This is no time for deck chairs on the beach.

 

Todays game is as important as any other (maybe more so), we’ll need to be on our game to ensure we get the result we all want, 3 luverly points!

I would love Bournemouth indoors to be another demolition job, we could very well do so but, this season those plucky seasiders haven’t been all that bad at all. They may not have had the best of times in recent games but Eddie Howe has done a decent job so far this season.

Provided we’re not hungover and bloated from our toffee turkey feast t’other day, we should have more than enough to get the job done. We all know the big games are important, but it’s a run of games like we have ahead of us where we need to show our credentials and stamp our authority on the opposition, put pressure on the teams above us, and take away any hope of catching us for the teams below.

COYS!!!!

Let it flow let it flow let it flow …

This just in from someone:
I mean really is there anything better than watching your team jiving with the ball, in sync with the footie Gods?
The 6th goal epitomized the best of us without a sniff from the opposition in a glorious paradigm of our talent Kane on the end if a total team effort
I wouldn’t call it a shaky start but it wasn’t the best as we gave the werthers some opportunities to hurt us but it wasn’t long before we took control. We werthered the 30 second storm though and then took off….
Sissoko moving the ball out of defence with his usual power and into the final third was always good and seeing so many of his quality teammates buzzing around looking for the ball was exciting as you knew most were on especially as the game moved along.
Son looked right on, Dele in control, Eriksen, Kane… They were all showing up everywhere to the point that we ultimately looked like we had double the players Everton had. It was like water… It Flowed everywhere.
Trippier started a bit iffy but then hit a wonderful free kick…. Eriksen a sensational goal from a nice ball from Kane. It was all tremendous stuff enjoyed by all who truly love Tottenham. 6 beauties.
Flow is constant symmetry. The understanding and chemistry of players working together to create something of beauty that ends up with a result. The score is merely a marker.
Flow. It shakes the heart and soul.
We achieved such a height in this one. It’s something I cherished from the early 60’s and have waited for.
Guess who?

You want some, Grandad?

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So, other than the PL defeat to Arsenal, the fact the new stadium still isn’t open, the fact Poch is off to United or Real or only staying because he’s a limp and trophy-less bottle-job patsy, things are looking okay, just about, I suppose: We scraped a draw against Barca-B to limp into the knock-out stages of the CL, we just about scraped a win against Burnley to keep Chelsea in fourth for a week longer than anyone expected us to, and we fluked a couple of route one goals against Arsenal-lite to progress in a cup no-one is interested in unless Spurs fail to win it (in which case it suddenly morphs into a major trophy Poch is too much of a bottle-job-patsy to guide us to, and something else to beat Levy over the cranium with).

Although, as okayish as I grudgingly admit these flukey results have been, we could seriously have done without the two-legged semi against Chelsea, because, let’s face it (ignoring the fact the last times we’ve played them at theirs or ‘ours’ we’ve done them 3-1) they always stuff us. And, even if we do somehow fluke a win, we’ll only get stuffed in the final against City, which will demoralise us for the second leg of our CL tie against Dortmund which is going to happen a mere nine days later, so yeah, if you ask me, we’d have been better off losing to Arsenal or Barca or both. All this progression. It’s just papering over the cracks.

Seriously, despite the stadium delay, the lack of a pre-season, the lack of signings, the constant swirl of belittling and negative media bullshit, we’re third in the league, still in every cup competition we entered, and – definitely since the Chelsea game – have been creating a good number of chances per game and playing some lovely football (and I feel we’d steadily been improving in these respects for quite a few weeks before we took apart the unbeaten Chelsea).

And, with every passing week, we’re seeing more and more evidence that Poch has come on leaps and bounds in terms of rotating his squad and making in-game changes: Only the decision to rest Toby for the Arsenal PL game looks questionable, and even though that was a decision that obviously backfired, had Toby played in that game and not been available for subsequent games for any reason, we might not now be in the knock-out stages of the CL and five points clear of our selfie-loving immigrant neighbours, because he’s been as great as ever in all the games he’s played since. And there are still no guarantees playing Toby against Arsenal would have altered that result. As Taff pointed out on a previous bloeug, it’s not like we’ve never lost a game Toby has started in.

Elsewhere in the squad, Davies has upped his game at left-back and done a job for us in the middle when called upon. Skipp looked good in his full PL debut. Walker-Peters will not face sterner tests than he did against Barca and I felt he came through that okay, on the whole. Kane, as ever, is Kane, and Eriksen is Eriksen again after a slow start to the season: Son, too, has fully recovered from an understandable slow start. Even Rose seems to be getting back to his best. And Sissoko (if you turn away when you see he’s lining up to shoot) has continued his metamorphosis from whatever he was to whatever he is, with his performance against Barca underlining just how important he is becoming to us: Also, it was his willingness to attempt to run the ball between two defenders in Leicester’s box which created the space for Son to score the opener for us that night, with the move coming just a few moments after the excellent Dele Halli (™ – Antspurs) had caused havoc doing the same sort of thing on the opposite side of the Foxes area.

Gazzaniga looks an upgrade on Vorm, too, though two acts of distribution on Wednesday made me wonder if it was Hugo in a Gazzaniga suit. And, talking of Hugo, he’s been looking much more solid for us lately, which, maybe, is down to the fact Gazzaniga has put in strong performances each time he’s been handed the gloves, finally applying some pressure to our esteemed number one, who, for me, is still our number one and still one of the best in the league.

All in all, as far as this dumb-dumb’s concerned, it’s been a very enjoyable few weeks, and the best first half to a season I can remember since… since… well, I wouldn’t like to say, but definitely since Redknapp’s day. PL wise, the only team we’ve lost to who we shouldn’t really be losing to is Watford; that game – plus, maybe, the defeat to the Dippers, where I did take some solace from the fact we should have had a penalty at the death which might have won us an undeserved draw – is the only performance that’s left me totally stone cold; as unpleasant and deserved as the defeats to City and Arsenal were, we at least had a go in those games. We’ve beaten United and Spammers away and Chelsea at home. In the Carabo, we’ve beaten Spammers and Arsenal away (meaning, I think, Anfield is now the only major domestic ground Poch hasn’t led us to victory at – yet). In the CL, we’ve become one of something like only sixteen teams to ever qualify from their group having only one point from the opening three games, and, in all honesty, should have cavorted to second with an away draw against Inter and an away win against PSV, outcomes that were well within our grasp in both games. The defeat at Wembley to Barca was nothing to be ashamed of either, and other than Hugo’s howler and the score-line, I don’t see how most of our fans could not have enjoyed watching that game.
Our recent PL wins over Leicester and Burnley – games we lost and drew last year – also mean we’re now an impressive eleven points better off than we were following games against equivalent teams last season, and a still impressive eight points better off than we were after the same number of games, where we’d just defeated Stoke 5-2 and Brighton 2-0 in back-to-back ‘home’ fixtures and were seventh in the table behind Arsenal, Dippers, Burnley, Chelsea, and both of the Manchester massives. We were just about to head up to City for a 4-1 shellacking, though, which would leave us flailing helplessly 21 points in their wake in the miserable Manchester rain (don’t go up there, Poch – it’s all grey and dreary and wet (sorry, Northern Spur; only joking).

This time around we’re five points behind them and six points off Dippers, heading to Everton, who are eighth and seem to be having a bit of a mixed bag of things, with their last two home PL games seeing them draw with Watford and Newcastle, and their last two away games seeing them lose to City and – albeit unfortunately – Dippers. Slightly further back, though, they softened Chelsea up nicely for us with a nil-nil at The Bridge the weekend before we got to spank the third team out of three in this season’s title race for the second time this calendar year. Other than that, though, there’s no real scalps for the Toffees to boast of this season, and the Spammers one-threed them at Goodison following four hilarious defeats in Pellegrini’s first four games in charge.

Talking of Goodison, though, it’s yet another ground I rarely feel we do well at, but, again, recent history shows our record there isn’t too shabby, with Poch leading us to a one-nil win in his first season, nil-nil and one-one draws in his second and third seasons, and a none-too shabby three nil win in the fourth round of fixtures last season. With relatively straight-forward games for everyone around us – except, perhaps, Dipper’s becoming only the second top-six team to win at Wolves last night – a repeat of that points-return is the minimum required to help the team and the club keep on papering over the cracks. It’s a bit concerning how close Merseyside is to Manchester, though, so perhaps the club should insist that Poch doesn’t travel to this one: As anyone who’s not a confirmed dumb-dumb will (all too willingly) tell you, there’s not much chance he’ll bother to come back.

Delicious Dele by Shelfy

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Dedicated to Dele

Spurs don’t play for a couple of days so its a bit early for the pre match bloeug and with so many great comments post match on the last bloeug it hardly seemed worth recapping the foxes game, though an away victory against recent Premier League Champs and nouveaux bitter rivals surely does deserve some crowing by the Cockerel that out foxed the foxes.

However today’s offering is dedicated to Dele to mark the occasion of his fiftieth (yes 50th) goal for the mighty Totteringhams of Hotspurland. He’s the best player called Jermaine that we’ve had at Spurs since…. well he’s the best player called Jermaine we had and we’ve had some good runs and some not so good!

One of the greatest managers of all time (well certainly recent time) Sir Alex Ferguson said of Dele, in March 2016 and I quote:

“He is probably the best young midfielder I have seen in many years, probably going back as far as Gascoigne”

and more recently he reiterated his point by saying,

“This guy can be one of the best midfielders in Europe”,

I believe SAF had a good eye for young talent and his opinion on such matters should be highly valued.

The story of Dele as it is unfolding before our very eyes bares testimony to SAF’s prophecy. The landmark fiftieth goal in not much over 100 starts for Spurs speaks for itself in terms of goal scoring prowess but I think there is so much more to this young man than goal scoring.

Yesterday for example in the absence of Eriksen I watched as Dele produced a command performance. He seemed to take on more responsibility for bringing teammates into play, more passing and less flicks (though his little cameo in the box where he tricked his way through the foxes defense was sublime). Similarly against MK Dons when he was given the armband he produced a more mature performance than usual. In fact I think his trajectory has been toward more solid team play than previous seasons, hard graft as well as fancy footwork.

The game against Chelsea was a masterclass of man marking one of the best passers of the ball out of the game. It will hardly show up in stats and isn’t what he is known for but it was a huge part of why we won and something none of us (to my knowledge) had ever expected from him based on our comments and banter.

He is fast becoming a team leader and I think that shows more when he is the main man. Without Kane and Eriksen yesterday, Dele stepped up, showed leadership and maturity, took responsibility and was in my mind the key difference maker. He still was able to showcase some of his outrageous abilities, he still scored, he still made a number of penetrating darts into the box but in addition he involved his teammates more than usual and drove the side forward, in my opinion it was a more rounded performance than normal and more productive.

I love his attitude, I love that he cried in the locker room when he got sent off, I love some of his quotes, especially about competitiveness:

“I’d love to play for Spurs and play at White Hart Lane. It won’t be easy, and I’ll have fight for my place in the team, but I’ll work hard to do that”

“I have always had confidence in my ability; I knew I’d get a chance coming here. That’s one of the main reasons why I signed for Tottenham”.

“Steven Gerrard was someone I looked up to massively. I’d always try to copy him, right down to the boots he was wearing. It was his attitude on the pitch that stood out – you could really see how much he hated losing”

“Do you need an aggressive streak to thrive? You could say that. A lot of the great players have that mentality”.

“I’m not going to lie: I’m a competitive player. I think there’s no point playing football if you’re not competitive and you don’t want to win games”.

“Aggression is something that is a part of me, and I’m never going to take that out of my game”.

“I have made a few mistakes with my temper, I know. But I have learned from that”.

Of course its not all about aggression and competitiveness:

“I like to enjoy the game and to have fun and express myself as much as I can”

Sure we missed CE’s vision and range of incisive passing to a certain extent yesterday, and boy would I hate to see him leave, but in Dele I see a creative successor and/or complement to CE and as Dele’s game evolves and if the unthinkable should happen that CE decides the lure of the Spanish lucre is just too much to resist I think Dele will be able to fill the void.

A final thought: My daughter was a little disappointed in me, when I went to Wembley last month because I was supposed to take a sign saying ‘Dele, please marry my daughter’. She doesn’t know much about football other than:

Spurs are the greatest team in the world,

Harry Kane #10 the greatest striker on Earth plays for Spurs and England,

Son – he’s so cute he always looks happy,

Harry Winks he’s cute too, and

Dele – he’s my boyfriend, he just doesn’t know it yet.

What else does she need to know? What more does a father need to teach his girl?!

Through, not Threw

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So this is what happens when a Manager instils Belief in a squad.  Some of our fan base, including on here (Shelfy, others?) dared to dream or make predictions that we would get the result that we needed and things would pan out well in the other tie (or over the whole group), but…..but, these lads had to actually go out and do it on the night.  No giving up until the 90+ET minute.  Keep playing our game.  Calm.  Focussed.  Trusting teammates.

We started well.  First 5 minutes I remember thinking; “We’re up for this tonight” and then BAM!  Sucker punched again.  FFS! Another big game, another individual error gifting a tough opponent an early goal.  I’m not digging KWP out specifically, Dembele was on him in a flash, but the reality is that we too often cause our own problems in these games.  Luckily this time, we had the minerals, the BELIEF, to turn it round.

As the first half ebbed and flowed we rode our luck a little, whilst also creating our own chances.  Apart from the goal, I’d say it was honours even, without having looked at any stats at all.

Second half:  ‘We are Tottenham, we’re in the Camp Nou, and we are here to kick your collective arses.’

Moussa smashing around.

Danny Rose finally, FINALLY! looking like the player he used to be.  Taking on players and beating them.  So good to see.  If we can get Serge back and improving, and Rosey carrying on on this trajectory, we can have two properly effective wing/full backs with good enough back up for lesser games.  Harsh on Tripps and Davies but you suddenly see what we’ve been missing when our full backs are actually providing a threat.

Harry finding a way to influence the game, even if he was having an off-night in front of goal (involved in 16 goals in 16 CL games – 13 goals, 3 assists).  Dele classy as always.

Lamela and Moura on at just the right time.

All in all, a great night, one to remember and draw to confidence from.  We can take anyone on.  The Flat Oeufers, that is.

No fear.

Belief.

 

Shelfy’s Pre-Match Postulations

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Foxes and Chickens

Next stop the King Power where the Cockerels visit the Foxes; let’s hope our feathers don’t get ruffled.

I sometimes wonder if we Spurs fans would have a soft(er) spot for LCFC’s title winning team if it hadn’t been our boys doing the chasing? Would we take heart that perhaps one day we too could overcome the odds? That they pushed and pulled and generally cheated their way to the title would probably be all forgiven if it had been Arsenal that had stumbled at the last minute rather than us (not that we really stumbled until it was all over). To be fair it was due to Leicester that we were entertained by the game now known as the Battle of the Bridge. I imagine were it not for chasing them, that game would have been a tame affair and would be long since forgotten.

Back to the present day and LCFC have had a run of draws recently: Burnley, Brighton, Southampton and Fulham, punctuated by a 2 – 0 win against Watford. Their fans will will no doubt taunt ours with chants of ‘Tottenham Hotspur we’re waiting for you’ a little reminder and some salt in the old wound.

Our boys on the other hand have had a terrible run of form and it looks like the wheels have fallen off and the world is about to end. Long ago in the distant past there were wins against Inter and Chelsea but fresh in the mind is the horror show at the library. Even the ritual sacrificing of the Saints wasn’t enough to placate the naysayers especially as the victims had the temerity to mount a bit of a fight back even after all hope had been lost.

More “woe is us material” as injuries are mounting up, somehow proving how terrible our owner was not buying any new players last summer. The sick room is full to overflowing, when was it ever any different? The defense is sparsely manned, my goodness how we are missing young Davinson, and so with Juan Foyth being injured we might have to play Toby and Jan despite having a potentially season defining game a few days later against the giants from Spain.
At least the Foxes own talisman, Jamie Vardy, is also out but nevertheless they always offer a counterattacking threat. I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet so hopefully we will simply outscore them. Wouldn’t it be nice to go three nil up early in the second half and be able to coast through the rest of the game…. perhaps not!

Finally don’t forget the unusual kick off time, quarter of an hour early for some reason.

Saints or Sinners?

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Well, that thwump you all heard was probably the sound of us crashing back down to earth following the Chelsea and Inter results, as The Emirates proved an unhappy hunting ground for Spurs once again.
Two out of three, though – as Meatloaf once said – aint bad, especially when one of them was the most welcome mullering of Chelsea, and even the defeat to Arsenal was a step-up from last season’s woeful surrender.
And as both of the PL matches were defeats last season, it means we’re still better off now than we were after fourteen matches last year, where we followed up our glorious 4-1 strut over the Dippers by losing to Man U, one-nilling Palace at home, losing away at The Emirates, drawing at ‘home’ to the mighty West Brom and putting in another of last season’s least impressive performances at the King Power in a 2-1 defeat which could have been much, much worse.
All of which had us 7th in the table behind Burnley and Liverpool, four and five points behind Arsenal and Chelsea (who occupied fourth and third), spluttering in the wake of both clubs from Manchester, and perennially potless on 24 points.
Which, oddly enough, is exactly the same number of points we managed to gather last season in games against the same opposition we’ve faced so far this time around.
Now, of course, we’re on thirty points, fifth in the table, and not quite so far behind Chelsea and Arsenal. We’ve also cut the gap between City and ourselves from 16 to 8. Despite the popular conception that we’ve stood still or gone backwards, United are the ones who have really regressed, and only the Dippers have upped the ante, winning themselves an extra ten points than they’d managed this time last year:
Yet, like us up until the Chelsea performance, they too seem to be being tarred with the brush of not yet having clicked into gear.
Though, of course, following Sunday, there’ll be those claiming that what we did against Chelsea counts for nothing. There were some, even, claiming it counted for nothing before that – wind-up merchant Adrian Durham was wumming away early last week that Spurs beating Chelsea was nothing new and didn’t signal anything to get excited about, because, see, we beat them 5-3 at The Lane in 14/15 and then 2-0 at The Lane in 16/17, and won nada in each of those seasons. Which is fair comment, I suppose, if you’re determined to suck all the enjoyment from life. But it does mean the dumb-dumbs among us now have a stellar performance against a team that wandered into Wembley unbeaten to point at the next time someone tells us to stop enjoying ourselves because our football’s dull and we happily take a tummy-tickling anytime anyone half-decent turns up to play.
We weren’t too shabby against Inter, either, and can now head to Barca with our fate in our own hands – even if that fate does turn out to be getting slaughtered and dropping into the Ropey with Arsenal and Chelsea, at least it’s still in our own hands.
And talking of Arsenal, I drank just enough Peroni to feel oddly unbothered by what had gone on. And then, at some stage after full-time, staggered up TESCO express and bought me some more. Performance-wise, not great. Line-up wise, not great. Entertainment-wise, if we have to lose, even to Arsenal, let it be in matches like that: I love how up for it Arsenal’s players and fans are for our visits these days, because, let’s face it, there was a spell early on in the Wenger reign where it felt as if we were becoming a bit of an irrelevance to them. Not anymore. They wanted that, and wanted it badly, and could have been out of sight before the all-too-brief turn-around through Deir’s header and Kane’s penalty. After that, though, I thought we gave as good as we got for the rest of the first half and started the second half better than they did, only to pretty much evaporate as soon as they levelled again: Even though Son had a decent chance at 2-2, I just felt we were doomed to defeat as soon as they pulled level. I don’t know if it’s tiredness, tactics, Poch’s lack of in-game management and substitutions, whether they just bullied us out of it, but whatever it was, we were gone for the day. It was over: After recording three 1-1 draws in his first three matches in charge of us at The Emirates, it’s now two defeats on the trot. It would be nice to think we can do something about that in the quarter final on the 19th, but it wouldn’t shock me if an under-strength Spurs side find themselves up against Arsenal’s strongest possible side, in which case I hold out less than zero in terms of optimism and hope.
Long before we get to head to The Emirates again, though, it’s Southampton sans Sparky under the luminous arch, the fifth time Poch’s old side have come calling since Levy tempted him away almost as acrimoniously as he did Hoddle way back in 2001. It’s fair to say, as much as I love Hoddle and desperately wanted him to succeed as manager here, Poch’s tenure has seen us take greater strides towards where we all want to be: In the four seasons Hoddle was back at the club, we finished twelfth, ninth, tenth and fourteenth, although, of course, Hod was only fully responsible for the middle two campaigns: In the way it so often happens in football, Levy let Glenda go the day after a 3-1 home schooling by Saints, with James Beattie getting two of the goals.
As Hoddle rightly pointed out around the time he and Sherwood were publicly vying for the chance to take temporary charge following the Levying of AVB, the Tottenham he inherited from George Graham was a much weaker beast than the Spurs side Sherwood won control of in December 2013, both as a team and as a club. Personally, I’d have much rather have had Hoddle back for the rest of that season than Sherwood, and one of my major doubts about Poch being the right man for us was the fact Sherwood’s Spurs beat Poch’s Saints home and away that season, with Saints having led us in both matches. There was also an undercurrent of doubt from Saints fans which still have an air of validity today: Lack of in-game management, poor substitutions, disregard for cups. Still, though, even though I wouldn’t dismiss these criticisms about Poch and the Toby decision is up there with some of his strangest, I feel he’s the best manager we’ve had in my time as a match-going supporter, which dates back to Shreeves in 85, with Venables the only real challenger to that title: Poch has already matched and beaten Venables’ best league finishes with Spurs, though, and, hopefully, by the time he eventually leaves us, he’ll have learned a thing or two about playing his strongest eleven against our strongest opponents and overhauled Venables trophy-wise too.
As for his record against Saints, other than the penultimate game of the 15/16 season – where we followed the Battle of the Bridge with a tame 2-1 loss to them ahead of that spanking by Newcastle to gift Arsenal second – we’ve beaten them every time they’ve come calling, with last season’s Boxing Day 5-2 being the stand-out performance, and Kane’s hattrick enabling him to break all sorts of calendar-year scoring records.
And as for who we faced in this round of fixtures last year, it was away to Watford, where a Son leveller and a Sanchez sending off saw us hang on for a one-all draw in another subdued performance.
Obviously, the sacking of Sparky could put a slightly different skew on this one – potential caretaker manager / imminent new manager bounce – but if we want to be making top four and keeping some semblance of optimism ahead of Leicester on Saturday and Barca next week, that really can’t be allowed to happen. Other than their two-two draw against United on Saturday, they’ve lost by three goals to Liverpool and Chelsea and shipped six against City. Only a victory by three or more goals will allow the dumb-dumbs among us to confidently claim Arsenal was simply one high pressure game in too short a time-frame too many. A narrower victory, and the jury will be out. A draw or defeat will be the end of the world. Especially for me, because I’m travelling up to the game with two Saints season ticket holders: Anything less than a victory, and I’m skulking back home on my own.

SHELFY’s N.L.D. Bloeug

SHELFY WRITES:

Going Inter the Library with Momentum

Last up Inter at Wembley. The result? Never in doubt. Our boys outplayed, outfought, out scored and now have an outside chance of progressing in the CL, their destiny back in their own hands. (I love that word… Destiny), Winning that game was probably even more important than just keeping our CL hopes alive, much more important than that; it provided a confidence boost, rather than a feeling of deflation, a momentum boost as we are on a good solid unbeaten run.

Next up Arsenal, the result, shouldn’t be in doubt. Our boys can outplay, outfight, outmuscle, outrun and outscore Arsenal and give themselves an outside chance of winning the league, their destiny (that word agin but now in my best Darth Vader voice) is to be a force to be reckoned with, champions in the making. I don’t even mind if some of the dark side, dark arts are used in this game, whatever it takes (sorry Unk).

So which Spurs will show up? The ones who ran their hearts out against Inter or the ones who played too much like fancy Dans and blew a lead a few weeks earlier against Inter (and Watford, and PSV away). Being a derby my money, which is admittedly a scarce commodity, is on the former.

I think we all expect a game of blood and thunder. Blood for sure if Coco Lamela is playing; thunder, well I haven’t looked at the weather forecast. I am sure both sets of players will be ‘well up for it’ because a slow start could be a disaster.

They have momentum too, a long unbeaten run going, but really apart from the draw with Scousehampton who have they played? Leicester, Palace, Bournemouth, Wolves and a bunch of second tier European clubs, and they even haven’t won all of those games. I think they will be confident to begin with, but the stuffing could be quickly knocked out of them if we bully them like I think we can. We will need to do that anyway to win, like Poch says our boys need to be warriors, winning their duels needs to be a matter of honor.

So the busy period starts, who can the coach rest?

Lloris, not likely and really no need. He has been playing a lot better recently and his distribution in particular has improved. I like that he sprinkles in a lot more long balls for HK to fight for rather than poncing about with it at the back.

Aurrier and Davies, not likely as Trips is injured and though Rose has ‘form’ in this game he may not be fit enough to start, midweek next may be a better time for his reintroduction, though Poch surprised us all (and our Danny) last year by playing him against Madrid.

Will Jan and Toby form the central defensive partnership? I think so. Jan is famed for his ability as a natural athlete, to be able to run all day, so I think the young gun Juan will have to wait for the midweek game for his next start.

Sissoko, isn’t he undroppable right now? Who ever thought they would read that?

Winks – sadly I think he will be rested and the bigger lads will play, enter Dier, not too shabby a replacement for this type of game

Up front I can’t see anything other than the DESK starting this game. D, E and S are relatively fresh having had time out due to injuries and K, well he isn’t sitting this one out unless hell freezes over.

Maybe Son gets rested and used as an impact sub and one of Lucas or Lamela starts. I wouldn’t mind either way, all three bring plenty of positives.

Tactically I think we will be back to our normal formation 4231 with Dele in a freer role than he was against the racist scum. Arsenal haven’t had a dangerous deep lying playmaker since Fabregas took the Russian oil money so need to man mark like he did against Georgie Porgie.

Just 4 more hours until the early kick off. Anticipation anyone? Exited much?

NWHL is here!

My spirits are raised. Our best players are back in the fold and we’re playing some great football again. And the morning after last week’s glorious demolition of Chelsea I took a stroll around our spectacular new home. Since my last gallery here a lot has changed, all of it beautiful to echo the beautiful football. The attention to detail around the ground is exceptional and I think any of you lucky enough to get down here when we play will be well pleased. It was grey day so the shots aren’t as vibrant as I would have liked, but enjoy the slideshow!

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I normally only buy the home shirts but I love this one so much that I made an exception and strolled into the new mahoosive shop and snaffled one for a mere £xx.xx.

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COYS!

Oh, and before I go, get a load of this!
Fan Familiarisation Event

It’s close, so close…

Shelfy’s Debut!

Esteemed bloeugger OTS84 writes:

Next up Inter Milan, who are like Spurs sitting third in their domestic league and enjoying a decent run of form. They had a comfortable 3-0 win at the weekend against struggling Frosione, and based on the highlights I saw, didn’t really look too extended during the game, and even rested a few of their players.

Their game seems to be based on a 433 with the front 3 willing to press. The goals at the weekend came from winning the ball near halfway and pushing on fairly quickly. Though in fairness all of the goals were probably ones that a better opposition could and should have defended.

So what do we need? A win of course but not any old win, it needs to be better than the 2-1 reversal we suffered at their place. Just like in the knockout stages, away goals are important so a 1 nil to us or a two clear goal advantage is needed. Almost nothing else will do.

The Milanese know this of course and so they may treat us to an old fashioned Italian defensive masterclass, though honestly I don’t think they can bolt the door as tightly shut as Juventus and it seems more likely they will have a go and try and get the away goal. Poch and his backroom team will have done a darn better good of scouting them than the ten minutes of internet research I did and our boys should be ready for whatever tactics are thrown at them.

Our boys are in the midst of a busy period, eight thousand games in six days in December with an injury depleted squad, having just dispatched the Chavs and next up the Gooners what could be more exciting! The coaches will need to rotate carefully to make sure we don’t overplay a few stars and end up with an even busier physio.

How much rotation will Poch do? We used to be able to predict the likely starting eleven reasonably easy, after all we always rotated full backs and always started DESK as the front four, then play Moussa, no not Sissoko, the other one, Dembele every other game rotating him with Winks or Wanyama alongside the ever-present Dier.

Now we can’t rotate full backs because Trips and Rose are injured though I suppose KWP maybe given a shot. It is up front that a lot has changed with the emergence of Lucas and the reemergence of the very much invigorated Lamela. Can we really drop Son after Saturday for Lucas, can we find a spot for Lamela given his nous and experience against Italian teams? Dele has found some sparkling form and we know CE makes us tick. Hey its a good problem for Poch to have, and its a long time since we had such an abundance of riches up front.

So I don’t do predictions other than we will win – I always think we will win. I always have even during the dark days when we usually didn’t but I still thought we would. Will we win well enough? Will we be able to follow it up with a win against Barca in Spain or should I say the Basque country? If we beat Inter we will need to at least match their last group game result, and they have PSV who quite frankly were lucky to be on the same pitch as us (great game and thanks again Flatty for the ticket), so in all probability we will have to beat Barca as well or face Thursday night trips to far flung destinations.

Whatever the result I hope the fans get behind our boys from the first minute to the last and the boys on the pitch give us a glory glory night to remember.

COYS

The Modern Enemy

Image result for chelsea fans fighting

Chelsea at home then. Actually, not quite home, home from home.

I don’t want to steal Dan’s regular Friday thunder, but this is now for me THE derby.

Looking back at the past few seasons, games between us lot and them lot actually mean something, rather than the Arsenal games that have had little affect on final league positions, cup runs etc. Our old enemy have moved well behind us, there is no doubt, and although the NLD is always an important fixture on the calendar, the stakes are relatively low, apart from the obligatory bragging rights. We will finish well above them again this season.

The 2016/17 season saw us compete with Chelsea for the title, running them pretty close for most of the 2nd half of the season, though falling 7 points short. If we’d have won the November away game, then it could have been extremely close.

The same season saw us lose to them in the semi finals of the FA Cup, and in the previous season they were the victors against us in the League Cup final too.

It’s very easy to throw around comments such as “this is the most important game of the season so far”, which I usually find difficulty in understanding. We’re in a position where we expect or need to win most games, so the next game is always the most important.

But this is important, very important.

We’ve not hit top form this season, not by a long way in my eyes, but are still only 5 points off the incredible Man City in the league standings , and one point behind Chelsea.

Chelsea haven’t lost yet, and a loss to us on Saturday, combined with us leapfrogging them in the PL table could have longer lasting consequences.

It would also give our team a well needed boost for the busy schedule ahead.

I want this win, bad.

Season defining? Probably not. But it wouldn’t ‘alf ‘elp.

 

Sissoko the Marmite Man.

Sissoko the enigma, the player who’s rarely if ever seen in the celebrity haunts, who seems to get a certain amount of dogs abuse which ever club he’s at. A man who keeps his life off the pitch with his 6 year old son Kai and partner very much out of the public eye. So who is this guy who despite playing for his  country over 50 times, a country that has won the World Cup twice, is looked upon as a bit of a comical character who some say can trap the ball further than he can kick it?
Moussa Sissoko was born on the 16th of August, 1989 in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France. He was born to parents of Malian decent whom little is known about. Sissoko’s mother was a housewife while his father worked as a construction worker at the time of his birth.
Sissoko was born as the eldest of four children, with three younger sisters.
Young Sissoko started his career in football enrolling at a youth club, Esperance Aulnay when he was only six. Esperance Aulnay is a youth club based in nearby Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb in northeastern Paris where he stayed for three years.
His youth club career then took a step up when he joined Red Star Paris on a season-long stint. It was at Red Star that Sissoko put up impressive performances that secured him a move to Toulouse in 2003 where he first started to come to the attention of the wider football community. He progressed through all stages of the France junior teams from U16 to U21 between 2005 to 2011 but got his first full cap in 2009.

It was at Toulouse that Sissoko made his Champions League debut in 2007.
In 2009 he began to get interest  from Tottenham Hotspur as well as Manchester City, Inter Milan, Juventus and German giants Bayern Munich, although a move never materialized due to his club’s unwillingness to let him go. Moussa finally left for Newcastle in the 2013 where he stayed until they got relegated in 2016. He apparently formed a close relationship with Benitez during his time with the club but must have realised that while Ashley was in charge he would be very unlikely to win anything hence his reason for coming to Spurs 😏.
He has a love for DC comic characters Spiderman and Superman and is also a lover of French music.
Moussa Sissoko is clearly a marmite (with a hint of Scotch bonnet) character. His many detractors site his often ungainly attempts to control the ball. His inability to hit a cows backside with a banjo in from of goal. His occasional wayward passes. Even his recent improvements over the last few matches are stated as coming from such a low starting point as to be insignificant compared to his team mates.
The other side of the coin shows him as someone who’s head never drops. Who always presents himself to receive a pass (not the case when he first joined). A player who can go on a storming run deep into the opposition half. A player who Poch clearly trusts. A player who the fans are now singing songs about. He will never win over all the fans, his failings, for some, will always outway his contribution to the team and when he leaves us I suspect it will be the same at his next club as it was previously at Newcastle. It’s who he is.
This may be extrapolating a comparison too far but take a player like Berbatov. Capable of two or three moments of outstanding brilliance per game. The rest of the time, he didn’t look like he could be bothered to be on the pitch. There’s laid back and there’s comatose and at times in my opinion he was the latter. Nevertheless all his failings and thoughts what he could have been if he tried like Kane, were normally forgotten just for those few fleeting moments of brilliance. Sissoko doesn’t have those moments of brilliance but he does have the desire and effort to do his very best on the pitch. It’s not his fault he’s paid huge dollops of wonga, he can only do what he can do, nothing more.
A simile can be found in the everyday workplace. Should we deride a co-worker just because they can’t do the job as well as us? I’d suggest not. It’s not their fault they’ve been put in that position and maybe being paid more than their colleague. Blame the management, yes, but not the person, assuming of course they’re are trying their hardest.
Personally for me, while he’s wearing the chicken badge and giving his usual 100% I’m happy to support him in his endeavours, but if I’m honest, whilst occasionally muttering the odd obscenity under my breath about his frustrating inadequacies during a match. He is not an Adebayor or someone who’s happiest when he’s on the celebrity pages he’s a guy that gives his all and that’s all I can ask for.

I like Merrance … and I like RonWol, but which one’s the best? There’s only one way to find out … Two dinosaurs lock horns in a battle to … the Zimmer frame!

Merrance says:

I am thoroughly cheesed off with interlull cant be arsed to watch the USA friendly while hoping our boys dont get crocked,Football saturation with meaningless games.By the time we play blue scum on the 24th we will have missed 7-8 weeks of stop start prem .No flow eh Ronwol,how can there be flow when players are thrown out of wack and teams have to be patched up etc. Teams will be throwing cup games to avoid fixture congestion.What a farce fifa and Uefa have contrived. stitched up the prem like a kipper. waiting for results spread over Friday to monday to see how to play and what tactics to use and players to pick according to the schedules.GAH AND PFFFT

But RonWol reckons:

You want real football where the players deal with tough schedules,difficult conditions and play with their hearts and souls. Its time for us not to whine,to get in there and win the struggle.This is an opportunity to heal our wounds and come back like the club we think we are. Blowing our own horns for centuries does nothing for the reality of life.We have to face the tasks thrown at us. Look at Sexy,he is ready.We all must be ready. The players have time for tattoos and silly haircuts,lets get focused and win one game at a time.
We throw away silly points with one game a week to mediocre teams. We ARE or we are NOT. Tottenham has to decide who it is. Davies playing shitty is not because of the schedule.
The one player we have to has given his all week in week out and is now winning his battle is a player most of the fans have hated….he fights every game both the outside and his own confidence.Now is not the time for moaning.Its the time to refocus and get to the task. No excuses. Just fucking do it.

Seconds out: Round 1!

Bum fun in South London?

So, three wins in seven days following that narrow City-slicking, and off we trot to Palace for a game that’s likely to be another huge test, even though the Eagles are perched in fourteenth and have lost seven and drawn two of their opening eleven games, with both wins coming away from home (v Fulham and Huddersfield, who are, respectively, bottom and third bottom right now).

Their two points from draws have come at Selhurst, though – nil-nil v Newcastle and two-all v Goons (via two penalties – Palace are yet to score from open play in the Prem so far this season, so are no doubt looking forward to Charity Spurs rolling up and gifting a first).

When I heard Palace were gimping the Gooners one-nil I immediately rushed off to the telly to sit and gloat through the second half, then switched off in disgust eight minutes later with the Gooners two-one up: Similarly clueless, I’ve not even seen the highlights from their 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last weekend, so have no idea if they deserved to pull level through Townsend in the 53rd minute before going on to England-Hodgson it up.

The only game of theirs I’ve seen more than a few minutes of this season was their home loss to the Dippers in the second round of fixtures: Whether it’s Crystanbul or memories of the 1990 FA Cup Semi-Final, I have happy associations with Palace V Dips games so it’s one I always try to watch if it’s on TV. Despite the nil-twoing, I thought they gave a good account of themselves: Once Palace were reduced to ten men around the 75th minute, Liverpool always looked as if they had a breakaway second goal in them, but Palace also looked just as capable of levelling the game too.

All of which suggests we’re not going to have it easy today, and Palace away, to my mind, is one of those fixtures where spineless Spurs often fail to make their quality count and, more often than not, come away with a draw or defeat because they’ve failed to work as hard as the opposition and earn the right to play their own game.

When I checked my facts, though, I found this isn’t the case: Last season, we won a very tight game one-nil courtesy of a Harry Kane header (from a corner! We scored from a corner!) in the 88th minute. The week before that, we’d beaten Arsenal one-nil at Wembley, so this was definitely one of those games I’d have looked at and thought, yep, we’re going to drop points at Palace, that’s what Spurs do after a really good win. Then, the previous season, when we were the last team applying pressure to Chelsea, a Christian Eriksen 30-yarder saw us chalk up another one-niller and keep the gap down to four in yet another game I’d have expected us to lose.

I might be a dumb-dumb, but I’m a pessimistic dumb-dumb most of the time.

As for the season before that, we travelled to Selhurst in what, to me, seemed a sticky patch of form. We’d narrowly lost to Leicester at home two games before (Kane smashed the bar in the second-half; Huth found the back of the net with a towering header from an 83rd minute corner), and then played out a dreadful first-half against Fat Sam’s Sunderland, going behind to a van Aanholt goal in the 40th minute, before promptly waking up with an Eriksen leveller two minutes later and three unanswered second-half goals. It was one of those games, on that dark pit of despair and angst flat-oeufers first ascended from, where the team were treated to dog’s abuse for the first half and like the dog’s bollocks in the second, though I thought the level of performance was pretty poor all the way through, and what was really required was patience and quiet appreciation of a young team under a young manager finding its legs after a gut-punch of a defeat against Leicester.

And then off we trotted to Palace, January 23rd 2016, where a Verts own-goal brought an end to an eight hour goal drought for Palace, their last goal having come against Stoke in the middle of December (Charity Spurs, once again – there is no way on flat oeuf we’re keeping a clean sheet this weekend – my money is on a Davies or Sanchez own goal within the first seven minutes). Kane pulled us level just after the hour, but, for Verts, to add injury to insult, Connor Wickham took exception to his shirt-pulling exploits and smashed him in the face with an elbow. Off he went, on came Wimmer, Palace hit the bar twice in quick succession, and up stepped Alli with that beautifully improvised flick and smash into the bottom corner of Hennessy’s goal from the edge of the area in the 84th minute, all topped off by a great goal from Chadli in the 95th. All in all, one of the best games I’ve ever seen Spurs involved in, and the first one post-Christmas I can remember taking a breath at the end of and thinking ‘we might actually have a chance of winning the league’, a belief which grew as we won our next four (including that two-one win at the Etihad where Eriksen scored late on) until those pesky pikeys peed on our chips and we let a two-one lead against ten-man Gooners slip in the following game, all while the rest of the league began to roll over for fairy-tale Leicester and up their game against us.

So, all in all, we have to go back to Poch’s first season in charge to find our last league surrender at Selhurst. This, though, finally fits the narrative I had in my mind when I first started typing: On new-year’s day, we stuffed Chelsea five-three at The Lane, one of the first performances under Poch which suggested he might really have something about him. In our next Prem fixture, on the tenth of January, we lost an entertaining game at Selhurst two-one, allowing them to end a run of eight league games without a win, allowing all-round smug-git Alan Pardew to celebrate his first game as Palace manager by waving that ever smug fist of his around in the air, and all despite Kane giving us the lead with his 18th goal in a break-through season he would sadly never replicate, fading away like Gary Docherty and a host of others before him: If only he hadn’t been a one-season wonder, where might Tottenham be now?

Hmm. Probably back above the Gooners (who find themselves in that usually Spursy position of having made their best start in ages and yet still somehow looking up at their underperforming north London neighbours), fourth in the league, and still in with a (faint) shout of progressing from a difficult CL group despite a lack of investment and not having had a home-ground for a season and a half: That’s probably about right where we’d be.

We’d also be three points better off than we were this time last season after the equivalent number of games and one point better off than in games against the same opposition: This time last season, we’d just narrowly squeaked Palace one-nil at ‘home’ and were about to let ourselves down miserably at The Emirates in a two-nil no-show. This was the first of a four-match winless streak in the league I trace directly back to our heroics against Real Madrid just before we played Palace – I’ve always thought the major weakness so far with Poch’s Tottenham is a tendency to follow a peak performance with a trough of sub-standard ones. So far this season, there have been no peak performances, so no subsequent trough of sub-standard results. If we can pick up all three points against Palace tonight, it’s Chelsea at ‘home’ and Arsenal away, with Inter Milan in-between, and we’ll finally be able to judge whether this team has been ‘getting away with it’ or really does deserve to be in the mix for another great league campaign and in with a better than faint chance of progressing in the CL.

Being a pessimistic dumb-dumb, I’m expecting us to blow it tonight and then coast to victories in the next three. I’m also hoping for Poch’s Tottenham to prove me wrong for the fourth season on the trot, though, with a clean sheet and the sort of nice tidy three-nil away win last week’s visit to Molineux fleetingly threatened to be.

Predicting Spurs Victory?

Times have changed. After the defeats to Inter, then Barça, followed by the lame draw against PSV, the talk was of hoping we would come last in the Group and drop out of European competition altogether for the rest of the year. Solely on the basis of not christening NWHL with a Ropey League match, I saw the logic.

But since then, we’ve started playing a bit. We’ve exhibited some expansionism, demonstrated derrring-do, showcased some swashbuckling. We’ve become more Spurs and less spursy.

I never do predictions. They ruin the game for me. I’ve got enough nerves without thinking I’ve jinxed it. So Peter Predictor, what do you think? Are we going to show up or fizzle out?

What I do want is for us to go for it. I want us to try our hardest to qualify from the Group. All that ‘ditch it for this year’ nonsense is for losers. I was one of them off the back of our last 3 CL results, but now I’m a WINNER! Yeah!

Still hungry?

“Your ground’s too big for you”, the Spurs contingent sang the last time we visited Molineux for a league fixture, revelling in the fact the new Stan Cullis stand had opened that evening, but the stadium looked far from full.

That last visit – 10th September 2011 – was back in the dark days of Arry, long before Poch put a spine into Spurs. And, to be (begrudgingly) fair to Gary Neville, we started that afternoon bottom of the league, having been three-nilled by United and one-fived by City in our opening two games.

In the build-up to this fixture, our Arry stuck his head out of a car-window and told a BBC reporter he took full responsibility: “I could tell there were too many players around that wanted to leave. It wasn’t creating the right atmosphere going into the new season…”

This, of course, was back in the halcyon days when the transfer window stayed open until the end of August, giving Levy enough time to finish his holidays and give some thought to what the squad needed in order to focus on titles: In and around those two Manchester maulings, and in shocking contrast to the summer just gone, he sprang into action and borrowed Adebayor from City and actually bought Scott Parker from Spam for £5.5m, adding to the fortune he’d already splashed out early-doors (Friedel; free – Ceballos; free – Coulibaly; undisclosed).

Oh, on the same day he borrowed Adebayor, he borrowed Falque as well.

He did manage to cling onto Modric, though, and as for those bad-eggs bringing down the mood in Arry’s dressing-room, he loaned Jenas to Villa, somehow sold Hutton to Villa, and banked a respectable £18m by dropping Palacios and Crouch off in a Potteries car-park and returning with a flash-drive full of Bitcoins (or were he and Joe still accepting old-money duffel-bags back then?).

Those of us with a flat-earth mentality no doubt ended that particular transfer-window as happy as pigs in Arsenal kits. Not only had we made yet another profit to chip away at the upcoming stadium debt, we’d finally signed Scotty Parker as well. And if anyone could get a tune out of Adebayor, it was Arry…

And, to be fair to Arry, we beat Wolves two-nil that night, whumped the Dippers four-nil at home the following Sunday (with an absolute pearler from Modric opening the scoring), and wouldn’t lose in the league again until Stoke beat us two-one on the 11th December. We spent the vast majority of the season in third and Arry celebrated his tax-dodging acquittal and Capello’s shock-resignation from the job he really wanted by managing the team to a five-nil throbbing of Newcastle on the 11th February.

In the next-fixture, at the Emirates, the TV cameras panned in on a group of Spurs fans pre-match who’d arranged themselves so the letters on their t-shirts read MIND THE GAP on the front and something like HARRY DON’T GO on the back. We raced into an early two-nil lead and…

… to be (begrudgingly) fair to Gary Neville…

… lost five-two.

We then only picked up two points from twelve before beating Swansea on April Fools day, ended the season in fourth, and, of course, got bumped out of the following season’s CL by 6th placed Chelsea.

Arry, no doubt, will point to the unsettled squad and the six-point head-start Levy gave all our competitors by balding up our opening two fixtures.

Levy, no doubt, will point to a nil-nil draw with Villa (who finished fifth from bottom) in our penultimate game and a one-nil defeat to QPR (who finished fourth from bottom) three weeks earlier, because a win in either of those games would have seen us bump Arsenal into fourth.

And, most likely, saved Redknapp his job.

It doesn’t really matter which of them points out what, though. Between them, they screwed it right up, and yet another potentially golden era for Tottenham came to yet another shuddering stop.

That potentially golden era might also have been saved had we not suffered a one-one home draw with Wolves on the 14th January. In typical charity-Spurs fashion, Wolves wouldn’t pick up another point until Mick McCarthy was sacked following a five-one home schooling by West Brom in the middle of Feb. They ended that season bottom, suffered another relegation the following season, then, after securing immediate promotion, spent three seasons bobbing around the nether-regions of the Championship before topping the pile in Santo’s first season as manager last time around.

Now they’re sitting pretty in tenth, having won four, drawn three and lost three, which is a fairly respectable return ten games into a first season back in the PL, irrespective of how well financed they might be and how many players they might have brought in via supposedly spurious links – according to Leeds and Aston Villa and a few other Championship clubs, anyway – to super-agent Jorge Mendes.

Two of those defeats, though, have come in their last two games – two-nil at home to Watford and one-nil away to Brighton – which maybe makes this trip a little less daunting than it might have seemed just a couple of weeks earlier.

As for us, we’re still better off points-wise than this time last season, whether comparing the number of games played or results against the same opposition. Following Wednesday’s Wet Spamming, we’re also one round further ahead in the Carabo Cup than we managed last year.

Which means, if it wasn’t for the last ten minutes or so of two CL games, who knows what sort of dumb-dumb over-hyped guff I’d be typing right now, especially as I’ve been vaguely enjoying some of our football as the season’s worn on, with only the defeats against Watford and Dippers leaving me totally meh.

Maybe Saturday’s news of Glenn’s heart-attack and the Leicester City helicopter disaster also put the importance of winning on Monday into a slightly different perspective, because I enjoyed watching that game even though there were spells when it felt like City were about to give us a spanking. They didn’t, though, and the fact we created a couple of really good openings and finished the game looking the team most likely to score left me feeling more upbeat than I usually would after a defeat, especially given last season’s thwumpings from City.

Wednesday’s performance against Spam only added to my uneasy sense of optimism: I feel that was one of Poch’s best ‘second-eleven’ selections and Spammers away has to be his biggest domestic cup scalp so far – unless I’ve missed any, the only other current PL teams we’ve seen off in the FA or League cups under Poch have been Watford, Fulham, Newcastle, Leicester and Burnley (hopefully, though, we’ll be adding Gooners away to this list very soon). As Taff pointed out in his bloeug, Foyth could well be the next big thing, and as Chauvelin and The Great Ronwoldo were discussing this morning, our goals against column in the PL so far this season actually compares well to all but City and Dippers, and even compared to those two we’ve only conceded five and four more.

Fuelling my giddiness ever such a little bit more, I feel the hint of a goal-threat might finally be returning to our game, with two very good chances created against a City defence with a reputation for being one of the tightest around and Son taking his chances really well on Wednesday. Even Llorente scored, suggesting that, all in all, despite the defeat to City, despite being fifth, despite being five points off the top, despite the horror of being behind Arsenal, despite languishing in third in our CL group, despite Poch being off to Real, despite Alli only signing a contract extension so Levy can sell him for more money to Real once Poch’s got his feet under the table in Spain, despite the spiralling debt, the falling attendances, the fact we’re indefinitely homeless and our temporary home has a pitch in a worse state than Superspoz’s new allotment, it might just be possible to postpone the official end of THFC until we get turned over by Wolves.

Win, though, and we’ll either be back above Arsenal or within touching distance of Dippers again, and the earth will feel reassuringly flat until we screw up against PSV in Tuesday night’s must-win NFL Stadium game or our next PL outing, which happens to be Palace away.