Spurs 1 Watford 0
Right now there's a clandestine meeting being planned with the Premier League, the FA, the referees association and David Dein to approve Operation Valentines Day Massacre. Otherwise known as codename #StopSpurs. They're all scared. No one wants to admit it publicly. Just ask Neil Ashton. Even the BBC are running articles about whether City and our neighbours can stop Leicester.
They're all scared.
Seriously, what the f**k is actually going on? Emotive blog articles aside, this feeling is exactly what we've always wanted. There's an element of the unknown that tags along with it. Perhaps a fear of not really knowing how to behave and react. You then quickly realise just how much you want it. You don't want to lose it. 'It' being something you've never previously owned. So you settle with believing that it has to go our way because not going our way will be far too despondent an experience. I'm just about coping with it all now, imagine doing this every season.
We are currently second placed. That's thanks to a ridiculous goal difference. With additional support from our ridiculous defensive record. No more canned laughter. This situation comedy has turned into a scorching drama, the kind that leaves you salivating for the finale to see how the twists and turns play out, hoping the protagonist you're rooting for doesn't get killed off.
If someone had said at the start of the season that we'd be competing with Leicester City for the title they'd have been home invaded as punishment for their punditry insubordination, tied to a chair whilst their home was ransacked and spray-painted with obscene graffiti.
What the f**k is actually going on?
This win was the most immaculate 1-0 battering I've seen for a long time.
At one point we had 80% possession. We finished just under seventy. The first half was a little slow at times thanks to Watford fielding twenty-two men all camped outside their penalty area. The second came alive in terms of marauding majesty. That's not to say we didn't create chances and test them when attacking the Park Lane end.
Ben Davies got into excellent positions inside the penalty area three times. The tempo simply went up a notch or two after the break and we flew at 'em. Davies and Kieran Trippier sprouting wings, bombing down the flanks like men possessed. We dominated through-out but Watford remained drilled and resilient. They also had Heurelho Gomes to thank for some key saves.
This isn't the Spurs of old where you gave up half way through the game because you just knew the ominous stench of frustration would be washed away by the sexy sweat and manly grit of Pochettino's never say die team ethos. We've only failed twice (at home) this season and the opening day defeat at Old Trafford feels like a pre-season game, it's that insignificant to what we're witnessing now.
Even with Christian Eriksen swarming the pitch creating chance after chance, it was hard to pick a man of the match as it just felt like the team was one sweeping entity of shock and awe. Synergy the word of the moment and the best shout for star player.
We kept pressing and running at them but the defining spark came when Dele Alli left the bench for the field. A game-changing substitution. His running at and behind the Watford defence gave us that missing edge. The goal was an utterly brilliant passage of play. The perfect calumniation of our tireless attempts to force a break through.
The back-heel touch from Harry Kane to Mousa Dembele. The power surge and reverse pass to Alli. Then the sublime effortless cross with the outside of his foot to Trippier who touched it in before racing off to celebrate by being buried under Lilywhite bodies. Glorious stuff.
There was a couple of penalty shouts that could have easily gone our way but you don't complain too much about them when they don't (like in this instance). The aforementioned Gomes was even busier in the second half (26 shots on goal across the game), deserving the MotM award based on the fact he kept the score to a single goal. The visitors only started playing their football in the 90th minute. Better late than never I guess.
Also worth noting more golden boy stats. Alli has been involved in eleven goals in the last fourteen league games. That's six goals and five assists. That's some productivity. Son Heung-min also looked tidy and sharp off the bench. Some of his touches were off the hook crazy. Whatever the reasons for not starting either of them (Erik Lamela's work rate possibly essential to the early running in the game, Alli requiring a rest) it worked out fine. It will be interesting to see whether Son gets the nod ahead of Lamela for the City game. The former offers us far more directness and end product. The latter loves to turn it on against the Manchester club.
Tom Carroll also made a cameo with his usual retainment and recycle clean up job. Bask in it. Tottenham are a fluid machine that can change parts but never lose their shape.
This could have been a tense affair but turned out to be one that was blessed with belief. The team made a genuine collective connection with the White Hart Lane faithful. All of us, including those at home and abroad, felt it.
Maybe it was tense until we scored but you never doubted the fact the players wouldn't stop until they got the breakthrough.
We can also be thankful because this time we're doing the chasing. The pressure isn't quite overwhelming (for the team) meaning there's an avoidance of potential psychological damage. They understand their position and have long accepted the challenge.
We're vastly improved in how we manage expectations within the club. Although looking back at the infamous Harry Redknapp collapse or the downward spiral of Andre Villas-Boas, those teams might have had better individuals but pound for pound are both incomparable to this brave new world. Don't even attempt to match them up in terms of fitness and conditioning and tactical discipline. This isn't a concluding thought as we have an insane fixture list to contend with, so roll on the next set of tests.
This was our sixth win on the spin since losing to Leicester City in the league. It's happened every single time we've lost. We brush it off but don't dismiss the lesson learnt. We know how these games tend to play out. Teams sit back and congest. Patience and composure along with raising our in-game application (the tempo in the second forty-five) the key traits for success. Sometimes you don't make the breakthrough, sometimes you do. This time we did. We're beginning to make a habit out of it. Assured or what?
We know what we're doing, the spirit is fantastic, we've got a superb defensive unit (our full-back game is so strong). The tactics are spot on and Poch is making influential substitutions. Everyone is playing a part. If you compare us to the rest the one thing we have going for us is that we're the most settled in system and style. Claudio Ranieri might dispute that but there you go (in fact he probably would as the tinkerman has made the least changes of any coach). To quote Poch, I think we have the balance spot on.
This is happening. It really is. We're balls deep.
Imagine not believing in belief.
If we keep winning, I'll also start believing in an imminent heart attack.
I've had a look at that daunting fixture list for the remainder of the season (excluding the potential for more cup games). Makes me shudder. Why does every game now read like we're facing Godzilla? Still, I love this feeling, this unknown quantity. I don't want to think too far ahead. Like I said at the start of this blog, I'm not sure I will know how to react if we keep on collecting the three points.
If this is pressure I'm thriving off it...I'm buzzing. That's me, the supporter. Just think of the players and how they must be feeling.
As long as they keep control I can completely lose mine. This relationship will work out just fine.