Presumably there will have been some of lilywhite hue whose instant reaction to this catastrophe was to overturn the nearest car, set fire to their own hair and demand the instant sacking of two from Messrs Walker, BAE and Defoe. The mood at AANP Towers is rather more sanguine – for as defeats go, this one was not of the ilk to have me tying oversized weights to the ankles and flinging myself into the nearest river.
“Oh for the love of…”
True, the catalogue of individual idiocy was so bewildering it melted a small part of my brain, but it hardly makes us a bad team, and until the Walker-Lloris routine we were looking good value for another hard-earned win. While it does not make for a very sensational headline, there is little to suggest that we will fail to register more hard-earned wins in the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, the miscreants de jour deserve to be pelted with a tomato each, or at least made to don cone-shaped headwear bearing the letter “D” for the remainder of the week. Walker and Defoe can expect to be led into a quiet room where first of all their heads are banged together – presumably to the resounding echo of hollowness – after which the most basic basics of football can be laid out to them, with the aid of monosyllabic words, pictures and dolls. Lloris deserves a single lash of a whip across his back, not only for the World’s Worst Clearance of a Backpass Ever, but also for making veritable hordes of Spurs fans across the time-zones look rather silly for all those times we have waxed lyrical about how rip-roaring his sweeping is. Sigurdsson could usefully be made to practise shooting until the soles of his feet bleed, while Benny… sometimes I wonder if there is a cure for whatever brain disengagement thing it is that Benny has.
Still, aside from those individual acts of dunderheadedness this made for a chin-strokingly absorbing display. A sluggish start boded ill, but thereafter our heroes separated their well-timed tackles from their scything through-balls, and by the hour-mark we looked every inch a team swaggering its way to Three-Point City.
Lennonlessness; and Dembele the Renegade Master
This despite the dubious attempt to cope with life without Lennon. Heaven knows why we croon that there is only one diminutive jazz-handed speed-merchant, because the absence of an exact body double caused a problem yesterday. Rather than deploy Holtby on the right, AVB threw Livermore into the centre, with the principal jobs of flexing his biceps and delivering eight-yard sideways passes, while the overwhelmingly left-footed Dembele was square-pegged out onto the right wing. Understandably enough, the Belgian’s right-wing forays tended to abort fairly swiftly with a turn infield. However, macho renegade 80s action movie star that he is, Dembele seemed not to care two hoots about the intricate pre-game tactics, and wandered off into the centre whenever he jolly well pleased – doing a mighty effective job of it too. Blessed with the instinct to move forward at every opportunity, like some sort of genetically-engineered antithesis of Jermaine Jenas, he mozeyed past opponents as if they were not there, and for good measure had them bouncing off his monstrous frame every time they did get close enough to give him a furtive shove.
‘Tis a sign of the times that when the current Tottenham vintage score they no longer default to a less urgent approach of sitting deeper, moving the ball slower and passing sideways, but instead go galloping off in search of more. The mentality has changed from those Jenas-Huddlestone days, to a more energetic Dembele-Bale approach. Even Scott Parker seems to have discovered a latent urge to set off on a 40 yard trundle into a cul-de-sac around the opposition area. They could probably all benefit from releasing the ball a little earlier, but it is a heart-warming sentiment neverthelss. Alas, ‘twas undone yesterday by individual moments of startling mentalism. For sure it may yet transpire that we again spend the final couple of months of the season resolutely undoing all the good work of the previous seven, but we really do seem to be playing too well for that to happen.