Everton 1 Spurs 1
I've been on Twitter and have already processed the game there and thus feel a little bit spent with the outpouring. So excuse the lack of crafting this late evening.
Tottenham Hotspur, we can all agree were tired in legs and mind by the end of the score-draw at Goodison Park. A title challenging side might have somehow grabbed three points out of that game, right? Then again, a title challenging side would have scored late on against Watford the other week and stolen in for the 2-1. Think on. Guess there's got to be a balance every so often when it comes to good luck and misfortune. If it wasn't for the woodwork the first half might have been a far more fruitful experience. What a wonderful time to be alive, for some to be utterly despondent with drawing a game of football. But that's Twitter. As for the game, here's some mumbled thoughts...
After our initial dominance with ball at feet, came their determination and improved push towards Hugo Lloris and his goal. First half to us, second just about to them. A ding dong game where anyone might have nicked it. Personally, it looked like the back end performance of a marvellous festive period that saw us take 10 points from a possible 12 - the best tally of any team in the Premier. Context. At least with Daniel Levy in attendance, he'd have seen we need a little extra something to ease up on abusing the lungs of our existing crop of fighters.
We lost composure with touch and pass when Christian Eriksen went off once more proving that even if he doesn't dictate a game he drums the beat of our heart. Does Mauricio Pochettino get it wrong with the subs or do we simply lack options? It's probably somewhere in-between but Nacer Chadli is mostly ineffectual as an impact sub. He doesn't have enough time to tune himself into the game (would love to see him get a chance as memories of him latching onto an Eriksen diagonal into the box are pleasant). Sometimes we look like we're like-for-like rather than injecting something alien into the bloodstream to dilate the eyes and give us a new sense of visionary colour.
The other important factor here (with the subs) is that some of our players are returning to full fitness (whilst others are academy breed) and are not quite up to speed with the rest. Compare the changes Everton made to our own and the disadvantage leans towards us. Keeping it fresh is also a difficult task considering how we're currently structured. For example, in the case of Harry Kane, where do you go when you want to rest him? In this instance, it's an option we lack. Hence the continuing desire to bag ourselves another striker whilst Kane just keeps on going and going and going. Bless his massive heart.
I'd also add that anyone dismissing the argument that this is a young and inexperienced side in some areas (possessing imperfections) isn't quite grasping the nature of progression and development. To bemoan learning curves and somehow perceive it as a reason to disparage the team is missing the entirety of the point of what a team (with substance) is meant to be and became. Regardless of requiring another striker and whatever else we may need to go the distance, our endeavours should be applauded and supported. I guess some supporters, including writers of alleged insight, like to talk about football without really caring enough about it beyond the very limited expanses of tabloid knee-jerks.
Any how, here's the snippets of Tweets I made post-game that have killed my blogging juice:
Seems some Spurs fans complain after every single result that isn't a win. So in their world satisfaction is winning every single game.
Imagine. Every draw or defeat has to be a win for them to be happy. So we have to win 38 games in a season for them to be happy.
Spurs don't lose games easily. Not been out played/classed in league this season. Bit more quality, we'd have won half the games we've drawn.
If that scares you, sorry. Deal with it.
People hate admitting it's a team in progress, but it is, by their own admission we had no style or identity 6-12 months back.
Why not believe we're going to win the league? What's the worst that can happen? We don't. Oh hello - like every other season ever.
Anyways, what the **** do I know? I rated AVB for quite some time. *walks away from timeline*
Banter. For more follow me @Spooky23. You can then get to tell me how wrong I am in real-time.
So yeah, we should have won it based on first half tempo. We did well to contain Everton when they decided to push forward with more intent. Dele Alli was a wonderful bundle of energetic enthusiasm. Erik Lamela was untidy on this occasion when getting stuck in (frustratingly at times, with the odd unnecessary foul). Our centre-backs (aside from the wobble late on and Jan moving out of the way for Aaron Lennon's superb hit) did well to stop Romelu Lukaku from pestering us too much.
Fine margins for me. If Kane had a chance for some of that fabled rest and rotation he'd be sharper for it. Although that first shot striking the post and flashing across the goal was just down to the universe saying no. We've played a lot of games in a short space of time, like everyone, but thanks to the movement and pace of pressing we get through more kilometres than most. I'm staggered that we still shape up so well considering how light we're meant to be in key areas.
Also credit to Tom Carroll. Still maligned by some, though not sure why. He's been asked to do a job and he keeps the ball moving, gets involved and doesn't shy away from responsibility. Sure, there are better players and his frame is light but as of the here and now he's the one that's been selected and I can't fault too much with the application he's given us. We do miss Mousa though and that's where the comparison distorts unfairly.
There's a discussion point that states Poch retains loyalty to a player that disposes another that has fallen out of favour (or been injured). I don't think this is as harsh as it appears to be. Say for example Nabil Bentaleb, he was arguably out of form before his injury and Dembele is the perfect example of someone reclaiming their place. It's not a given. There's is no comfort zone for these players. Hard knock life. Do hope Nabil gets back sooner rather than later. He was my pick for our player of the season (impossible now thanks to the likes of Toby, Eric D, Alli etc etc). We really are spoilt when you think about it.
For me right now, I love how calm I am when we go 1-0 down. Like I know Spurs have 'got this'. I like how we keep on going, pinging the ball short and long (my God what a ball from Toby to Dele - and what a touch and finish). The area (and the time within the game in terms of momentum) which needs to intensify is when we're on top. We need to apply more pressure, more decisive cuts to the throat of the opposition. We can be too intricate sometimes, too deliberate - but there's still room in the sandbox for expression within the disciplined system Poch has set up. Some of the dots don't quite connect but you can clearly see what we're attempting to do.
Onto the next one.