Having spent the best part of the last 48 hours imitating a battery chicken in various planes, trains and automobiles, I am now officially a Spurs fan in Oz. Worth noting that the arrival policy in Australia appears significantly more stringent than at Spurs, where anyone who has previously appeared is more than welcome to return.Trying to find out the Spurs-Stoke result was similar to one of those games in which you get the feeling we could play all night and into the morrow without scoring – for all the huffing and puffing, not much was being achieved. The game kicked off with me several thousand feet in the air, and and it quickly became apparent that attempts to access to any news from England were doomed to failure, let alone the result of what must unfortunately be classified as a relegation battle from the Premiership. Such delays certainly added to the tension though, and at around 1pm the following day there was an unobserved but hearty pumping of the fist in one small corner of Perth, as thescoreline finally filtered through.
Evidently we adopted 4-4-2, but I’m not convinced that such a game can be used as evidence in the great 4-4-2 vs 4-5-1 debate (see http://www.allactionnoplot.com/?p=294). Sometimes, when Spurs are at home against weak opposition they score a couple of early goals and begin to purr. On such occasions the formation is rarely the decisive factor. Instead we are driven by a sudden confidence, which provides a conduit for flair, and is aided by the fact that the visitors need to push forward in search of goals of their own, giving us some space to exploit.
I can’t pretend to have any real idea what sort of performance we gave against Stoke, but I’ve certainly seen us become something approaching irresistible on those occasions when we’ve scored two or three early goals. However, it is an infuriating truth familiar to most Spurs fans that the exact same eleven can be almost guaranteed to produce a barely recognisable performance merely days later. Such inconsistency has been the bain of the lives of Spurs fans the world ove. It would surprise few if the reportedly impressive peformance against Stoke were followed by one of the more toothless variety on Sunday against Bolton.
I’ve ranted before about the incredible ability of sportsmen to let circumstance dicate their level of performance, rather than simply resolving to seize a game by the scruff of the neck. Hence, Spurs will wait until 3-0 down vs Burnley and facing elimination before taking the game to their opponents; or will wait until a half-time rollicking rather thanapplying foot to accelerator from first whistle; or indeed will produce a high-octane 90-minute bravura performance against l’Arse, but resort back to the insipid in the very next game, against lesser opponents. While lack of information means it is just conjecture, I’d be willing to wager that the period in between our third goal and half-time saw us produce some of our best football of the season. Why oh why can’t they do it every week, for 90 minutes?
However, I shall sign off in a spirit of unusual optimisim, and point out that whilethe routine demolition of a weaker team can often be followed by weekend defeat to similarly weak team, we nevertheless ought to fancy our chances of buidling on the Stoke win and putting together a run of points that would steer us well clear of the drop-zone.