Being Spurs means you spend an awful lot of time preparing yourself for a fall. Whether it’s a game we are expected to win or the final nervous ten minutes with backs to wall, heroic and clumsy in defending. You bite your nails, chew through your hand and then munch up your arm until your mouth turns and starts eating through your face and head. You get the picture. It's brutal. I'm sure most fans of other clubs experience similar levels of impact that expectations can have on the heart, mind and soul. For us, it's been in our DNA for decades. But alas, no longer. The wonders of genetic engineering, breeding new Lilywhites with traditional flaws eliminated. Not quite perfect, research costs money and takes time. But this hybrid beast is one that does things it wasn't originally born to do in prior incarnations.
It's snarls. It bites. But can still move elegantly.
This is a new age and we are having to, every now and again, give ourselves a steady slap to our own half bitten face. A reminder that things are not quite what they use to be. And that when quirks, hiccups do occur - it's not a complete throw-back of past darkness but rather the type of blips most top tier teams and sides vying to be top tier suffer from by virtue of averages. You can't always play well. Secret is to still win when you don't. And that takes guts and focus, because you can find yourself having to do so often meaning it's easy to self-doubt and allow heads to drop despondently. But if you believe...
Belief is something that comes with winning and is the blood that pumps through the veins as you go from walking to sprinting to running. You can measure all this by how disappointed we are with our failure to beat Chelsea at home (not the best example due to the dramatics of the final ten minutes). But the point being, we win and draw far more than we lose so therefore, we fuel our progression onwards. We don't have the fear in us. And we don't drown in our own giddiness either, thanks to our focus shifting from one game onto the next.
We didn't play stupendously well over the Christmas period. Arguably you could say we've had pockets of pomp across the whole season, never outstanding one game after another. A case of one day we either play with swagger and win or we play with fragmented balance and still win. And on the odd occasion we lose. That extra bit of experience Manchester United (along with having whathisface Ferguson at the helm) sees them undefeated. Growing pains have had us on the receiving end of one or two nil points. As expected. We are still susceptible to those blips thanks mainly to some inconsistency to the backline and the lack of obvious stone cold conviction up front. But we are pushing to better ourselves. All the time. On the up, no argument there.
So having accumulated nine out of nine, what of our next trip?
Everton away, statistically, would have most predict this as a draw or less. Got to place hand on heart and say I will be gutted if we don’t win. Because statistics aside, pound for pound, we should be containing and beating them. With no disrespect meant to the Toffeemen. The way we've played in recent games has seen us display traits that personally say a lot more than a textbook Tottenham dvd performance.
We grind, we fight. Down to ten men twice, so what? Let's pass the ball like there's twenty of us running around the pitch. And then the pockets of pure scintillating counter-attacking football reminds us all that even at 60% Spurs can produce a 95% moment of devastation that results in three points.
I hope that there is not too much tinkering in terms of squad rotation tonight. Although it's not an imperative end of days must win, it's most defiantly an opportunity to continue with the momentum, when you consider that other clubs might drop points this evening. Also, complacency. We have to respect Everton and not take it all for granted. Obvious statements. Basics.
Which brings me to the conclusion of the article (almost). As we continue to push forwards, avoiding the blips, there is no need for a massive rock of the boat. We're sailing. Just need to fit it with a powerful motor to speed things along. A basic, simple and obvious addition(s) if we want to reach our destination before others.
Running theme this season: consolidation. We have the players to deliver the bullets (Lennon, Bale, vdV, Modric). All we need is the hit-man with the gun ready to pull the trigger. Doesn't have to be anything more than what's required. For the right amount, Carroll would do. What with Dzeko gone to City. But mugging off Newcastle with a bit of money and a couple of players in a swap would probably take some supreme hypnotising from Levy.
Carroll might not exactly be the White Drogba but if you forget about his age and his lack of Prem experience and the way he looks - and close your eyes and imagine him on the pitch running down the centre giving our players a genuine target who can head and smash it in, there is hardly need for over elaboration. Does he work hard? Yes. Does he work the channel with fire in his belly? Yes. Is he a ballerina? Well no. You can't have everything.
The counter argument will obviously be one that he lacks the intelligence of a Benzema or one of the many other continental forwards like Llorente we've been linked with (I wouldn't say no to either of them by the way) and that Modric and van der Vaart and all our intricate play just outside the box would be wasted on him. Although quite how a threaded ball will confuse the big lad, I don't know.
'He's just a tall Jermain Defoe' you might say. 'He's just a more weighty Peter Crouch' you laugh. Any foreign player could always turn out to be just another Pav or Rebrov. And our current batch of forwards are hardly masterminds of movement. We all know Harry likes to keep things…simple. Of course, we also know Spurs at one point wanted (supposedly wanted) Kenwyne Jones. Who is obviously the black Andy Carroll.
We'll see. As long as the chairman and Harry sign players they want or accept wonderful wonderful opportunist gifts like the one Madrid gave us last time round. And as long as we don’t splash money on a player who is not worth the splashing when the splashing soaks you in cold water (in other words, Bent wasn't worth £16M, neither was Bentley and a thank you to Sunderland for pricing us out of Jones at £20M). To spell it out, for the money Newcastle will want, it's probably a non-starter. But it's good to talk.
And regarding Beckham, like I mentioned in a previous blog, he will do well for us for what he can do on the training pitch.
And to finally conclude, regarding Everton away, I'll take another three points. Swagger or no swagger. If it's good enough for United, it's good enough for me.