I could have been a contender
White Hart Lane, newly promoted team, expected victory. The traditional ingredients for us to fall flat on our faces. Alas no, I'm not going to delve into the past and I'm neither going to bore you with proposed team formations and questions over player selections.
There is no easy game in the Premier League. You need to turn up and turn on to be in with a chance to plough through opposition. We're a better team to the one we had when we qualified for 4th in what was a far tighter season thanks to the lack of courage shared by so many of the challengers. I look around and all I see are teams in transition. Some have improved others have stagnated. That's not to say the quality has dropped substitutional but there's a healthy argument to be had that all of the supposed top tier sides are beatable and all susceptible. Their weaknesses evident. Including us.
We've had freak score-lines with punishing finishes and shady defending. It's almost like the Prem is a TV struggling with reception, being smacked on its side in vein for the picture to return whilst the reception flickers. You catch a moment of something colourful then it returns to frenzied interference. Normal service will be resumed soon, right? Perhaps expect a new channel or two to replace the old.
Talk of stature and expectancy is not that relevant. It's nobody's God given right to finish in the top four. You earn the right with results so regardless of how we shape up on paper and all the positives and superlatives we like to sound-bite - we still have to improve. We still need that cutting edge. We still need forceful authority to kill a game off. A point dropped here, a point dropped there...they add up if it turns into a habit.
There's not that much in it up top. Sounds like a cliché but it's a statement of fact. This state of flux, it's real and it remains an opportunity. Others might still believe in the strength of the old monopoly and that they will always persevere because that's just how things are. Maybe five years ago. Maybe even three years ago. Not now. Don't believe in it, do believe in us.
We've still got that marker in our back pocket we didn't use from last season. Prove a point. Convincingly, emphatically. This isn't about our opponent on Sunday. This is about getting the bread and butter eaten before we move onto the main course. This week, next week, any week.
There's a particular trait in our personality that we all still need to see.
Show me Tottenham. Let's see how big your balls are.