Chop down a forest to build a lane to the swamp
The calm before the storm. If you consider this evenings League Cup encounter against Nottingham Forest scary (thanks to our form compared to their Championship trailblazing) then that speaks volumes about the unpredictability of supporting Spurs at the moment. At any moment.
Each game looks like the first under Mauricio Pochettino. Some players ghost in and out of games like an ineffectual not so super hero with a cloak of invisibility that empowers them only to disappear from the acclaim of the public. Others try too hard to impress, like they're on a first date, desperate to end the night with a kiss on the cheek. The rest look no different to last seasons exploits and expletives. Same old, same old.
Of course, the huge impossible to miss caveat is screaming something about an inherited mess and that Poch can not be expected to sort it out without the occasional hiccup. However, the small print below the caveat stipulates that the mess might be too dirty to dust through. What with the broken broom that Daniel Levy keeps passing from one cleaner to the next, you'd think he'd offer to buy a Dyson and some Pledge to help the man out.
We haven't won in our last four. There's too much rotation, too much stagnation, no true defining momentum that can only be captured by having players together to allow for that little bit of cohesiveness that leads to more confident play. These are the usual go-to excuses we start to bury ourselves under when things look to be stalling out on the pitch.
One or two bad results and performances flip the coin over to the side that's scratched beyond recognition. One or two decent wins and people are more than happy to share the optimistic soundbites again, citing 'give it time', showing-off the more shiny side of the coin.
The point is, we're all down in the dumps because we haven't seen anything to inspire us - thus far. We've seen cameos of attacking intent, pressing. Nothing more.
The danger is what we end up doing as a club and a fanbase. What we always do; allowing the depression to consume and eat away at the erratic optimism until none of it is left, leaving us so thirsty for something new that we once more run the reboot sequence, wipe the hard drive and reinstall the same corrupt operating system.
I'm lost in analogy heaven. Hell, it's hell.
Tonight's game against Forest is important (no extra time please). It's another game early in the tenure of Pochettino but it's vital because the coach and the players must perform. We are owed a performance that gives us some of that pride we are desperate for. Even the QPR master-class is now devalued thanks to Manchester United. And the fact QPR are s**t.
This game against a club that would often haunt us during the Brian Clough era will prove that the players can turn up and play - if that is what they desire. If they do, this will provide another building block for Poch to hopefully cement (rather than having to relay it a week later). It's a stern test for sure against Stuart Pearce and his merry men.
Ideally, I'd love to see us play with our strongest side and then do the same on Saturday at the swamp. Rotation and protection (such soft needy creatures are these modern footballing representatives of our club) might mean we fall into the trap of prioritising the next league game and starting 'the second string' in the cup. I don't want to prioritise. I want a cup run and a cup win and I want to see a competitive edge in the game that follows.
The latter (Saturday, 5:30pm) might be arriving too early for any true belief to settle the nerves in the build-up but the former (White Hart Lane, tonight) is a gauntlet. If we can't turn up for Forest, then how exactly can we possibly focus on turning up against them lot down the road?
There is no second string because the supposedly first eleven have no spark. Desire is key to defining the next game and the one after that and so on.
The here and now please Tottenham. Tomorrow won't happen until we work our way through today. Get under the bed and fight the monsters, no hiding under the bedsheets, wet and cold.
Hindsight might mock any concerns. We might still win comfortably tonight, second string or otherwise. Then we can truly focus on the pestilence and disease that awaits our visit to the Emirates. Lose in the cup and another huge chunk will be bitten out of the little optimism we have left.