It’s a bit of a cop-out, but awaiting tonight’s North London derby at the Emirates I just don’t know what to expect.
It pains me to admit it, but l’arse might start this game as favourites. They might possibly live up to their billing and win it. In fact, I’m worried they might even spank us. Even aside from the fact that we’re still bottom of the league, there’s a case to be made for this.
Exhibit A – l’arse have been known, occasionally, to dabble in what some might call half-decent football. They’re a bunch of cheating deviants, with no sense of sportsmanship or grace, in victory or defeat, and hilariously rubbish, silent support – but occasionally they do come close to playing football the Tottenham way. Take this time last year. We were somewhere near the foot of the table, but not because we were playing particularly badly, as has been this case this year. Instead we were losing games due to a chronic inability to defend set-pieces, and to our then-goalkeeper’s similarly chronic inability to keep out long-range shots. For the first couple of months of the season I would take great pains to tell anyone who’d listen (and many who wouldn’t) that no team had actually cut us apart – we only losst, regularly, because of long-shots and set-pieces Unfortunately that changed at the Emirates of all places, when l’arse’s first goal cut us to ribbons. Can’t remember who poked it in, but Fabregas was involved. (nb we still should have won that day – Robbie Keane missed a pen at 1-1, we ended up losing 2-1).
I’ve drifted somewhat. The point is that it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that l’arse might stuff us tonight.
Alternatively, we might stuff them. After all, it’s been known to happen in the not-so-distant past 🙂
Can’t really see it happening though. We might “get a result” (idiotic phrase – as long as the game is completed we’ll get a result). A draw wouldn’t be bad in the circumstances; a win, naturally, would be particularly sweet. Given our current form, league position and the fact we haven’t beaten that lot away from home since ’93, this might be wishful thinking. However, there are some grounds for optimism. As I’ve noted elsewhere on these pages, I’m not ‘Arry’s biggest fan, but we are nevertheless enjoying the traditional new manager “bounce”, and there is a slight possibility that it may last beyond one game. Moreover, we always raise our game vs that lot. L’arse at home is usually our best performance of the season (5-1 anyone?), but even at their place we tend to look ok – a week before the 5-1 last year we came within ten mins of beating them at the Emirates; as already mentioned we had a glorious chance at 1-1 and a penalty in the league last year; and going back to 2006 we again came within 10 mins of beating them on their patch. We’ll raise our game, more than likely.
And yet, despite all these wild and fancy-free prognostications, I have a rather resigned feeling, deep down, that this will be a typical Spurs performance, not really looking like we’re going to win, and meekly subsding 2-1/3-1. It’s that same feeling that Andy Garcia’s character had in Black Rain, as he saw the gangster approaching him on a bike wielding a samurai sword, shortly before said sword lopped off his head. Despite what I wrote in my opening line, it’s that feeling of knowing exactly what to expect.