Juve, the old lady you wouldn't mind seeing mugged.
To be fair, I feel a little mugged off too. Another 2-2 we should have won.
Nah...can't stay mad at you Spurs x
A brilliant away day performance punctured with some super daft moments but no one can deny the spirit, the self belief to pull ourselves back into it. Sure, it's brain numbing how we started with an almost cannibalistic synergism similar to Anfield away. Our players dropping grenades at their feet. We practically invited them to score. It was ominous stuff and regardless of Gonzalo Higuaín being offside, everything about those opening 75 seconds deserved punishment.
To compound it, we then gave away a penalty. 2-0 down, nine minutes gone and I don't blame anyone for thinking 'Oh look, old Spurs is back, we'll never get rid of them'. Alas, no. Old Spurs is gone. Any idiocy or lackadaisical nonsense we produce with today's football is a new problem. A curious one that needs fixing. If anything because Juventus are a top European side of the ilk that will take no mercy if you dare to stand there motionless waiting for your pants to be pulled down.
The rest of the game was a rather more comprehensive experience in our favour. Yes, the home side still created chances on the break including patches of dangerous possession. Yes, we gave away yet another needless penalty, this time Serge doing everything to keep the liability tag firmly on his back. We survived. We went onto conquer and reclaim some pride and possibly even the momentum for the second game. Aurier won't be in attendance due to his booking. Phew.
Dembele. Eriksen. Kane. Dele. Colossi. The team grew into the game once again showcasing what we all know already. We're bloody good. Mature, confident and simply refusing to accept defeat and capitulate. The team were on it. Juve just couldn't regain control regardless of their experience and undeniable form. Pretty certain I read in the aftermath that this is the first time since 2011 (?) that home side have surrendered a two goal advantage at home.
Mousa (excusing the free-kick he gave away) was tremendous again. So dominant, a conduit of composure that flows through the spine of the team that allows us to ooze silky yet savage football. His resurgence has been pivotal. It feels that if we don't have a full pelt Dembele, we struggle more than we should. The two questions here are simple: Can he retain his fitness? How do we replace him (short term/long term)?
Eriksen was banging, he was everywhere, taking responsibility and forcing his influence on the game. Clever little free-kick for the equaliser making Buffon look like a buffoon. Doesn't turn up for the big games, eh?
Kane, missed a sitter (bit of a trend this Harry mate, you wanna get benched?) and then scored with complete coolness. He should have had a penalty too. Seven notched in the CL this season, equalling the Steve Gerrard record for an English player. He really doesn't care what your name is, if you have a defence, he'll have you picking the ball out of the net that sits behind it. 75 in 75 by the way, if you're still counting.
edit: 9 CL goals in his first 9 CL games - the first player in CL history to achieve this. Deal with it.
Dele? Whist some fixate on the lack of goals and glamour football, he's added another dimension to his game this season. Grit and graft. he has been so impressive. We could still do with that arrogantly sublime touch in front of goal to return. Lamela, perhaps not a stand-out compared to others, but still impressive. His want of the ball is second to none. He commits to the game, fights for his team-mates and works his socks off constantly and without complaint. Tottenham just don't slack (opening nine minutes aside). Love it.
I'm also a sucker for celebrations. Eriksen's roar and Lamela's emotive scream release along with Hugo punching the Italian night was joyful. 'Coming of age' they say. Let's not patronise. We've already proven we have this in us. What we need to do next is win this type of game. That is hardly asking for much. A little more focus from the off perhaps.
As for the gaffer? Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus. Defining set of fixtures and we've come out of them disappointed we haven't won them all yet proud of the momentum and the effort given. A lovely springboard for the rest of the season and a testament to the depths and courage of this band of brothers, with Poch - the dad we all deserve - leading them. We dig deep, we never say die. Good solid virtues to possess. We've been tested. We often force ourselves into unwanted positions. Yet it's just another necessary layer of fortitude that builds our strength further. Our consistency in the past few weeks has been positively dreamy.
Lucas came on late on for his debut and it's a sharp reminder of just how competitive we suddenly look in terms of our squad. Funny that, how during the course of a season when things are perhaps not perfect and you quickly fashion your reasoning to believe it's all gone wrong when it's just another learning curve that lifts us further up.
Critical exceptions to the comeback? Sanchez is raw. Has unlimited potential but sometimes seems to panic and lose concentration which is suicidal in games of this magnitude. Serge needs a few more hugs and playful slaps in the face from Poch. I imagine Poch saying 'You need to think before you do' whilst smiling at him, then wallop, sharp stinging slap across the cheeks and a stern look into his eyes followed with 'what the f*ck is wrong with you? Grow the f*ck up, don't be f*cking stupid with unnecessary sh*t'. Then hug and smile at him again. Be cruel to be kind, then be kind. Then cruel. Not that I advocate violence, playful or otherwise. Seriously though, not being subbed off, on a yellow, prone to making damaging mistakes. How? Why? Poch obviously channelling his inner Deer Hunter.
The fact is, had we started the game with more control we'd have won this with relative comfort. Tottenham mate, y u do this to us? Rode our luck with the second pen miss but there you go. Football is a narrative that is reactive to the ones that wish to improvise and re-write the script. Perhaps Mousa can share his feather quill pen so one or two in the team don't rely on crayons.
It's turning into a nice campaign this. Compare it to the last one we had. I guess we could under play it all if you're more comfortable with not getting too hyped. Dortmund are rubbish, Madrid weren't Real, and Juventus had their b-team out. If you're more comfortable with it, that is. Football is surely about the types of results and performances we've got in the past few weeks. It's about the moments, the certified identity this team gives us and the sense of belonging that has rival fans obsessing over us with constant comedic value.
I see the salt mountains are growing taller by the hour. Give it another couple of games and they might reach the heights this Spurs team are aiming for. I honestly believe if Spurs complete their journey and win a trophy, they will break football. The very thought of this fuels me.
It's all in our hands now for the second leg. They'll have to attack. It's still not a given but if we display the same traits of mettle and cut out the stupid, messy schoolboy errors then we're in for a chance of a Glory Glory night.