Questions of validity
Why does every ninety minutes of football, at its conclusion, have to be drowned in so much finality? Yes, I'm talking about my other home again, Twitter, the conduit to instantaneous reactionary thoughts. Anyone taking a peek would think they're reading commentary on a Jack the Ripper autopsy. Crap game of football? Yep, never seen that happen before. Gonna cut myself whilst staring at photos of Rose West.
When we play well, it's a benchmark. When we don't it's apparently a reflection of how bad things can be/are (depending on how deep down the rabbit hole of despair you sit in). There's an additional caveat. When we play well it's thanks to circumstances allowing us to do so, making it an over-achievement. When we don't it's a reality check. Apparently it's easier to accept negatives than positives. Hence why I've activated 'preacher mode'. To be fair though, there weren't any positives from the WBA draw. I've always found this type of game impossible to break down tactically. Much like the draws against Arsenal and Chelsea, we should have got more out of the game.
We didn't do enough, right?
Sometimes you do and win. Sometimes you don't and still win. And sometimes you just lose. Being difficult to beat or not accepting losing all points when playing poorly at least gives credence to character. We still need that extra bit of quality to emerge in amongst the players and system we're developing. Everyone was fairly sloppy so it's hard to point to where it all went wrong on the day (aside from citing lack of depth).
Amazingly, nothing has changed since the first game in terms of needing another striker. Internally Spurs might not have deadlines stipulating what Poch has to achieve this season. Momentum is hardly something you want to give up, so consolidating to strengthen our resolve is paramount if we're going to keep pushing forward. We don't need to raise expectations but we should seek to keep this tempo going so that the occasional pockets of expansive creativity and vision can be birthed somewhere alongside the physicality and discipline.
We need more to avoid burnout so that the learning process counts for something. We're not going to mature/develop/cement a winning mentality if we don't manage the squad effectively. One criticism of Poch last season was the lack of rotation. This term, the rumour is that we are far fitter than the last and we haven't peaked yet. Also, Poch has players he entrusts where as last season he appeared to sacrifice rotation and keep the faith in the ones that raised their game.
I don't think we're going to be at full pelt until the middle of next season. We have to avoid messing it up between now and then. We have to do that by being more adaptable in selection and strategy. We do that by refining the options we have and adding more for that fabled extra dimension. This is 101 Football. It's obvious. Yet historically, we've mismanaged and that's the fear. It's one thing allowing it to all grow organically, but another to not seek to support.
Whether it was luck or faith in the way some of our youngsters have taken to the season we can't risk waiting to see how they cope post-New Year. Let's be prepared. Wounded animals all around us, so go for the jugular and finish them off.
I've previously said we don't need to push ahead of schedule. I still believe this. But reinforcing what we have to benefit our momentum will make us stronger. How else do you forge an all encompassing mentality?
The only thing to take from the game was the fact Poch acknowledged we dropped two points. Honesty and not of the apologetic ilk. That and Alli's nutmegged volley.
Questions of validity? To go back to the fearful reactions on social media...
Has our system been found out? Have teams worked out how to play against us? Hardly. This side is 15 league games old. We still don't know how good we can become. The benchmarks set are simply gauges in our progression, moments of tangible improvement. As we look to increase the depth in key positions and expand our options in terms of selection (and individualism of players - as some that take up similar roles can still differ vastly in how they apply their identity to a game) we'll add new levels to our performance.
WBA. The weather. The aftermath of Novembers strain. An off day, below par all over the pitch. Hugo saving us. Walker saving us - we'll only really know ten games from now if we're stuck and unable to shift into the next gear. What we know for certain is that we need another striker. We need to have a cataclysm come off the bench, someone that will storm the game and leave devastation in his wake.
As for the eight draws, again it's subjective to analyse them. In isolation you can point to early season. We were still finding our way. Making mistakes, not scoring. 15 games in, it's arguable that we simply lack a more sustained (aforementioned) edge. There is still plenty of room for our creativity (even in games where it's suffocated or struggling to break free) for someone to somehow find a way through. The fact is, 'in isolation' doesn't consider context. Each game is a brick in a wall and without one you won't be able to add another on top. I appreciate that the more bricks means the better chance of seeing the cracks. Maybe wait until the wall is built? Cracks can be repaired. No need to default to tradition and knock it all down.
It's easy saying we should have beaten Stoke at home (good example of an early season wobble) but guess what, we weren't good enough. Naivety, complacency and shape that had still not taken a more robust form. You can pick and choose performances and say 'we should have done better' but then we'd have won every single game if football was that simplistic in execution.
Think of it another way. Imagine had we won four of the eight games we've drawn. We'd be six points adrift at the top*. The table doesn't lie. It's telling us we're not twelve points better than we are. Fine margins still need to be got at. Those inches still need to be made. We have to aim to be twelve points better through our ability to force the game to knell before us - rather than rely on luck or a moment of brilliance. I'll nod towards time, once more. Wait for it.
If Spurs did the impossible as a fanbase we’d never recover or cope with it. We are too emotionally fragile. Years of dreaming makes us suspicious. So enjoy the chase. It’s the best part. It would be just our luck though, best Prem season ever for Spurs with a record points haul and Leicester finish above us.
*Weak maths game.