The Big Match

Well, what a difference two weeks make:

13th Feb, the Dortmund tie balanced very much in our favour, enjoying the warm rosy glow of a four-match winning streak in the Prem, and relishing the prospect of beating Burnley away to possibly go within two points of the big boys at the top of the league;

27th Feb, six points dropped, our faint chance of a title-tilt gone like a gooner in the Nutty League, and the cold hard fact that losing to Arsenal will see us well and truly dragged back into the battle for fourth with away trips to Anfield and The Etihad to come, not to mention the nagging fear of an all time Spursy performance rearing its head out in Dortmund.   

As well as Arsenal, Chelsea and United suddenly breathing down our necks, so are last season’s Tottenham, who had just beaten Arsenal at home and Palace away, meaning we’re now ‘only’ five points better off than we were after the equivalent number of games last season.

In terms of games against equivalent opposition, we also beat Burnley and Chelsea away, so our gain there is now down to four points.

It’s all starting to look a little bit tight.

It’s all starting to look a little bit squeaky.

But it’s still way more exciting than the vast majority of seasons I’ve suffered through as a fan of this great, great club, though it’s threatening to turn out just as frustrating as the disappointing ones as well.

Not that I’m bitching about losing to Chelsea:  Strip away the pain and humiliation of Trippier and Hugo going all Laurel & Hardy, and it wasn’t that bad a performance – two big clubs coming off the back of poor performances mostly cancelling each other out, the only real difference between them being one individual moment of quality and one collective moment of madness:  Had Winks’ moment of individual quality dipped beneath the bar and Luis’ moment of madness resulted in Kane winning the ball and scoring after we punted the ball back to them following a blatant assault on Trippier, how would we suddenly be a different team, different club?   No.  All that happened on Wednesday is that we lost narrowly to a team who can beat anyone on their day – the only humiliation was the nature of the second goal, and the fact it gave their fans eight or so minutes to rub our noses in it the way we did to them for vast stretches of second-halves earlier on in the season and a couple of seasons ago in their last ever trip to The Lane.

No, it’s still the Burnley result that burns. And the performance against Burnley.  That’s what’s really put us into the negative spiral a defeat at ‘home’ to Arsenal threatens to create, not the loss against Chelsea.

But, at the same time, the two performances have again highlighted the issues we have at full-back:  Against Burnley, Rose and Aurier didn’t make enough of the space our system provides for whoever’s in those positions; against Chelsea, Davies and Tripper offered very little in attack and were both found wanting in the moves that led to their goals.

Which brings us back to Dortmund, and the influence Jan had in the second half, because, I don’t mind admitting, there were times in the first half when I looked at him standing stationary on the left in acres of space and wished I was looking at Rose.  And then he put in that second half performance and showed us all what sort of difference true quality in our full-back positions will make to this squad; width, precision-crossing, and the ability to overlap the opposition full-back and get in on goal.  Of our present options, Rose is capable of width and overlapping, and Trippier is capable of precision-crossing, but that’s about all that there is, and Rose hasn’t consistently been at his best for two seasons, Trippier looks mentally shattered, and KWP, Davies and Aurier feature too inconsistently to suggest Poch truly trusts them.  I don’t envy him the task of picking which ones to send out against Arsenal today, but I’m looking forward to watching whoever he chooses play a key part in restoring the points gap over the chasing pack to a more respectable margin.

Well, when I say ‘looking forward’ what I mean is ‘desperately hoping’.   My actual expectations for this game are horribly low.  In truth, I fear we might be in for bit of a hiding.   Which is more of a reflection on us than them, because Arsenal haven’t exactly been setting the world alight themselves, especially away from home, where they’ve lost to Chelsea, West Ham, and, more recently, Liverpool (5-1), and Man City (3-1), managed single-goal margin victories over Cardiff, Newcastle, Bournemouth, and Huddersfield (their last Prem away game, where Huddersfield had 55% of the possession and 16 shots to Arsenal’s 9), and drawn with Palace, Brighton and Mourinho’s United at the fag-end of his time there.  It’s hardly awe-inspiring stuff, though wins in their last two home games against Saints and Bournemouth mean they approach us with the foul wind of Arsenal momentum behind them.

They will also have the fact they outplayed and outfought us for the majority of the league game at their place in the backs of their minds, though that knowledge should be tempered by the fact we did exactly the same to them on their home turf in the Carabo Cup not so long after.  Also, the fact they beat us pretty comprehensively at the Emirates last season didn’t do them much good when they visited Wembley last February – the score-line might only have been 1-0, and they might have missed a good chance at the death to steal a draw, but we were head and shoulders better than them and should have won by three or four.

In a spooky coincidence, we actually went into that fixture with the gap between us having been reduced back to four points following our draw away at Anfield and another 5-1 home victory for Arsenal, but this time the fodder was Everton, not Bournemouth.  The two teams were fifth and sixth ahead of that game.  Three matches later, we were fourth, thirteen points clear, and they never got near us again.

The previous season, in their last ever visit to The Lane, we ran out quite comfortable two-nil winners, the satisfaction of victory sweetened by the fact victory meant they would be finishing beneath us for the first time in too long.

The season before that, and probably the last time an NLD has felt quite so important as this one.   Both teams still had ambitions of capitalising when Leicester finally capitulated, but we’d blown the chance to go top of the Prem by losing at West Ham earlier on in the week with one of our no-show performances.  The game against Arsenal looked to be going the same way, with Ramsey putting them ahead in the 39th minute and us looking incapable of doing very much about it before Coquelin got himself sent off in the 55th minute.  What followed could have been one of the best NLD’s for us in living memory – Alderweireld lifting the mood with a 60th minute equaliser and Kane lifting the roof with that absolute stunner two minutes later – but Sanchez pulled them level and the points and the spoils ended shared.

The season before that, Poch’s first season with us, saw one season wonder Harry Kane pop up in the 56th and 86th minutes to make Mesut’s eleventh minute opener meaningless.

So, we’ve never lost at home to our immigrant neighbours in the Prem under Poch, with our last home league defeat to them coming under the auspicious reign of Tim Sherwood in March 14.  Before that, we have to go back to 2007 for their last victory on our patch in the Prem:  If patterns mean anything in football, they can do one until at least 2021.  North London, and three points, are hopefully ours.

COYS!

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Spursy
Spursy
3 years ago

Harrrrrry!
Kaaaaane!

Spursy
Spursy
3 years ago

You all set?
COYS!

Chauvelin
Chauvelin
3 years ago

cavey
Chauvelin : I’m not that surprised. But I thought that he would be bigging us up for the trip to Dortmund. Alas not!

I don’t see what joy the boy gets from living in his slough of despond. You’d think he’d give Spurs up as a bad job and choose another activity, like macramé or perhaps a nice relaxing colouring book.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
Admin
SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
3 years ago

I demand a refund of my bleoug fees.

SpurAndy🍒🥧
Admin
3 years ago

Calling all Admins, have a Shelfy bleoug to publish but comments box ain’t there. Any help appreciated to sort it.

cavey
cavey
3 years ago

Chauvelin : I’m not that surprised. But I thought that he would be bigging us up for the trip to Dortmund. Alas not!

Chauvelin
Chauvelin
3 years ago

Luke Perry has died RIP. Apparently this guy was in something called ‘Friends?’ Can’t say I’ve ever seen it. He seems very young though.

Chauvelin
Chauvelin
3 years ago

cavey
Just had a look at THE C**T HATESPUR site. There isn’t a positive word written. I’d say if you write anything positive over there your binned!

The only surprise Cavey, is that you seem to be surprised!

McG ⚽⚽
McG ⚽⚽
3 years ago

DAVID 04/03/2019 at 6:15 pm

Fingers crossed for tomorrow night, we’re not in the best of form but Dortmund lost to a team at the bottom of the league last weekend and if we can score once, they need to score 5.
Should be straightforward but when do we ever do straightforward?

It’s so simple, we revert to the days of Ossie, job done.

…………………Lloris,
.Sanchez……Toby…………..Jan
………………..Winks
………..Lamela……….Eriksen
Moura…Kane…Llorente…Son

SpurAndy🍒🥧
Admin
3 years ago

Err OK that’s a bit of a 🐔 up. I’ll try and sort it out, bear with…

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

No comment box on Shelfy’s bloeug?! This is a clear attempt to stifle our right to free speech!

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
3 years ago

Shelfy: His teamate Marcelo recently said Bale only speaks English in the dressing room, and usually communicates in gestures. So the press are getting this from other players it sounds like.

cavey
cavey
3 years ago

Just had a look at THE C**T HATESPUR site. There isn’t a positive word written. I’d say if you write anything positive over there your binned!

Shelfy
Shelfy
3 years ago

Re Bale and not speaking the Lingo or settling in Madrid…. Or it could be press making up stories

cavey
cavey
3 years ago

SSG: He might just be a bit dim in the language department, or a bit shy!

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

Yeah, so you say..

SpurAndy🍒🥧
Admin
3 years ago

New bleoug from Shelfy coming soon.

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
3 years ago

Cavey: yeah but Rush only spent a year in Italy before coming home. Bale’s been abroad for six. He must enjoy Spain, but he can’t order in restaurant or talk to his neighbor? Just strikes me as an odd way to live.

Sexy Beast
Sexy Beast
3 years ago

A fit and happy Bale who is giving his all for a manager who he has a lot of respect for would be an amazing addition for any club.

cavey
cavey
3 years ago

To SSG, he’s probably a bit like Ian Rush, meat and two veg thickko!

DAVID
DAVID
3 years ago

Fingers crossed for tomorrow night, we’re not in the best of form but Dortmund lost to a team at the bottom of the league last weekend and if we can score once, they need to score 5.
Should be straightforward but when do we ever do straightforward?

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
3 years ago

This probably isn’t relevant to anything but I find it weird that after 6 years in Spain, Bale reportedly still can barely utter a word in Spanish. I would think making an effort to speak the local lingo goes a long way to being accepted and being less of a target when things go bad.

McG ⚽⚽
McG ⚽⚽
3 years ago

My bish bash bosh plan ruined, just like that!

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

You just shattered all McG’s hopes in one post SSG. Just sayin… : )

SeattleSpursGuy
SeattleSpursGuy
3 years ago

Regarding Bale, we can debate age, form, attitude, abilities, etc. But I think there is only one relevant stat. He’s earning 15 million a season. That’s 288k per week.

Next rumour?

McG ⚽⚽
McG ⚽⚽
3 years ago

I watched the classico t’other night, and Bale doesn’t seem to possess the pace he once had (a big part of his game), so what would we be getting?

I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t get Bal either, but I’d still take him with Isco for Eriksen if Madrid were to entertain the idea.

HD 🇺🇸
HD 🇺🇸
3 years ago

Matt
He’s done his hair like a Sumo wrestler too. What’s that all about?

He’s Joe Cool, doncha know!

Matt
Matt
3 years ago

He’s done his hair like a Sumo wrestler too. What’s that all about?

Chauvelin
Chauvelin
3 years ago

Caspurs ♿️
I watched the classico t’other night, and Bale doesn’t seem to possess the pace he once had (a big part of his game), so what would we be getting?

A slowing, injury prone, ridiculously expensive player approaching his twilight years. Who thought he was better than Spurs.

Matt
Matt
3 years ago

I think we need to play 10 at the back tomorrow with Guy Butters as sweeper.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

The press are saying Sanchez escapes charge from FA?!
What about Xhaka on Kane, and O’Bangaman’s fakky dive?

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

I’m fairly sure there’s a Graham somewhere that has a cough.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

Graham has a cough?

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

Robert Skov; you heard it here second…

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

A la Waddle.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

He’ll drop in to midfield as he gets older.

He’s not that slow. Just doesn’t do defending.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

He will if Poch wants him.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

I watched the classico t’other night, and Bale doesn’t seem to possess the pace he once had (a big part of his game), so what would we be getting?

foeorfreund
Admin
3 years ago

Bale is also 30 this July. You know what Levy’s like with long contracts for the over 30’s, that’s probably got a lot to do with why Tobes hasn’t got the deal he wants, and why Verts hasn’t had a new deal.
Bale will not be coming to us.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

He’s Fookin’ loaded.
Eriksen’s wages plus a bit more.
RM to contribute?
Probably not…but cheaper than having to keep him.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

Google.

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

Wages?

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

Does anyone know someone who prints T-shirts? (genuine question).
No, not that cnut!

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

RM want rid.
In our favour.
Injury prone?
So what.
Keep him for UCL.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

H

Funkenschlag!
Admin
3 years ago

McG ⚽⚽ 04/03/2019 at 4:37 pm
Eriksen to Real for Isco & Bale, bit of dosh, bish bash bosh.
____
According to the Euro footy experts (last night) they don’t believe there is any truth to the Eriksen rumours.
As for Bale:
A) He’s injury prone
B) His wages are prohibitive
Sorry to dampen your bish bash bosh dosh plan McG.
PS: Chrystal Palace? ;-D

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

Meeting Cas at the Mothership tomorrow before our big screen view of the Dortmund game.
Bring flags.
COYS!

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

No more Wembley?

Oh, please.
Cup Finals yes.
Of course.

Bruxie
Bruxie
3 years ago

L’pooh sold Coutinho.
Look at who they bought.

Agree McG!

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