Yesterday I rediscovered a valuable element of the art of watching football. It’s absent for a good reason – when Spurs play it’s a serious business as far as I’m concerned and I’m totally absorbed. Wouldn’t have it any other way, that complete commitment is the source of the passion, but it can be draining and debilitating sometimes. Watching Spurs, you know what it’s like. Yesterday however, there were times when I could throw back my head, punch the air, slap a few backs, jokes even. Yesterday I rediscovered laughter.
Glorious flowing football, top quality performances, opponents imploding, four goals and above all, the last 20 minutes just to sit back and lap it up. I often say that I can relax only when we’re 5 up in injury time but sadly that’s not so far from the truth. Even yesterday, when we were utterly dominant in the first half, there was always the danger that one ball onto Carroll’s head would undo the marking that left him anonymous or the scintillating play that should have given us a three goal lead at the very least after 55 minutes. But two in quick succession, against 9 men, and I was chuckling with the wild joy of it all.
Never mind the dismissals, we started supremely well and maintained that level of excellence. Modric and Parker set the tone, get on the ball and push it around. Adebayor holds it, knocks it off, in the air or on the ground, finds space and finds the channels, and if he’s in those channels, Luka, Scotty and Niko in the first half, Rafa in the second, will find him. Crouch seems like a bad dream. That was all in my imagination, right?
We slaughtered Skirtel, destroyed by a combination of Bale’s pace and Benny pinging classic first-time passes inside him. On the hour, he’d had enough. That foul was his only means of escape.
In case it’s escaped anyone, Luka might have wanted a transfer but he’s a professional. No hint of anything less than his supreme best. And the goal, pouncing on a loose ball, up and onwards, up and onwards, we were right behind the line and in the air before it hit the netting. I didn’t come down for a few minutes. The break in play that followed shortly afterwards provided respite to marvel and wonder. And there followed the imperceptible dip of the shoulder, leaving two men in his wake, the pass that took out four defenders. Outstanding.
In a game with so much at stake, even this early in the season, Liverpool fell apart. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a top team cave in so easily. Their attitude was all wrong and too many were absent, Henderson, Carroll, Suarez and Downing, all players I rate. However badly we are playing, Spurs inder Redknapp would never show that attitude.
Suarez did provide one of the classic comedy moments. Berating the linesman, he was the last man in the ground to realise his was about to be booked as the ref strode officiously towards him. Still he carried on, until the ref suddenly appeared in his line of sight. Comedy gold.
I thought the ref was OK, although I suspect Liverpool fans think otherwise. His booking threshold early on was low, which I don’t like, but he was consistent, and Adam and Skirtel can have no complaints.
Bale was dangerous throughout but selfish – too many long shots. However, he made several chances and just as you began to fear the worst, one up and wasting opportunities galore, Defoe held on and took his chance. Manu followed soon after. It will go down as tucking in a rebound or some such platitude that doesn’t do him justice. He flicked up and over the keeper, and in. The chuktspah of it all. That’s class, top class, because it was done with such nonchalance.
Credit to Harry for setting up the team so well, literally the shape of things to come. Parker as DM, stays back or rather comes forward last, Luka’s starting position is deeper than last season but the platform gives him and others more freedom to get forward. Benny has clearly been told not to venture too far forward too often. This makes it easier for Niko/Rafa to cut in and Walker has room when they do.
Parker, the fifties throwback, neat short back and sides with a hint of daring in the fringe, baggy shorts and black boots, centre of gravity somewhere beneath the earth’s crust. it’s his first touch that stands out. Or maybe his positioning, tucked in deep, sliding into the gaps in the back four or shepherding the ball away. Short passing, yes, that’s it, pass and move, always there, keep the tempo high. How about long passes, like the one late on, picked out his man, on the spot. I had a little chuckle, so many on the boards said he wasn’t good enough for us because he was at WHam.
The little things that matter so much, that show we’ve prepared well. That show we care. Ledley, knee knackered, groin groaning, pocket large enough for both Carroll and Suarez, gets 7 minutes rest at the end, not that he broke sweat all afternoon. 7 minutes left, 3 goals and 2 players to the good, he pauses at the touchline to give Bassong detailed instructions.
Walker, major player in the defensive mess that nearly gave a goal away, moments later has the presence of mind to stoop low and head back to his keeper when he could have been forgiven for just banging it anywhere. A cool head and no fear, more precious even than his pace.
Friedel, Friedel what’s the score? No answer. Gomes and Robinson would have played to the crowd. Brad is focus and concentration. I know which I prefer and that professionalism is turning a good team better. I’m still laughing.
20 thoughts on “Still Laughing”
Absolutely spot on. Watching a Spurs match is rarely a joy as there is always the chance of a comedy goalkeeping moment, a defensive misunderstanding that will let other teams in.
But yesterday, I actually paused at around 70 minutes as well and just relaxed. I wanted that last 20 minutes to last for an hour, just to savour the feeling of destroying a direct competitor with such power and precision.
I don’t care what reasons are given. We took a grip of the game and never let go, and for Spurs, I may have to wait another 10 years for a game like that.
Good article with only one comment to make.
“I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a top team cave in so easily. ”
I think I can recall us doing that quite often 😀
I read a lot of Spurs stuff, I just can’t get enough, usually to drown my sorrows.
Your article is the best I have read for a long time and I had to say thanks, you echo my thoughts, watch Spurs and enjoy the moments, it’s like being back in time…… Keep writing and I will keep reading…. Come on the joy of watching Spurs….
What makes me laugh a little is that there are still ‘pool fans saying “you needed 9 men on the field to add you your first goal”. We actually dominated them before they had anyone sent off and we looking more likely to score when they had 11 men, than for the rest of the 1st half with 10. We were truely fantastic and the reason they had players sent off is because they just couldnt handle us all over the field. 1 of their yellows was for a challenge when Adebayor was clear through on goal! They were very, very poor.. But I believe that was mostly down to how good were were all game.
Surely the point is that Liverpool were reduced to nine men because they simply couldn’t cope with Spurs from the outset. If any player has to resort to kicking ten bells out of you, then you’ve pretty much won the battle. By using that as an excuse for a beating the inferrence is that the referee got it wrong, and in our case, he didn’t-no, it was a hiding and Liverpool were lucky to get nothing
Excellent performance yesterday. Modric’s performance and attitude was a major plus, it may have taken him a week or two to get his right, but well worth it as ever. I’m willing to move on and forget if he is.
Adebayor was tremendous. I wrote, too late (you’ve been very prolific lately Alan)
I tend to feel he has blown hot and cold too often, though he is a serious upgrade on what we have. He definitely is capable of being a top top player, as he has shown elsewhere at times. Yesterday, he worked the channels excellently, came deep to link play, held ii up, linked with Defoe and others, scored two and similed a lot. What’s not to like!
Parker did play well, though perhaps I am as blind to his subtler moments as you are to some sloppy passing Alan :))
Matt, I think they are just grasping at thin air. let them, as much as 4-0 and outclassing them, the win and its manner yesterday is a massive psychological victory. I read somewhere else on the net, that they weren’t outclassed because they went down to nine men, they were down to nine men because they were outclassed. As you say they couldn’t handle Spurs all over the field.
what i am loving at the moment apart from all the above is we haven’t dropped any silly points yet. ie last season last minute goes against everton (or was that the yr before) or wigan or daft results. in a strange way, like liverpool will do with spurs, they’ll put it down to a bad day at the office which i can accept more. apart from the sudden (but certainly expected) opening gulf between us and City and the man u game which both i am sort of happy to write off, we can’t say… oh well we should have 10pts by now if it wasn’t for…… so as long as we win the games we should and in a position to win, i’m happy with that… obviously if it is 90% of the games that would be even better!
I agree with some of your sentiments.
I think the overall performance was very very good.
However, when your opponents are down to 9 men, there’s half an hour or so to go, you’ve just scored 2 in a couple of minutes, you’re playing a team that is ostensibly one of your competitors, and you have a negative goal difference due to 5-1 and 3-0 defeats, it is not the time to play keep-ball in your own half, and practice nutmegging your opponents. The best way to rub in your superiority and sap the confidence of your opponents is to score goal after goal.
We still have a negative goal difference after that match, which we should have made into a positive one, and we will probably never have a better opportunity to exact revenge for the 7-0 thrashing in 1978, that some of us are old enough to remember all too clearly.
It’s only a few weeks ago that Manchester United were in a similar position against a depleted Arsenal side and put 8 past them, which Arsenal clearly haven’t yet recovered from.
With regard to Parker, I thought he played very well and grew into the game, though from my viewpoint if anything let him down it was his first touch, which saw the ball running away from him far too often. You saw his first touch as one of his strengths. Each to his own.
Overall, though, 4-0 against Liverpool is not too shabby, though I suspect that given a similar situation, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal would not have been content with just 4. And did you see Barcelona on saturday night? They are the sort of clubs we should be trying to emulate.
Such an Important point.
No Dampening of the spirit, just pointing out the room for improvement with regards to our mentality!
Well Done spurs, need to be more clinical, but 2 wins and 2 losses and still above our 2 “main rivals) for 4th spot!
Small concern for krank, have not heard anything regarding his injury.
John White: We still have a negative goal difference after that match, which we should have made into a positive one, and we will probably never have a better opportunity to exact revenge for the 7-0 thrashing in 1978, that some of us are old enough to remember all too clearly.
I felt exactly the same, I so wanted us to go for 7 or 8 or more, to do a Bristol Rovers or a Wigan. More because of 1978 than the goal diff, strangely.
I was there-on my birthday-and yes, it still bloody hurts, but then again I also there when Crooks scored in 1985 to record our first win since 1912 at Anfield, and witnesssed Dalgliesh’s assault on Paul Miller, never forgive or forget, hate them more than Arsenal
Nice article as usual.
The best home game I think I’ve seen since inter last season. We controlled the game from start to finish. 11 men, 10 men, 9 men- we still dominated. All of a sudden the spine of our team seems so much stronger- friedel oozez confidence, king a rock, parker n modric sublime and the looks of a genuine partnership between ade and defoe… All that and we still have gallas and sandro to come back! Both the new players we’re superb in their roles, parker mopping up, has that ability to be in the right place at the right time, and a natural leader- not sure if anyone noticed parker constantly geeing up and hand slapping other spurs players. Ade already seems really part of the team, which might make all the difference in keeping him happy and at his best- there really seemed a genuine team spirit and togetherness out there, maybe not something he experienced at the each-for-their-own type attitude at city and arsenal. Hard to find any negative points in such a wonderful performance, but we do keep wasting so many decent set piece oppourtunities!
Congratulations Spurs, a job well done, even if it was against nine men. A word of caution here, remember last year we always squandered valuable points against poor composition, which will be the position we will be in this coming Saturday. I think they come into these games thinking they have them won before the ball has been dropped. Let them come out like they did last Saturday, and score many goals as they can, as each goal gains in importance at the end of the season. I will be watching the game with great anticipation all the way from Canada. Good luck Spurs.
Change with the composition to opposition.
If our lads carry on like this we’ll ALL be laughing! I also can think of another “top team” capitulating easily -and recently! Usually play in red??? 8-2???? Ring any bells??
So everyone is now glad that Harry is our manager and we signed Parker and Adebayor?
Hope so. Wasn’t always the case though.
Yes, Harry’s doing well, though we missed out on a CL spot which seemed to be there for the taking last season. Nowt to do with him I’m sure. Parker and Adebayor did well at Wolves and esp Sunday, though we might wait a while to castigate or eulogise them to the skies? It isn’t black and white, postive or negative. Sunday doesn’t make them Mckay andd Gilzean, a defeat at Wigan shouldn’t make them Dozzell and Booth.
Yes, I’m happy we have all three, though I personally wouldn’t have signed Parker and i think Harry could have done a whole lot more from Feb last season.
Bit late to this Alan but that’s a beautiful piece of writing. Happy days