fact the coach and players want to win it above everything else and have believed themselves capable of doing so is testament to the heights we wish to hit. The mentality is one of winners with the impossible to ignore caveat that we have yet to win something.
On the pitch, it's close but off it?
The chairman has to make the investments Poch requires for us to push on. Or rather, we have to make the right acquisitions that can hit the ground running. The issues of wage structure the single telling drawback that sees some targets prefer to cash in, sat on the bench elsewhere. The level of astuteness needed could be the difference between today and this time next season, white and blue ribbons and all. Then perhaps all those stats and the tangible growth we've witnessed will finally turn to silver.
Onwards. To the beach and then back to the graft.