A game of two halves at White Hart Lane, illustrating the work in progress by Mauricio Pochettino, highlighting both the pros and cons of our current quest for undeniable footballing identity.
The first forty-five minutes was exhilarating end to end football, with more open space than the Wild West. We witnessed more evidence of incisive attacking movement, mostly involving Christian Eriksen's quick feet and super fast brain. Harry Kane led the line, Erik Lamela waltzed out wide and cut in with purpose as players moved and created passing options rather than the congested mess that has haunted N17 for so long. Nacer Chadli also involved with Ryan Mason the more progressive of our central duo, pushing forward to allow for an additional outlet.
What impressed me was how naturally perceptive the movement was. Players comfortable with and without the ball in the final third. We played smart and attractive football. The game as a spectacle was enjoyable. Be it a touch nervy when Burnley got forward. Sure, the first half was jam-packed mostly of the pros but the occasional cons meant it retained a sense of excitement. The major con was the lack of truly sustainable ownership in the midfield. No sheriff marshalling that open space with authority, leaving it all the more wild.
Eriksen's grey matter froze his muscles in an offside position whilst a quick thinking Kane took the free-kick allowing Chadli to race forward and cross for Kane to finish the move he started. Harry with his first home league goal, cushioning the ball in with his head. Naturally, Burnley (four Prem away goals all season) proceeded to equalise with a worldy. Ashley Barnes belting it with ominous annoyance.
Lamela persisted, dancing past defenders and sending a cross fizzing through the six-yard box. A Kane air-shot the agonising conclusion to that heart-stopping goal-mouth moment. The Argentine soon returning to finish the job himself. This time cutting in, reminiscent of his Roma days (or that Welsh lad we once had), curling an absolute beauty for his first league goal of the season. It turned out to be the winner.
The second half was a let-down. Erratic possession and very few clear cut chances although Burnley tested us and to be fair deservedly so as we let them in too easily. Ryan Mason's loss late in the first half removing that forward-moving element from the middle, placing the onus on the visitors to advance.
Still evident however was that easy on the eye movement and we perked up again even if the home crowd started to bite through their finger nails into their bones. We held our nerve.
First half, wonderful with three superbly taken goals. Second, under par with pockets of delightful play and untidy surrendering of the ball.
Spurs are playing with style, but we're going to need more steel. We need to boss opposing sides, dictate the game. Then again, we tried that once and for all the possession in the world we struggled to score goals. So maybe I should shut up and enjoy the win.