Soton 0 Spurs 2
I loved this performance. Under early pressure, held firm and soaked it up. Let the hosts tire out before beginning to build up enough momentum to slap them twice in quick succession. Points wrapped up before the break.
Go back a few weeks to when I wrote about how the biggest test would come after a defeat. How we react in the following game would give us an indication of how strong we are mentally and also nudge towards the question round fitness and burn-out. Questions answered? I'd say fairly convincingly. Although the test will continue on Boxing Day through to the New Year, so I'll refrain from waving my shoes around in full-pelt celebration.
The Harry Kane goal was a majestic marauding battle-ram of physicality. Balancing his way past three players with subtle brutishness and stone cold determination before placing his shot with power and precision. It was like watching the Incredible Hulk play the violin, a combination of bulk and unnatural beauty. It shouldn't work yet it does. Then moments later Kyle Walker finds Dele Alli to slot home for a second and the rest of the game is a fairly comfortable experience with Hugo Lloris saving low to boost our goal difference with a clean sheet.
This Spurs team, regardless of how easy it is to persistently compare to recent incarnations is a confidence inducing side, meaning you don't tend to stand there watching the game in fear of a capitulation. The Newcastle loss was no doubt a disappointment in the manner we just shut down our lungs and brains and let them poke home two goals with comparative ease. But at no point this season, in the league, have we been out classed. We've not had a day where the opposing side have been superior in every department. If that happens it's possibly easier to accept than when we shoot ourselves in the foot but it's still testament to how organised and solid we are. We've dished out punishment this season but we've also failed to to display cut-throat ruthlessness and this 2-0 was the exact type of execution we've lacked. That second goal really did kill the opposition off.
Alli might be untidy at times, too eager but his eagerness pays off, like when he got assaulted in the build up to Kane's opener. Erik Lamela's reinvention continues to cover more ground than a Napalm carpet bombing in Vietnam. The two centre-backs are as commanding as they are handsome and Poch on the bench retains an understated approach with his broken English and downplay of hype surrounding our ambitions. It's controlled, it's measured and we're not getting carried away. When players or the coach cite a title push with subtle indirectness (i.e. 'opportunity') it's an indication of our position and immediate ambition to power on and improve. The Premier League might be drenched in unpredictability but there's something authentic with our manner and how we fashion results.
Mighty Mousa Dembele was another highlight. The man with glue on his boots. You've got more chance of taking the ball off him than finding a Chelsea fan with creative flair for making a match-day banner. Every single time you doubt yourself or the team and question the inclusion of a particular player simply remember the admittance that most of us had over Mousa's future at the club. On the fringe, uninvolved, inconsistent and never fulfilling his potential. Then out of nowhere he's dominating the midfield. So much so that the obsessiveness I had over the essential acquirement of a new DM has practically evaporated like rain drops falling into volcanic lava.
Maybe it's against the grain to feel pride and belief but when Spurs do this, even if it's not spectacular just professional, it adds weight to the fact that this is a team that has more than the usual superfluous style and no substance that we've accepted for so long as normality. We're building towards something. You have to be completely empty to think otherwise. Or so tainted with past mishaps that you've given up all hope. Hope might kill but at least in death you know you've lived your life.
I'm not about to fully commit myself in a Lilywhite straitjacket, foaming at mouth singing songs about Tottenham's Belgium blue and white contingent but if you don't open yourself up to enjoy these moments and our steady progress than exactly what are you looking for in this grand chase? The anticipation is the sex and the glory is the climax. If you're not going to participate then have fun standing in the corner playing with yourself.