On Saturday, Arsenal lost 3-1 at home to Villa.
A fire drill to the sound of a chorus of boos cleared
out the seats in the stadium late on, disdain from those that
remained, arguments and in-fighting between fans, Wenger out chants. Meltdowns in front of cameras outside the ground.
Comedy is comedy.
The killjoys suggested I wait until after the Palace away game before
dancing a jig of joy. All I could think was Match of the Day was now
instantly watchable. I laughed at the time because you never know what
tomorrow might bring. I laughed because there was nothing else to do on Saturday, what with no Spurs game. Football was back and if it's going to break my heart again, I'm not going to pass on the chance to jig. I like to jig. Jigging is my thing.
The irony of the umpteenth 'crisis' down the road is
Wenger *is* Arsenal. They were a blank canvas when he arrived. He made
the club out of his own image, the players too and the supporters equally cloned from his psyche. He's now run out of paint.
Andre Villas-Boas, on the other hand, is aiding with the Spurs restoration. Something attempted many times since the 60s. With brush in hand, he is positively beaming with a palette of vibrant colours. North London is desperate for a dash of glorious Lilywhite to cover up all the ghastly red.
Is this the season we finally add a touch of gloss onto the finish?
Would be fairly spectacular if we managed to hand it back to them for the third successive season. 37 games left to go.
At Selhurst on Sunday afternoon we turned up and turned over Crystal Palace without ever really stepping out of first gear.
Game went as expected.
Palace stubborn, determined. Spurs worked for it, lacked a defining
creative spark. It wasn't fluid or particularly explosive, but it was
fairly comfortable with only a couple of moments of concern - with Hugo
Lloris retaining equilibrium with some quality keeping, retaining a 1-0
lead that came by way of penalty. Yes, a penalty to Spurs in a
competitive match. It's probably worth a DVD release in the club shop.
Soldado, cool and confident, scoring to add to his pre-season spot kick.
We were a bit wasteful (Chadli guilty with the back-post header miss, Siggy dragging a shot wide, Defoe scuffing), dominated possession but had no settled groove. It's a little too early for that. The new boys all doing well on their first showing as they seek to bed into Premier life quick sharp.
Paulinho will settle once the side finds their rhythm and he syncs into the pace and tempo of the English game. Looked tidy though, no arguing with his pass completion. Capoue looked a monster when he came on, intercepting to his hearts content. Just how powerful are we shaping up to be in the middle of the park? Maybe Villas-Boas is working towards a Spartan midfield with 300 brutes screaming 'This is Tottenham!'
Okay, so there is still the underlining problem of 'NO LUKA IN THERE', but we'll have to wait and see if we bring another wide/attacking midfielder to add a spark and some much needed invention rather than rely constantly on the counter attack. If Bale stays, he's not that type of player but he does retain the same quality as the rest of our central midfielders - strong and direct (and in addition he can score out of nothing). We need someone to assist and create out of nothing*.
*at the time of writing - Willian is being linked again. Woof. He'll do if Lamela is looking to sign a new contract at Roma, what with them selling Osvaldo to Southampton.
Spurs are going to beat up and bully the Premier League. I'm positively drooling at the prospective of Sandro returning and the variations of threesomes (ooh) in the middle.
Sigurdsson doing well playing behind the forward, along side Lennon and Chadli. Shot saved in the first half and the second half effort which should have hit the net. Really liked his movement but lacks killer pace. Perhaps the team as a whole not making the most of the space available when attacking the Palace box. One game in, so no need to over analyse. What until the second game is done, then we can scream with displeasure.
Good to see Kaboul back in amongst it. Wasn't expecting Vertonghen to start, so happy days with his quick return. Dawson was decent. Had the type of game where he looked comfortable, dealing with any pressure that came his way.
Dembele, good in possession, but early days (again) as I expect to see him glide forward and look to get involved in and around the box (probably wouldn't be saying that had he scored). The midfield has to find its balance once the window shuts so it will be more evident what we might wish to expect from individuals and also from AVB (with how we contain, win the ball, hold onto it, attack).
Paulinho looked solid at times, but drifted in and out of the game. Will hope to see him attack the box more in the coming weeks/months.
Lennon with the usual hard graft with defensive duties, got into space and attacked the pen area, to cut back or cross. Made the wrong decisions at times, but at least showed some intent with runs.
Soldado, cool pen aside, looked classy. Just has that look of a player that just wont be fazed. But wasn't that involved. That's probably more to do with the lack of invention in support of him. Did enjoy the way he cut the ball back to Sigurdsson. Awareness, top drawer.
Chadli might take a few games to be more involved, slow start, improved as the game progressed.
Impressed with Rose. Surprised even. Looked far better, more composed and focused proving that loan spell at Sunderland was worth while and might well prove my lack of faith in him to be misguided. Great last ditch tackle. We'll find out more against better opposition. Still feels like a stop-gap to me, covering for the actual left-back we'll be lining up with in future. Except we don't know who that might be. What with BAE MIA (spotted in France, apparently saying he's been told not to report back to training). Also not sure on the validity to assume Fabio Coentrao is Spurs bound just because he's asked to leave Real Madrid.
As for Palace, they had their moments post-substitutions. Cue the Lloris repel (including sweeper keeper on Phillips, attacking the ball without a moments thought and winning the tackle) and the double save towards the end of the match. But nothing overly convincing from Palace. Nothing that had me concerned. Once again, the biggest worry was us not taking advantage - an all too common trend from last season.
Clattenburg allowed the game to flow. Will never forgive him for that
Mendes 'goal'. Will always be marked down for that #neverforget.
Considering we still have work to do in the transfer market and this being our first game, cant argue with a clean sheet, an away win and plenty of improvements to work on before that groove hopefully kicks in.
No major talking point. It was definitely a penalty.
"Certain clubs get fouls and other clubs don't"
Ian Holloway in fantasy land with the post-match
ranting (anyone remember the soft pen his Blackpool side got against
us? Pretty sure they got two pens in that game). The delusion hit a high point suggesting the pen should not have stood thanks to a 'foul' committed by Chadli a minute earlier with Palace having and losing possession twice. Don't worry Ian, in an offset of that incident, in a parallel universe, you won the free kick.
So, to end this article with a link back to its introduction, digging at our friends from the swamp down the other end of the Seven Sisters, I'm experienced enough to know that dismissing them after one game is pretty much a ridiculous thing to do. But then I'm not the one dismissing them. Their own fans are handling that particular laugh a minute.
We win. They lost. Perfect weekend.