Tottenham 2 Cans 0
What a night. What a performance. Pochettino's men contained and contaminated Manchester United with free-thinking silk and swagger, slicing up their pedestrian dystopia in what was a wonderfully easy victory. I'm sat here with 1% despondence that we only scored twice. I skipped the Newport County FA Cup game because writing up a review of that turgid display would have been a waste of my time and yours. No words required to rationalise that particular result. I'll come back to that later. As for Wednesday evening...
This was everything that we need to be consistently to get back on track. Broken record time, if we were still at fortress Lane then we'd be sat 2nd and closer to City. But such fantastical thoughts only exist in parallel dimensions. Having only lost the once in the league at home since the opening day of the season, it illustrates the wasted opportunities we've had at Wembley against the lesser teams, the ones we're expected to wipe the floor with. We've often been slow paced and lacking width and tempo. Against United, much like against Liverpool, Dortmund and Madrid - we controlled with confidence and craft. We let their forward endeavours bounce off us and we pushed forward and dictated with pomp.
Loved so much about this win. The fact that every player was bang on it. From the brilliant Vertonghen at the back with his passing and deft tackles to the bullish and dominant Kane up top (Harry's only fault was not lashing the ball harder when in positions of chance). The full-backs were exactly what we expect from our shape when attacking. Davies and Trippier were tremendous and gave us that injection of constant urgency. When you press you need to do so from every position, on and off the ball and Spurs were comfortably magnificent in doing so.
Eriksen looked fresh, sharp and produced solid influence. Man of the Match but Kieran tripping the light fantastic wasn't far off from that accolade, pulsating with his partner Davies. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, eat your hearts out. Dele was a majesty of hunger and bite, attacking red stars like a space invader blowing up holes in the final third. Dembele harked back to his very best, placing Pogba into a blanket with accompanying dummy whilst gliding around the turf with power and beauty like a glamorous mum pushing a Versace Book Plus Stroller in peak Chigwell.
Literally pick any one of the starting eleven and you'll be able to wax lyrical. Such a contrast to the low key diabolical no show in the FA Cup. But hey, it happens right? Off days. We're not that accustomed to them so when we're treated to a sh*t show we tend to get upset. Personally, I still think the domestic cups have been turned into chores, played out with forced logistics. Never understood why we can't play our very best team or at least the core spine of it and finish them off, then sub the key players. I guess management of games is not my area of expertise and Poch and his players quite obviously prioritise a league match over a game in the cup.
I'm actually okay with that (thanks to the fact we've stolen a replay).
Energy levels were top drawer. Have I mentioned our pressing? Ye olde pack of wolves terrorising sheep. A nice little throwback to the swarming style that Poch first cultivated when we woke up and turned into a proper team. Once again, a mention to the full backs, such an imperative foundation to how we play when we do so with obsessive intent to push and run. It's such a necessity to have them swashbuckling. This is the ilk of aggression we need to see from them all of the time.
Obviously, this isn't a possibility week in week out when you're say...I don't know...playing Liverpool at Anfield. We still have to adapt and that's where perhaps we still have a weakness (we contain when the onus is on us but we get contained when away to a team that push their own brand of high press chaos). I also think certain teams will not allow Davies, Trip, Serge and Rose the space to pillage like United did.
Credit to the gaffer too for an astute game-plan. I guess this is evidence that the players are playing for him, yeah? Just checking if he's still 'lost the dressing room'. I can't keep up with the agendas. Also, a footnote, relating to the whole 'X doesn't do it against the big sides' which can also be tagged onto Poch. Our win against Utd sort of works towards the reality that the 'big teams' tend to defeat the other big teams when playing at home. Nothing to see here people...other than the fact we're a big team. Emphasis on team.
Dele's utterly unnecessary kick on Sanchez that was completely necessary.
Kane boiling p*ss by being inside the Utd half at kick off and Eriksen scoring after 11 seconds. If football was sex, this would be it. Seriously, 11 seconds is a decent session.
Everything Jan did. Best defender in the land. Effortless, makes it all look tantric. Sanchez (the good one) epitomising zen. Spurs like Buddhist priests lucid dreaming on a hill, allowing the landscape around them to form to their preference.
Dele not being awarded a pen because he's Dele.
Felliaini being subbed within 8 minutes allowing us to enjoy another Jose face palm face.
Kane having a right go at Son when our Korean wonder-boy went for goal instead of feeding Harry.
A record attendance for the Premier League.
Food for thought:
Alderweireld set to return but does he get back into the side? How ridiculous does this question sound when reading it back?
Rose, Wanyama on the mend. Shame we've been without both of them so far this season (aside from some a handful of games) but if there's one positive it's the fact they're returning into the fold now - when every game is massive.
Lamela also looked up for it when he came on. The more the merrier.
Special mention: Hugo. Did nothing but made two saves. Which is everything in a game like this.
Considering this month into the next is nigh epic in fixture list congestion and rivalry, this was a superb three points and a platform, a benchmark, to work from. Lucas Moura's arrival also gives us a little competition and an alternative option from the bench and in rotation. Hopefully he settles in quickly and participates more than he's been able to at PSG.
With the enemy getting spanked at Swansea and Conte's Chelsea humbled at home - it's been a pretty perfect midweek. Need to stretch it to the weekend now.
Congrats Spurs on one of the best performances of the season. Tempo was triffic. Keep the momentum going lads x