Well hello there. Good weekend? You don't have to answer that question.
Just find yourself some headspace and meditate. Take yourself back to the 1990s and remind yourself that things aren't that bad today. They could be worse. A lot worse. Of course, pointing to the past isn't an agreeable activity I'd encourage. What matters is ahead of us. It's the future that's yet to be written. We're all sat here wondering if our pen has enough ink. We have to learn to improvise, stopping short of using our own faeces to chuck onto a blank canvas and hope some of it sticks. We need to swap our Biro for a BIC 4 Colour Ballpoint.
The reason a score draw at home to a lowly side is depressingly frustrating is because of the levels we all know we are capable of achieving. We've set ourselves high expectations. A 1-1 home draw is the modern antithesis to the 90s 'lost three games on the bounce'. We're sort of having a bit of a extensional crisis. A wobble. Proper first world problem this.
We know it already. Firstly there's the hindrance that is Wembley. Not so much the larger pitch and necessity for more on-field lung capacity. It's the stadium and how we are forced to occupy it. This isn't an excuse, it's an unavoidable reality. The atmosphere is fragmented. It happened at the Lane on occasions but when the crowd wanted to get behind the team and aid inspiration, we did, and it was a force of nature. At home, we appear to find our voice together - on and off the pitch - in the Champions League. Games that appear to be consciously and subconsciously a priority this season. In the league, it's altogether a less passionate affair.
Then there's the uneasy feeling that some of our players are already looking ahead to what they'll consider a step up with their career progression, 'cause it's all about the wages. Eric Dier had his head turned by Man Utd. Dele Alli is seeking new management for his brand. Danny Rose is okay with having to reclaim his place in the side but The Sun and company will persist with selling him (again) to Utd. The essence of Tottenham's swarming ruthlessly punishing home form of last season has diminished because...well, nothing stays the same.
Everything is constantly in a state of flux. It's how we handle that change with minimal detriment to our form. We've done okay to be fair when you consider the injuries and the inconsistency of some of our key players. We had no choice in the matter. There is no White Hart Lane. It's gone. It's spirit and soul will be reborn in the stadium that takes its place. In the mean time, we live out of rented accommodation.
We've done 'okay'.
That won't be enough for a title challenge.
Mainly thanks to the rampant City who have won 18 on the trot in all comps. Fortune favours the rich. We still wait for Victor Wanyama to return whilst Erik Lamela has had a baby. His wife that is, not him, as that would only account for nine of the thirteen months he's been MIA. Soz, I went a bit Brexit Spurs there. The Argentine isn't fully fit yet (if you listen to those that have watched him for the U23's) but there's also a suggestion he should be involved with the first team squad. I'm shrugging. I still find it bizarre that Poch has to ask him if he's ready to play.
This is our third season of contending. This is possibly the harshest test we've experienced. Three wins, three draws and one defeat in North London. Three hugely disappointing draws.
Let's talk briefly about the WBA game.
Congratulations to the Albion. I feel like I've seen this a few times in the past. Their physicality was superior to our own. That was their key foundation throughout the game and allowed them to dig deep and not be easily pushed over. Spurs were pedestrian to the point that if they were walking in-front of you on the pavement, you'd want to kick'em out the way. No zest, no dynamism. Going through the motions. The second half was far better than the first. But it was that same old story. When one or two key players are looking spent, the entire team loses a shape strong enough to dictate and create solid chances. It was limp. Flaccid. WBA were able to contain us whilst we lacked sharpness in-front of goal.
Dele losing the ball and then Sanchez bouncing off the bulk of Rondon before seeing a scuffed shot trick Hugo was just...Christ...it was one of softest goals I've seen. The personification of apologetic. You'd think going 1-0 down would actually give us the spark required to wake up, but alas no. Christian Eriksen struggled with touch and composure. Harry Kane was quiet although he scored a decent equaliser thanks to a Dele assist. Alli performed well in the second half. In fact, the effort after the break was decent but you could still see how difficult everything was made to look. Here's where the Wembley crowed doesn't help.
So why the difficulty?
When Spurs are on point, they can pretty much dismantle anyone. We've done that in the Champs League but only Liverpool have tasted our backhander in the league. We have game-changers in the side but it's reliant on our tempo. I love referencing synergy but it's the fuel that allows for our fluidity. When the tempo drops, there's no alternative to it. I guess this is where a Gareth Bale type of player plucks a victory out of nowhere. My discomfort is that we have players that are capable of doing just that. We're better than a side that's reliant on a single individual. The crux is, as a collective, we either play really well or we don't click at all. We're taking the whole togetherness ethos a touch too far.
See, having a Bale or an Isco or <insert the player of your choosing> gives a viable alternative as opposed to the cameos of a Llorente or the failures of prior striking options. City have that ilk of quality to the extreme, whereby all of their players are a viable alternative and thus just 'another squad player'. I'm defending Spurs here in terms of what we're up against by virtue of depth but at the same time it's painfully obvious that we STILL need that something extra. To support and complement what we already have. To give us that strength. It's a far harder task for a team that is building towards success compared to a side that has already experienced it. Mentally and physically.
Of course, this is half the story. The tempo of any given side selected at home against opposition that wants to defend and survive, isn't good enough. We labour far too often. It's a trend. Was it a European hangover? Will this be normality at Wembley? Is it psychological or does it simply go back to the synergy of the side? There's an edge missing for sure. We remain well suited on our travels and even more tactically astute when the opposing side wants to attack us.
Back to the game...
Spurs were too slow with the ball and without it. No pace. No hunger to burst forward with urgency. Of course, WBA showcased one of the worst (greatest) display of anti-football I've ever seen. Yes, I'm going to go there. Sure, 'they have every right to defend deep'. Why would a team of their calibre turn up and attempt to attack Spurs and play into our hands (feet)? However, let's not pretend there is anything glorious about time wasting to this scandalous degree. Yeah, screw you, I'm bitter. They were even at it before they scored. IN THE OPENING MINUTES FFS.
Some of it was bordering on comical and the ref was an utter wasteman for not booking certain players earlier in the game. I wanted to spoon the eyes out of head. It's one thing defending with five or six at the back but constantly feigning injury and looking to eat away at the minutes...sorry, but f**k you, you absolute ****'s.
Talking of ****'s. Let's quickly mention Facebook Spurs and some of Spurs Twitter too. I've seen the height of idiocy, wanting Poch out and Carlo Ancelotti in. I've seen suggestions that Poch has lost the dressing room. If there was a way of wiping out these 'supporters' from existence, I would. If there was a button I could press. I wouldn't just press it. I'd sky dive with no parachute, head face on it. These knee-jerk hyper morons actually exist, embracing constant finality on a game to game basis.
Yes, it's easy with hindsight to claim (for example) that Dembele should have started against WBA as he offers that surge forward that allows other players to move across the final third and stretch the backline. Sure, Winks probably should have started against Arsenal where quick, controlled passing would have benefited us. It's easy - for us from the stands or the keyboard, to know how we should have best lined-up after the result has played out. 'We' have a right to be despondent and critical. We also have a right to pretend we're better placed in how to coach and manage the team.
Onto Leicester away. Hopefully we can welcome back some of ye olde counter attacking football. Spurs and their support have had a tiff and now need to detach themselves from the anger with some sweaty make-up sex. I don't mind bruising and the odd slap to the face, as long as I'm left satisfied by the end.
Poch might be saying publicly that the title chase is over, but there's no way the players can think that. Top four is still imperative. Closing the gap on the top spot has to be the mindset no matter what, otherwise how do you even cement that top four place?
Interestingly (via @voodoochopsticks on Twitter and probably a hundred other accounts), after 13 games played we have the same points and position as last season. Makes you wonder where we would sit if we still played at White Hart Lane. Same points, regardless and despite Wembley and our CL heroics. Everyone else in the top six aside from City and Utd are doing worse. Yes, I know, season on season comparisons don't truly work or prove anything. Actually they do prove one thing; there is still plenty of football to be played.
Well hello there 'belief' you flirtatious little hussy you.