To dream the impossible dream
4th spot is still up for grabs and mathematically there are still plenty of sides left in with a shout. Regardless of what twists and turns remain to be played out this season - anyone positively excited by the continued evidence of mental strength and belief within the squad?
Of course you are.
We've had key player(s) missing through-out the entirety of the season. We've at times been pessimistic (a consequence of the past) when the likes of King or Lennon have sat on the sidelines, and yet we have dug deep and shown intent and ambition. Everytime we think Harry and the side are about to tune into another episode of 'One foot in the grave', we change the channel back to 'It ain't half hot mum'. The remote control, firmly in our hands, and no longer lost behind the sofa.
I like this new-improved Tottenham. It's young yet has calm, focused heads, maturing through-out the season, but still knows how to sex it up when required. It's all about the confidence. We'll be playing naked soon, in transparent shirts and shorts.
Keep shaking your junk Spurs.
Gomes, Dawson, Bassong, BAE, Corulka, Bale, Modric, Huddlestone, Lennon, Kranjcar, Palacios, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko. Add the bionic-cameo King to the mix and there's a solid backbone to the side. One that is quietly understanding that the comfort zone of yesterday, the one that Michael Carrick famously refereed to, is no longer an acceptable place to sit snoozing in. Players have overcome personal demons and erratic form and have thus united in spirit.
The arguments about still requiring a talismanic forward (think Berbatov without the sulk) will continue to be discussed. Along with various for/against opinions on the likes of Defoe, Crouch and Pav and the fact we don't bury half the chances we create. Others still remain uncertain about Huddlestone. There are tactical quirks on whether Modric is better suited to the left or the middle and if he plays left does that mean Bale slots into left-back with BAE on the bench? Or should the BAE/Bale marauding act continue with Moddle in the middle alongside Huddlestone. Or Wilson. Or Sandro (next season). Dawson continues to make up for what he lacks with pace, with 100% commitment and desire. England? Why the heck not. Bassong, an unsung hero of sorts, growing in stature with every game. You almost forget about the fallacy that we are meant to be crap without Ledley and when he does play you remember just how great of a player he is, and it's 'ok' that he only plays once a month or so.
All analysis aside, the fact remains, the team is in the battle for fourth and our reaction to the semi-final loss has been one of unequivocally togetherness. That's not just the players, but the fans at the Lane - who have played a massive part in the belief process that is required to play out during the past two league games.
Sure, there have been knee-jerks. Losing 3-1 to Sunderland hurt and it's quite expected that some people reacted with the most negative of reactions. Although it's equally apparent that it's exaggerated tenfold in a positive fashion when we win. But nobody can argue about the manner of the victories against the red and blue scum. It's credit long time coming.
Other's have remained loyal to their beliefs and continue to suggest that Harry is still not the right man for the job (the logic here that a better manager would get even more out of this side - although surely stability is the key that we've never bothered to use to unlock that Champions League door?).
So massive group hug everyone? Pat on the back. Well deserved all-round, no?
United away on Saturday will be far more difficult that the last two games. Mainly because Harry has to try and second guess what Fergie might do in order to congest the midfield and stop the likes of Bale and Modric from playing. Unless Harry has already considered the possible tactic from Ferguson and...you get the gist. It's going to be tight.
We could get away with a point. A defeat wouldn't end our season or damage the remaining run-in because we have proven we are not a soft touch. Unless of course André Marriner (the ref for Saturday) is replaced by a bot, remote controlled by Howard Webb who then proceeds to award United a penalty after a foul near the corner-flag to change the course of the game in their favour and then we concede an extra three goals because that's tradition.
Heads down, emotionally drained, wearing our 'plucky loser' hats again? Thanks but no thanks.
It's a tiresome excuse. Although arguably we've not been helped by the standard of refereeing in the past, in the face of diversity, we should be inspired to right the wrongs. No more psychological capitulations. We owe it to ourselves to get past this challenge as another gauge of just how far we've come and how far left we have to journey.
United have to win to keep the pressure on and their title dream alive. We have to win, to compound the pressure on the teams directly below us. Palacios will be available. Lennon - don't know. United, much like Arsenal and Chelsea are beatable. Focus Spurs, focus.
I'm drooling. Can't wait for it.
A United fan pointed out to me that if they do win the title, apparently it will be a record of sorts, thanks to the amount of games they've lost this season. Which is further evidence of just how open the Premier League is becoming.
Now, just think what we could possibly achieve with a squad that skips past potential depletions and injuries and has an extra one or two squad players added for good measure. Champions League would cement and consolidate all the hard graft and stop key players flirting and bring in new players of the ilk required. No old Scottish men blowing kisses in the direction of Bale, Modric and Palacios thank you very much. Not this summer ta. And don't get me started on the project at Eastlands. You can already half make out what they might attempt to do.
So, the players, the manager, the fans...
To dare is to f*cking do.