A good problem to have
Spurs 0 rest of the scoreline can go f**k itself
I'm over it. It's taken an hour or so but I've processed the result which wasn't reflective of the performance but then football does that to you sometimes. You think you're getting one thing and SLAP you end up getting nothing much of anything. The 0-1 hurts, obviously it does. Zero points and momentum momentarily floored. We've been knocked out before and we've come back strong so I'm not too concerned about how we'll react. I just hate that Leicester City found a way through whilst we search for answers on how to fix up and look sharp again.
Where did it all go wrong? It didn't for the most part. The defending at times was chaotically lucky and their goal was practically gifted, from the corner given away to the free header. Cheap and devastating. I'm going to give the visitors the credit they deserve. I'm not patronising them here, but this is peak time for them. They are on point in so many ways. Tenacious, organised, relentlessness in their discipline. I don't believe they get any better than this but that's not to say it isn't enough for them to hold their own right up to the end of the season. In comparison, we're equally as good but those frustrating characteristics still linger on; squad depth, options off the bench, another striker, competition for Harry. We draw games we should win and lose games because of the same reoccurring headaches. Stretched at the start of the season and stretched even more now.
I think we agreed a while back that although this season has been a revelation in how we've adapted and retained consistency that doesn't mean we can dismiss an opportunity to fast-track a little. Not so much fast-track but consolidate and by doing so, aiding the players we have that put in so much effort. Press and run is hard work. How this comes about is for the most part dependent on signing this mystical second striker to give us an alternative option and invaluable support. We needed one at the start of the season, we need one more than ever today. It's a good problem to have. It doesn't fix everything but it will make a lot of what we do far less stressful.
Think about this game in isolation. We had plenty of shots on goal but not too many on target. Having another striker, be it a foil or someone that spearheads whilst Kane drops back (whatever creative system you wish), instantly changes the complexion of our movement and how the opposing side defend. We've seen ourselves improve in other areas this season because of players that have come into the side and refined their role. More quality will equate to better quality football. It's basic football mathematics. We also need to be more than just a team that's hard to beat. We have to be able to beat teams that are hard to beat and still find a way through when the game screams 'stalemate'. We need to keep the pressure on and we do that by mixing it up.
This goes without say, regardless of the result. Even if it was 0-0 or had we scored a winner, it doesn't change anything. It's just that a defeat means we have to talk about it again and most of us will do so loudly. What we got in this 0-1 was Kasper haunting us with vital saves. Kane could have, should have scored but the ball smacked the bar and not the net. The through-ball from Lamela utterly sublime. Another reason why another striker is imperative. It gives the midfield something new to look for when threading a pass.
I think overall we played alright. City had their moments. The start of second half (again, like the FA Cup game) was ominous. That spell of corners was uncomfortable. The three chances in quick succession that had me choking on my heart and wondering how they failed to stick it in. The Walker lapse leading to Lloris and his outstanding piece of goalkeeping to get to the ball and avoid a penalty incident was top drawer, if completely bloody avoidable. I'm not keen on our deadball defending. I'm not content with some of our own free kicks and corners. A case of a good polish required to remove the dust that is quietly gathering.
More could be produced by players like Eriksen and Lamela. We're missing Mousa and one highlight was his return (off the bench) to suggest he might well be ready for a start when Sunderland visit although he looked (not surprisingly) less than 100% with touch. We remain finely tuned, not as slick and solid when we lose a player or two and although fatigue isn't a debate we can have yet - we need to prepare by alleviating the issues discussed.
It's almost funny (no one is laughing in the aftermath) how we've become a far better football team this season. Although we're superior as a unit to previous (recent) incarnations we still lack that something out of nothing. We have players capable of it but perhaps not as expressively dynamic to really take the game by the scruff and go full maddening mode. I'm probably exaggerating this because the likes of Kane and Eriksen have it in their locker and City were completely on top of their game (much like we were in terms of silencing their forwards). They did well to nullify our intent with the sheer audacity of their work rate off the ball and didn't stop working for that moment to punish us, which is why they got what they got in the end.
So to tie it back in, we are a better team but we need more tricks, more traits to our style. I'm confident that will come. But equally so, Pochettino needs to address this ilk of game (much like Newcastle) where we got hit late on after failing to make an early breakthrough. LC we're a proper irritant. Not sure we were c*nty enough when it mattered most. Yes. That's me doing punditry with an edited c-bomb. That's more edge than Spurs had on this particular evening.
I honestly think this Spurs team is different, our mistakes and errors along with our deficiencies are new problems and not calamitous traditions of the past. They are good problems to have because solving them will improve us. We're more likely to embrace positivity and learn from games like this than in seasons gone by. Last time we lost in similar fashion (Newcastle) we bounced back brilliantly. Do that again and not a lot will change in the coming weeks. Teams are dropping points all over the place. I'm not saying we should rely on them to keep doing so but all things considered, we got sucker-punched. We've done that to a few already this season. Not nice is it? It really is a priority now to make sure it doesn't happen again for a while.
You have to be blind not to see how far we've come. We still have to open our eyes and make a statement this month that will give us the right amount of rejuvenation, that extra bit of injection to push us that little further along.
So in the end, a day to reflect and forget. Take it on the chin and move onto the next. This was a big game and the fact we didn't win it is confirmation that we have a way to go yet. Title push hilarity aside, these are the games that you somehow find a way to win. Another good problem to have. Think of it this way, if we had that in us we'd have won most of the games we drew. We know, hand on heart, we're not that good yet.
As for the visitors and their incredible season, I have given Leicester City credit for the number they did on us (good fortune being the caveat). Good luck to them. We often berate the lack of spontaneity in the upper echelons of the Premier League so we can't complain when someone gatecrashes. I'll still be there with jelly and ice cream when they finally run out of steam and drop off. That will happen, right? It has to. Football after-all makes you think you're getting one thing and SLAP you end up getting nothing much of anything.