Once upon a time
There was this moment, once upon a time, a pulsating encounter which witnessed a Spurs win over their enemy from down road. The moment was when Aaron Lennon scored the second goal, following on from Gareth Bale's opener. Two goals in three minutes. Both almost identical with their defence splitting qualities. Ruthless and clinical. Like two body blows downing the opposing fighter. Not quite out for the count, a technical KO. They picked themselves up and although victory was not theirs in that particular round they ended up winning on points. Sadly for us, we struggled to land any significant punches in the fights that followed.
That Lennon goal allowed for this fabled belief that the power shift was a genuine concept. One that would exist in reality if we had owned the momentum that followed. We let it go thanks to managerial degradation and the continued dizziness of Daniel Levy and our transfer policy. We infamously became the victims of the downward spiral we mocked them for.
That was the last time Tottenham had a team that competed. Our not so friendly neighbours once more thankful for the collapse. The difference coming down to a point or two. But today it seems like the difference is far greater. Mainly because their transition has seen an injection of new arrivals that fit the system whilst we simply look to the past and question how we've managed to disassemble the spine of the club and replace it with unnecessary limbs.
The difference is far more substantial compared to Harry Redknapp's team, but it remains significant when remembering Andre Villas-Boas' Gareth Bale powered machine.
Dawson. Assou-Ekotto. Parker. Sigurdsson. Bale. All gone. Familiarity vanquished. The side then had spirit and guile. Intensity for the occasion. Heavily reliant on Bale, but mentality, on key. We all believed that they could retain form till seasons end.
Today with Mauricio Pochettino we can only cite emotions and heart because we lack the depth of quality. Perhaps not with individuals, but definitely as a unit. The advantage that gives Arsene Wenger's side the edge is thanks to them rarely changing their footballing template. It's a bane for their own supporters but it's one that remains successful if 4th spot is the seasonal target. They retain their shape and style, with new additions.
We change our shape and style and players. So much so in the past two seasons, we still don't know our best eleven and still don't have a grip on that mythical creative swagger we miss so badly. We have little pace. We shy away from striking the target. Not forgetting this game is away from home.
We'll need more than heart to compete. So often we capitulate. We have to start fast, with physicality and focus. Hurt them, onto the ropes, then land those elusive knock-out blows. Qualities we haven't possessed since those hedonistic days of yore.
I'm not being pessimistic. I'm completely grounded. I hate losing to them, regardless of the narrative leading up to the game. In the past we've given them rejuvenation and belief. This time, we are the ones without form.
It's still going to take an exceptional team performance to shock the odds.