Post 65

Spurs 1 Arsenal 0

The XG stats for this game were apparently 3.0 to 0.6. It certainly felt like that. A win of 3-0, maybe 3-1 would have been the right outcome.  So, the ‘real’ 1-0 result didn’t do justice to Spurs’ performance or dominance. At the H-T break to be drawing at 0-0 seemed just about right to my eyes but, by the end, 1-0 felt very wrong. We should have been home and hosed. Instead we were biting our nails over Lacazette’s missed chances.

Fussy, I guess. That’s life for a Spurs fan in 2018. But it would be churlish to complain. A total of 7 points from 9 in a run of three games against Top 6 rivals is a decent return. Furthermore we have outplayed United, Liverpool and Arsenal, despite having spent £ multimillions less than them.

Poch opted for the line-up that had started against Liverpool; Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son and Kane. Everybody had decent games, but the spine of Vertonghen, Dembele, Eriksen and Kane were the standouts for me. Kane got MOTM for his overall play and brilliant winner.

Actually, when I re-read that paragraph above it’s harsh on Sanchez and Son who were particularly good in the first half and Davies who produced a beautiful curling cross on 49 minutes for Kane’s goal. Also, Dele found pockets of space and got at Arsenal’s defence throughout the match. Lloris made a fine save of a Wilshere effort, Trippier had a decent match, and Dier was solidly destructive in midfield.

In short, I guess I’m nitpicking because we ‘only’ won 1-0. Although possession was shared between the teams 50:50, it didn’t appear as even as that. Spurs retained the ball better than Arsenal and in more advanced areas of the pitch. We outshot them 18:6 and 6 of ours were on target to only 1 of theirs. The corner count was 10:2.

Gone are the days that ‘any win’ (however fortunate) against Arsenal is enough. The undeniable fact is we now have a better team than theirs. And a better manager than them. We even have a better, more balanced squad now, thanks to our better Chairman. And shortly we’ll have a better stadium too. I’m old enough to remember when Spurs outranked Arsenal in the 60s and went head-to-head with them in the 70s and 80s. For me it doesn’t feel strange to be back where we belong.

Wembley was packed to the gunnels. The official attendance at Wembley was 83,222, another PL record, beating the 81,978 who watched our 2-0 win over Man United by 1,244. It was great to see (and hear) so many Spurs fans, old and new, drowning out the disappointed Gooners. Playing a Season at Wembley is not ideal. There were teething problems initially, logistics-wise and in terms of results. But our team has got better and better and laid to rest the early ‘Wembley Hoodoo’ bullshit, as I knew we would.

It will take several more wins to fully banish the ‘Wembley curse’ but last night we played like a team that can make any stadium a fortress.

Post 30, 14th September 2017

Even more importantly for our  long term future, Spurs are winning new fans, abroad and at home, filling Wembley’s three tiers for the big games. Even our FA Cup replay against Newport on a freezing midweek night was well attended (almost 40,000) thanks to cheap tickets and the 7,200 who made the trip from Wales. This Season has given the Club the opportunity to sell £5 – £10 seats which was impossible to do at overbooked White Hart Lane.

So Kane now has 7 goals in 7 NLDs. His motivation comes from deep within but it was sure as hell stoked by rejection from Arsenal when he was 8. Anybody who hasn’t seen this fantastic article should take the time to read it.

Harry could easily have had a hat-trick today. A difficult header in the first half, an easy one in the second, a thunderous volley straight at Cech, several other missed half chances and moments. But it was his complete performance that won him the MOTM nomination; leading the line, harassing their defence, dropping deep, even popping up to defend at left back near the end of the game. What else can one say? He is Spurs. He is unique. We are beyond privileged to have him.

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