“You know, I’m starting to think that the 4-4 draw with Arsenal was two points lost…” – Lac, Sunday 2 November, 4.20am.
Ok, so maybe at that point I was started to get a bit carried away, but can you blame me? It’s worth remembering that only seven days ago we were in freefall – eight games, two points, bottom of the league. However, seven days, seven points, two big nights on the lash and not much sleep later, and in the early hours of this morning I finally started to get carried away.
However, as a Spurs fan it is in my essence to be pessimistic – so here’s the bad news.
Against l’arse, and far more so yesterday against Liverpool, we were completely outplayed. Never more so than in the Alamo-style siege of our goal in the ten minutes after half-time yesterday. How on earth we escaped from that with only a one-goal deficit I’m not sure. (The barrage also neatly encapsulated in a microcosm the best and worst of Gomes – outstanding in his acrobatic finger-tip save of Gerrard’s deflected shot, and plain mad in his back-pass that allowed Gerrard another chance just moments later.)
However, once that barrage had ended, I and several sage souls knowingly agreed that Spurs were likly to nick something from the game. As with l’arse three days earlier, any team that completely dominates Spurs, running rings around us and creating several billion chances, but failing to put ball in net, is asking for trouble. Having survived three woodwork interventions we then continued to violate Lady Luck by benefiting from an own goal (Carragher’s third for us in his career!) before stealing it at the death. There will be days when we outplay teams and don’t get the win we feel we deserve, so I’ll happily take this.
I’m still not convinced about this “fighting spirit, never-say-die” mantra the press are bleating on about. All the spirit in the world wouldn’t have saved us had l’arse and L’pool screwed in their shooting studs. We’ve amassed four points from these games primarily because of lucky breaks. However, unlike most teams who find themselves in the relegation zone, we do also have bundles of talent. A core made of marshmellow, but some exceptionally skilful players. Modric, while not yet bossing games, is beginning to show glimpses of class. Bentley’s confidence is providng an outlet for his inventiveness. THud’s eye for a defence-splitting pass is beginning to emerge. Lennon’s trickery and pace is beginning to open up oppo defences. Bent and Pav are scoring. What the two most recent games tell me is that we’re not in the same class as the top four. However, should we be lucky enough to remain within sight of such teams after they’ve had their spells of dominance, we have enough skilled players in our ranks to score goals, whoever the opposition. And with our talented players beginning to show confidence in their abilities, I expect that we’ll certainly turn over a few of the Premiership’s lesser teams in the next few months.
An abridged version of this badboy was also posted on the letters page of football365.com: