4-2, Spurs beat Burnley
Another FA cup game (I could not attend) leaving me with radio coverage and a stream of bantztastic conciousness from the Spurs faithful on my Twitter timeline. I've seen the goals (thanks to the BBC sharing them, although why the FA and the Auntie can't work out how to show two games rather than give us the snooker as the interactive option is left for Tibetan monks to consider in deep mediation). Highlights here.
I can't possibly offer any genuine insight but then considering the selection Pochettino blessed us with it's far more fun to theorise over the logic at play. The easy thing was to decide pre-match that our coach was not prioritising the game. Cue plenty of bemoaning that we value a numeric position that offers no silverware a more tangible objective than Wem-ber-ley. 2-0 down after 7 minutes and nobody stopped to consider that Poch had faith in the vagabond collective of misfits regardless of the screams of disdain at why we didn't line-up at full strength.
We've played more games than most this season meaning that we actually do have to rest key players and thanks to the lack of bona fide depth, we specifically need to rest Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. On paper, the side selected should not have worked. It didn't initially. In fact I highly doubt it would work in another type of competitive match but this is all irrelevant. These days, second string Spurs teams with the odd injection of first team quality don't tend to roll over and give up. Even after a calamitous 2-0 score-line minutes into the game.
Having followed the audio, I also spent the game reading the tweets of journos at the the Lane, some of them venturing into comedy commentary as Tottenham struggled for mental cohesion after Burnley's impressive start. "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" This being Spurs, we're hardly strangers to tragedy.
Chiriches was all over the shop. Kaboul and Verts exchanged angry words, both having a go at each others poor positioning. It was all ominous stuff until we got a goal back. Paulinho with a close finish after a deft header from Soldado from an inviting Townsend cross. Capoue then scored on the stroke of half-time for 2-2 with a blistering effort. Our death greatly exaggerated.
Then it was game over early in the second half. For the visitors. Oh Spurs, how you love to pull our heart strings.
Two quick goals for us, similar to the away teams first half double rocket. Vlad bundled the ball in from a corner. Then the move of the game; Stambouli with a brilliant cross field pass into the path of Soldado who fizzed the ball with perfection across the six yard box for the marauding Rose (playing on the wing) to fire in.
4-2. Never in doubt.
Soldado (at 2-1) had another Soldado moment, missing from five yards out and some how striking the woodwork. He took the possible and with almost paradoxical awkwardness was able to smoothly transition a certain goal to an incredible miss. The supporters present didn't stop singing his name (they've never stopped) but once more his mental fragility was there to be seen. Apart from the half-time break when his miss was edited out of the highlights.
He remains a player, a footballer in the true sense of the word, composed and intelligent as a team member but as an arrogant goal poacher he still can't defeat the mocking demons in his head. He remains far too apologetic, timid, in the moment when he faces down on goal. It's in his mind he visualises the goal posts shrinking and Bane from Batman standing in his way, threatening to break his back. Elsewhere on the field of play, he's comfortable and focused.
He found the net once in the game when a free-kick deflected off him and past Vorm for the 2-0. Even Lady Luck takes the p*ss out of him. He has the grey matter for the precision pass but hasn't got that pen box swagger. Still, two assists on the night. Paulinho also with two assists. Football never makes much sense.
Other highlights, according to people that witnessed the game and what the radio told me:
Townsend played well, good work with his whipped cross for our first goal
Rose continues to improve as a player
Onomah makes début
'Walking on the beaches, Super Vlad Chiriches, do do do'
Poch comes away with the most credit. Once more proving that the character of this squad
is so deep that even players that are meant to be on the verge of leaving and other not so magnificent afterthoughts that cost a packet can demonstrate enough grit and pride to get the job done. Either that or Burnley were just awful and that 2-0 lead was a fluke of circumstance.
The reality of fixture congestion means we have to rotate and in doing so we take a risk that we'll lose shape and momentum by chopping and changing. It worked tonight, so no complaints. The attitude was professional and those key players are fresh for the weekend. The cup treble is on. Shame it wasn't televised because in the end it turned out to be a pretty solid old fashioned cup game (2 minutes of highlights told me this).
Onwards now to Sunderland at home where no doubt Defoe will score the winner.