‘Tis the season to be jolly’, said no Tottenham Hotspur fan.
I love Christmas. The food, the drink, the food. But if you’re a Spurs fan this time of year can sometimes feel like you’ve made Santa’s ‘naughty list’.
The only gifts we see are the ones we give out. Looking ahead is enough to make all of us head to the North Pole to escape the cold front we’re likely to experience in North London. Then again, there are no early 2015 Europa League games present to stagnate our quest for consistency and cohesiveness with selection damning us to rotation.
Let’s look ahead.
December 17: Newcastle United – Home (League Cup)
December 20: Burnley – Home (Premier League)
December 26: Leicester City – Away (Premier League)
December 28: Manchester United – Home (Premier League)
January 1: Chelsea – Home Premier League
January 3: Burnley – Away (FA Cup Third Round)
Positively season defining. Each game a pressure pot of expectancy.
Newcastle United found themselves a launch pad at the Lane when they last visited and defeated us, boosting confidence and form. We have an opportunity for redemption but more importantly a potential semi-final place that will tease Wembley and silverware. It’s a cup game which means we all want cup tempo and attacking adventure rather than disjointed strolls. This could prove to be our very own launch pad to get everyone tingling with excitement again.
Burnley at home fits into the same category as Stoke at home. We’re expected to win, so we usually fail to do so. It would be a massive three points thanks to the fact we face two far more difficult games at the Lane over Christmas. So this is a points buffer, if you wish to be negative. We can’t entertain three straight home defeats on the trot.
Leicester away, post-Turkey and crackers, is the least scary of all our festive fixtures. Not to suggest it will be easy but it’s – on paper – the most comfortable of games based on the fact we look after better on our travels. Leicester will want to attack. As long as we contain and counter we’ll do just fine.
Then comes the two difficult games. Manchester United and Chelsea at home. On form, paper and if you’re sober and astute – we have no chance in either. United are starting to believe again. Chelsea are a juggernaut. We’ll have to elevate ourselves to a level we’ve yet to reach this season if we’re going to compete. Now, play with the idea that we do just that and six points from these two games would be enough to propel us into the heavens.
Burnley away in the FA Cup is tricky but it’s silverware again and can’t be ignored or sacrificed (something that happened a few times under our recent coaches pre-Mauricio Pochettino).
Six games. Two in the cup. Four in the league, three at home. This is a call to arms. Quick fire congestion where only the brave conquer.
Newcastle and Manchester United both claimed momentum. It’s now our turn. Is it worth writing Santa a letter? Or sending one to Daniel Levy instead begging him not to go too crazy in the January sales?