“Out on the wiley, windy moors, we’d roll and fall in green…” Never liked Kate Bush. My loss, and I get how significant she is in the history of women in pop music, only woman to have a top 5 album in each of the last 5 decades, sold out Hammersmith nights. Her videos were hugely influential in the 70s – she danced and sang AT THE SAME TIME kids! Except where her fans saw deeply meaningful interpretive dance, I just saw a lot arm-waving.
Windy up at West Brom on Saturday, highest ground in the league and all that, and some of the football was pretty wild but don’t worry, no more WBA/Wuthering Heights metaphors, although according to Hugo, the wind was to blame for Spurs failings. Too many missed or overhit passes. The montage of same on MOTD was a montage of shame, it looked bad and most players were at fault.
Truth is, we never established the consistent fluency that has been the hallmark of recent games. I’m certain it was hard to play good football but we managed it well enough for a time in the first half. The tempo and ingenuity up front that has become pleasingly familiar went missing and we lacked the bite and sharpness to turn a draw into a win. We ended up trying to thread passes through gaps that existed only in the minds of desperate midfielders.
Yet unbeaten since the opening day of the season and I’m buying Christmas presents already, and that’s not because I am a proactive shopper. It’s a record to be proud of. I’m not at the stage where I’m thinking about the what-might-have-beens if draws had become wins because Spurs have exceeded all expectations. These are opportunities we are making not missing. As I have said for several weeks now, let’s enjoy our football while we can and worry about the table in the New Year when patterns emerge and we complete a run of games against sides below us.
West Brom played well, meeting pressing with a high level of activity. Pressing used to be called ‘closing down’ and that’s what they did, in the process counter-attacking at pace, dangerous at set pieces and scoring a good goal. We have Lloris’s point blank reaction save to thank for keeping our point. Lightning reactions and strong hands pushed a close range goalmouth stab up and over, brilliant.
Time was when we would have lost this one, bowled over and brushed aside by the Albion’s physicality. These days there’s something more. The resilience to hang on, the nouse to do enough. All good teams need it, few have. A draw and this precious quality, that will do for one Saturday.
Spurs started better than they finished. We settled into our period after scoring. No one appears to suggest the wind was a factor as Alderweireld’s long pass was judged to perfection, in between the two centrebacks and right onto Deli Alli’s foot. Of course he hit it first time on the volley – as if he’d consider any other way of dealing with a high ball looping from over his shoulder, running at full tilt with two defenders breathing down either side of his neck. He kept it down, through the keeper’s legs in fact, a stunning piece of nonchalant audacity.
Toby’s ability to hit long, accurate passes paid off. It’s good to have in the team locker, a counterpoint to our pass and move. Otherwise we did not impose ourselves up front and as time went on, looked forlorn in attack and shabby at the back, giving the ball and free-kicks away too often and Hugo’s poor clearances putting us under unnecessary pressure. In the first half Alli pushed on past Kane, it led to the goal, but Son might have given that extra punch in the box. Mind you, when he came on for Lamela, who worked hard to little effect, he barely touched the ball.
Pochettino made substitutions to keep some pace up front, as he’s always keen to do. Njie was put through in a rare moment of clarity, the offside was marginal. Poch looks after him well, directing him like a schoolchild with a remote controlled car. There’s raw talent there but a lot to learn.
And anyway, what is a ‘wiley moor’?
8 thoughts on “Spurs Resilience As Valuable As Two Points”
Pefect incision as ever.
I thought we defended like Kate Bush for Albion’s goal. Bonzo switched off, allowed his man to steal a step, and the rest we know. And our chance to look down on the rest of the table from our wuthering heights was lost. Sorry. At first I grumbled that this was a lost opportunity to capitalize on teams stumbling around us but as the weekend developed this was more about our new ability to hang tough. We ground out a result with most players below par and when the old script would have us blown away. City, Chelsea and Liverpool would have loved our result. I’m not sure I’ve ever written those last two sentences before. I’d like Eriksen to step up a bit more. He goes quiet for long periods and I wouldn’t bet the house on him winning a crash tackle; in recent weeks it’s been less than fantastic. Alli seems to have overtaken him as the player to make things happen, but Eriksen needs to ignite his old spark again. I thought Poch could have been more pragmatic. No one is ever surprised at how Pulis goes about things but we seemed to allow Albion to push us around as the game progressed. With Eriksen anaemic and Lamela fannying about we gave up the early advantages and were hanging on when Poch might have used Son earlier – he didn’t have much opportunity to impress. I hope Poch doesn’t obsess about this unbeaten streak. We need more goals, not draws, and a loss or two may happen, but the wins give us more impetus instead of a point here and there.
Unfortunately little to get very excited about at the Hawthorns, the wind is one piece of the game that you can not easily account for, we struggled with Rondon’s power/pace and with defending the long ball in the wind. Pulis broke out his old Stoke formula with the Baggies strongly contesting and getting to every loose ball, we were second in most cases, that is not something that has happened this year. Dembele had the lumps kicked out of him and it was Dier’s weakest performance of the year, but still as you suggest this a game the Spurs of recent memory would have lost. I fear that the draws may come back to haunt us, don’t get me wrong I prefer them to losses but still a few more converted, late even, would be helpful.
Enjoy the day against the Toon, let hope last weekend for them was just a blip, we don’t need another team solidifying a run at the Lane.
Cheers my friend
Another game without defeat but we need to start winning.
Newcastle are a very poor side so we must win. After that, a series of very winnable games.
A good point away and I guess we were due a below par performance. There’s always a few for everyone over a season.
While turning a few of the draws into wins may see us right at the top, if they had been turned into losses we’d be further down. I’ll take a draw in those conditions at the Hawthorns.
I’m feeling absurdly optimistic about Spurs these days.
There seems not to be any easy teams anymore.Growing up,it was La Creme vrs Fat Bellies every week.You either were La Creme or a Fat Belly.The sharks ate up the minnows. Now we start to become a strong club again,the minnows have all left,replaced by fitness and structure and for the most part, less inhibiting egos so more focus.
We cant relax and we cant make excuses.
We have to meet the challenge.
Eriksen is given a simple ride by most fans.When he does something great (rare but wonderful) he is treated like the next coming. But most of the time he us a timid bookeeper,tgat just doesnt want tonattack the game.
Dembele is Eriksen’s mirror opposite.Tirelessly works,prods,fights and presses but has to earn every plaudit.
The last two games were blamed the jet lag,the elements and the difficult ride up the M1. At least we finally got off the lasagna.
We are a team,a strong one. La Creme are not La Creme this season.Its our mantle to take. Shit,it IS the M1 isnt it.Its not that difficult of a road. We just have to put iut put on the peddle and tonnot see it as Mount Everest.
We have to believe more.We have to take these games.We dont want to be yet another star team that scews up this season.This is our chance before the sleeping giants wake up.
A word about Poch and the system. I like the system,I think we are developing it at a good rate. I also think that Poch is very focused on it to provide success.
When he was at Southampton I was amazed at what they did. They never had any fear about who they were playing,tgey just focused on their system and the way they play. It brought results even away at good top teams. But…it seemed a trendous emphasis on the system and a little less on exceptionalism of individual players. Confidence came from the system.
This is all good. But to be real winners,apart from confidence you have,its important to have a strong desire to win,to go the extra mile and earn the points,not just enjoying the mechanics of what you do.
They call that the edge.
Thank you for your write up.
Like most I agree a draw is frustrating against a team most think we should beat, but as ronwol states, every team can be difficult to beat on any given day so by no means a disaster. And I’d been moaning for years about the lack of competition and the traditional SKY 4 dominating so can’t complain now it’s been reversed and there are no walkovers. In fact this season so far has been really interesting and I’m glad I’m not a gambler.
Stay in touch with the pack and time our run for the line!! Too much too soon, or a couple of eye catching wins and the media crank up the pressure ( City had the league wrapped up at the start of the season apparently, then it was arsenal after beating United, last week it was Liverpool after dismantling City & Saints. Next thing was each hit the wall. Except Leicester of course).
I’m confident but cautious & hopeful our timing will be perfect. Why shouldn’t we dream of the league title? So far we’re as good as anyone. Like Kate Bush we too can go Running Up That Hill! ….I’ll get my coat 🙂