Well, unless our paths cross in the FA Cup, at least that’s games against Chelsea out of the way for another season.
But while the scoreline wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, the performance wasn’t anywhere near what I’d hoped for.
And although the team-selection and shape broadly hinted at Mourinho returning to his senses, there was nothing in the level of performance to suggest the team are about to snap out of their current winless malaise.
Which is concerning, because with West Brom today, Everton in the FA Cup on Wednesday, Man City next Saturday and the EUFA Cup resuming the following week, this could well go the way of the run we were on ahead of lock-down last February and March, sliding from 5th to 8th in the league, dumped out of the FA Cup (with Dier doing a better job of tackling that guy in the crowd than he managed with Timo Werner on Thursday), and soundly dumped out of Europe.
I guess the one sort of positive to try to take from Thursday is the fact that despite Chelsea sometimes looking as if they had an extra four or five players on the pitch, we somehow limited them to only two shots on target, and they only scored thanks to a ridiculous piece of defensive deficiency, not only by Dier but from Alderweireld and Sissoko as well, who could both see that the ball was loose with Dier on the deck yet chose to back away from the situation rather than try to help out.
We also could have nicked a draw right at the death, Vinicius fluffing his huge chance to shine.
But, overall, that was bleak, and it feels as if there is an air of bleakness hanging over the club and Mourinho, with this being the first time we’ve lost three on the trot since Villas-Boas’s 2012/13 season, where we went down one-nil at home to Wigan, 2-1 away to Manchester City and 5-2 away to Arsenal across match-weeks ten, eleven and twelve.
If we lose today, we will be embarking on our worst run of Premier League results since 2004/05 when Santini quit after defeats against Portsmouth, Bolton and Fulham and Jol’s first three games in charge ended in defeats to Charlton, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
This is also the first ever time Mourinho has lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League. I can’t see him losing a third one today – with Everton and Manchester City up next, I can’t see him surviving with us much longer if he does – but the fear has to be we’re in for a nil-nil draw given we’ve scored one single goal in 2.5 games of football since Kane limped off against Liverpool.
We’ve also got form for dropping rickets against West Brom at home. The first ever time I saw Spurs lose was a 2-3 reverse against The Baggies in 1984. More recently, we drew at home with them in 2012/13 (where two extra points would have seen us pip Arsenal into fifth at the end of the season), again in 2013/14, lost 0-1 in 2014/15 (Pochettino’s first season), drew with them in 2015/16 (the game before our draw with Chelsea handed Leicester the title; it was really this draw against West Brom that killed any faint hopes of us winning the title that season). We also drew with them in 2017/18 at Wembley, the last time they paid us a visit.
In-between those two 1-1 draws, they did pay us a visit in 2016/17, and again I was there, standing behind the goal we attacked in the first half, and we were magnificent, 21 shots, 73% possession, Pulis’s West Brom – who finished tenth that season and only conceded four goals twice across the whole campaign – absolutely destroyed by the base of Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Wanyama and Dembele, with Walker and Rose playing wing-backs and three quarters of DESK up top, Son the final member coming on as a sub.
This time around, despite all our woes, we really should have the ambition to be putting on a similar display. Outside of their surprise 2-3 victory over near-neighbours Wolves at Molinuex, they’ve lost five and drawn two of the eight matches Sam Allardyce has been in charge. Leeds and City have put five apiece past them under his watch and Arsenal four. They’ve just lost to Sheffield United. However, their win and one of the two draws they have picked up since Bilic was sacked after a 1-1 draw at The Etihad in match-week 13 came away from home, with a 1-1 draw at Anfield eventually being followed by a 2-2 draw at home against Fulham in their last but one game.
I can see this one being as tight and difficult to sit through as our 0-1 win at The Hawthorns in match-week 8, when Harry Kane’s last minute header saw us temporarily go top of the league ahead of Leicester beating Wolves a little bit later that day. We then followed that narrow squeak with one of our best performances under Mourinho, rope-a-doping City 2-0. How quickly things have changed in terms of our results and ambitions. More in hope than any sense of expectation – hmm, maybe not, seeing Kane has been named as a starter – fingers crossed today sees them change once again.
Come on you Spurs!