Red Draped Redemption
We made it so easy for them.
First half was lacklustre. We can't have so many players off the pace in a derby. Slow paced, no tempo, no studs on ball. No finesse in possession. We got what we deserved regardless of the free kick decision. Mike Dean was on a mission of red draped redemption, along with the eleven facing the team in white. You don't turn up, you get turned over. An absolute waste of a game.
Hate to say this but they had the hunger. It meant a lot to them because of the turmoil they're supposedly in (they've now won 11 on the trot at the Emirates, so I guess that is fully fledged crisis football for the home fans). Should have guessed it would play out like this, what with the pro-Spurs media love-in during the week leading up to it. The game meant a lot to us too. You'd think.
Their second goal killed it and gave them enough of a buffer to defend the lead. At 1-0 going in at the break, it would probably would have played out differently. An equaliser would have crumbled them (I know, it's impossible to prove this now). We'll never know sadly. It isn't relevant.
Obviously, credit to them (*pukes in mouth*) and how they set up. They got it spot on. They dug deep. They did what they had to do against the better team (the better team that did nothing to prove that tag). All very well executed by a side that will no doubt p*ss the result away in the coming weeks. At least that's what gooners have been saying in the build up and the unlikely win (they all predicted we'd wipe the floor with them, I'm sure their perception of events will change to them claiming they're back on top). Football. Fickle. It never changes.
It makes the loss even harder to digest.
They contained and countered and could have scored more. We had a chance or two but it was all too weak compared to the ruthlessness we are capable of. We blow hot most days and blow cold every so often. Sadly, we choose the wrong sodding games to blow cold. As someone pointed out in the aftermath, we either play outstandingly well and dismantle the opposition, or we play within ourselves and under perform. No in-between. The result would have been easier to take if we were utterly crap and got smashed to bits. It's almost like we played just under the necessary level to compete, enough for them to do as little as possible to win. It's baffling how the mental balance dips for no reason. Synergy and anti-synergy; all of nothing.
I say no reason but I'm sure you'll have plenty of them to share in the comments whilst firing personal attacks at each other and behaving like them lot down the road (have a word lads). Reasons like, the wrong selection in central midfield, not enough pace. Players looking either half fit or half done. Tactically numb in terms of the reactive and proactive and dealing with the layers of defensive resilience behind the ball. Very one dimensional, very unlike the Spurs we know. Apart from the Spurs we do know that cameos at times of major inconvenience, like today.
Bit of luck for them with that dubious first goal, but hey, we've been there before too. For all the effort in the second forty-five, I never believed we'd score. Pretty sure our players felt the same. It's quite simply impossible to come out on top in a derby if your shape is out of sync and your head ain't in it. Sanchez, the only stand-out.
Thanks Tottenham. Weekend ruined m8.
I'm off now to cut 'The Spurs The' into my arm with a razor. In German.
epilogue: It's only one game. Three points. Bragging rights gone, momentum bollocked. I'm not trying to rationalise it (maybe I am), but it's only one game. One massively disappointing game. One that goes alongside the Utd performance. Away from home. The difference is usually achieved in the other games - the ones not against top six opposition (or is it the other way around?) Likelihood is, we beat them at Wembley. The reality is the same that existed last season and the season before. We're not there yet. Three seasons isn't enough of a platform to truly make the necessary history defining impact across the entirety of the campaign (i.e. only lose 3 games in 38, don't draw many). Even if 'today' was just about beating them, the longevity of it all is far more important. We've had worse days and got over them.
Chin up fellas.