Pressure, What Pressure? Dreamy Spurs Rise To The Challenge

Pre-match, the same question is on everyone’s lips. Can we do it? It’s uttered in credulous tones. There’s no big-club hubris or culture of expectation here, more wide-eyed wonder at how Spurs got here, dreamy bewilderment at how it’s going to turn out.

At the latter stages of any competition, the experience of dealing with the pressure in the  past and building precious resilience is a distinct advantage. Been there/done that trumps all. It’s true for supporters as well as players. Truth is, Spurs fans aren’t sure how to react. Most are simply delighted with the way we have played this season, the commitment, the togetherness, the absolutely belting football that has taken us to second place.

Some are looking for problems, fearing it’s bound to all go to pot. This is a reaction we are familiar with, Spurs being spursy, and in times of trouble we all revert to behaviour we are comfortable with. Except spursy no longer exists as a concept. Tottenham are second in the league because we deserve to be, because we are playing better than anyone except Leicester. It’s tough to get to grips with, but that’s our Tottenham.

The supporters may be nervous but the team showed no signs of trepidation. The pressure brought out one of the performances of the season, a comprehensive victory in the most regal manner. The first half was simply sumptuous, a scintillating display of flowing football. Attacks came from right, left, down the middle. The midfield five changed positions as if controlled by a single mind, up front Harry Kane turned in a masterful display, the epitome of a complete modern centre forward.

And the pace of it all. It flashed by in a blur, yet you didn’t want it to end. Stop the clocks, press pause, I want to take a breath, take it all in. Many moves were flawless diamonds, twinkling, beguiling with each facet worthy of further consideration under the jeweller’s eyepiece. At half-time I couldn’t stop grinning.

Scoring after 44 seconds helps, mind. Bournemouth are no mugs with a fine recent away record but I felt beforehand that despite their undoubted work ethic, they would not be able to cut down our space and break up the flow for the whole match. From the kick-off, it was clear they had been told to press Spurs at the back to stop the attacks at source. As their front players dashed forward enthusiastically, they left a gap behind them. With a 40 yard cross-fielder, Lloris found Walker free and on the move, he rushed upfield and his laser-like near post cross was turned in by Kane. Watch a replay – in the build-up Kane refuses to allow the centre half to get ahead of him as they moved across the box together. Top class.

Whether it was pre-determined planning or off the cuff improvisation, Spurs not only kept a high tempo, they looked to pass incisively into space from deeper positions, thus avoiding getting tangled up in a series of one-twos in confined spaces around the edge of our opponent’s box, which has often been the case this season. Bournemouth’s centre halves were slow on the turn. Time and again we sought to slid the ball into the gaps around them. Crosses were earlier and, in Walker’s case, harder and directed into the area between keeper and back four.

Tottenham’s second was a case in point. Forget the 35-yard slam into the top corner, give me a through-ball and shot every time. Wimmer, Dier and Dembele were able to pass up the middle all game. This time, Wimmer’s low pass found Alli. One touch then a through-ball outside the centre-half into Kane’s stride, his first touch was to stroke it past the keeper into the far bottom corner. It was a thing of great beauty, something to cherish.

That pass. Alli was outstanding in this period, linking with Kane and a constant threat. He turned in another quick cross from the right but offside was given, perhaps because Kane was marginally off as the ball came across. Just before half-time he set Kane up but his cross eluded Eriksen on the far post. It was a match of ooohs and aahs. Gasps of frustration as the defence dug out the through balls at full stretch. Only Lamela looked forlorn. He’d taken up good positions all game without getting on the end of anything. Glumly he stared at the goal after Rose shot when he was unmarked 6 yards out. Four or five at half-time would not have been flattering.

Bournemouth made two substitutions at half-time and forced a series of corners but Spurs came closest to scoring. Eriksen led the break from deep in our half, Kane was involved, of course he was, Walker made a lung-busting 70 yards run but seared his shot just wide.

Any Bournemouth revival was snuffed out when Boric clumsily parried Kane’s shot to Eriksen who tucked it home. The players gathered to take a little moment for themselves, no madcap celebrations, just reflection on how well they were playing. The Cherries’ fans were great, their team did not manage a shot on target.

Line them up for a pat on the back. Kane outstanding, two goals, an assist, a defensive tackle when he could easily have taken a breather up field. His movement, touch and link-up play made this one of the most complete performances I have seen this season from any footballer.

Alli terrific in the first, Eriksen throughout. Alderweireld and Wimmer in a personal battle as to who could make the best 50 yard diagonal pass. Dembele strong, Dier sweeping up any danger before it reached the back four. Rose made two fine second half blocks at the far post, doing enough to prevent a bigger forward getting a clean strike on goal.

‘Leicester City, we’re coming for you.’ We’ve sorted it now. For the first home game, the fans placed our challenge in context. The chase is on, 1 down, seven opportunities left. Flat out in every game. Leave nothing in the dressing room. Ditch the prediction leagues, you can’t predict this. Our run-in is difficult, no question, but Spurs have no need to fear anyone or anything. Bring them on, bring them all on.

15 thoughts on “Pressure, What Pressure? Dreamy Spurs Rise To The Challenge

  1. A fine read as always. What a brilliant season we are having. I’m just trying to enjoy it for the fun that it is, to be in the title race in March, brilliant fun, all positive. This season really feels like the beginning of something special.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Every week Spurs give me a reason to say ‘best ever’ something or other.

    I reckon to win this thing we’ve got to win all our remaining games.

    This team can do it.

    COYS

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great read Alan.
    Exciting times and we can do it.
    Tough game next away and then Man U at home who are very beatable.
    We probably have to win all or nearly all. Here’s hoping 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Alan.
    In a vain attempt to keep my feet planted on the ground, I keep reminding myself that this league continues to be Leicesters to lose.
    I even berate myself occassionaly for wishing some unforseen catastrophy on our foxy friends (a fishy lasagne maybe)? For under any other circumstances I’d be rooting for them to go the distance.
    But this Spurs side is a special side and that second goal was a beautiful thing.
    Our players have been constantly playing catch-up recently and have dealt with the added pressure admirably, plus I think our game kicks-off first against Liverpool next time out.
    The question is, will Leicester look quite so cocky knowing in advance of their match that the lead has been reduced to a measly two points?
    Gawd knows!
    Sentiment and assumptions aside though, Tottenham ARE a better team than Leicester.
    There! I said it.
    COYS!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Leicester irk the crap out of me. A stat another Blogger produced about boring freakin’ Leicester: “Their weekend win puts Foxes onto 19 wins for the season, and astonishingly 13 of those wins have been by 1-goal margins (68%). Contrast this to Tottenham’s 5 wins by a single goal margin out of 16 wins in the premier league this season (31%), and it tells quite a story.,, they are clearly on the get a goal and cling on for all its worth vibe.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ashley is right. I love what Leicester are doing to breathe life back into what had become a battle of the biggest wallets, and who could deny Ranieri getting the nod for manager of the year. But I wish they’d show more verve and style. A defensive counter attacking mindset, even at home, is pretty boring. (But their fans don’t care). Meanwhile, Tottenham are all about verve and style and Danny Blanchflower would be proud of his legacy. The game IS all about glory, and not spending most of the match in your own half, and not relying on a counter-attack mindset to see you home. The second goal was a thing of beauty, and as complete and perfect a team goal seen all season. One touch passing, players making unselfish runs to open space for Alli to play Harry in. The highlights only show the feed and shot, but the goal was built upon the ten passes before that. Now let’s see if we can do that to Liverpool and United.

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  5. Another great read Alan

    Today nearly all the Arsenal supporters I saw on my rounds had nothing nice to say about us. Even insinuating that I said we are going to win the league and saying that we will mess up again. Such jealous baskets it’s unreal lol.

    I’m telling you all now if we win the league, I’m going to the Arses ground and I’m going to get up on the Arsenal concrete sign with my Spurs top on with both hands showing the 2 finger salute. Then I will give it the largest I have given to the gooner mugs, customers or no customers I won’t care.

    keep up the good work Alan and the Mrs is doing well

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe its me but im still worried about the Goons coming through and snatching it on the last day. They have an easier run in and always seem to come good in April and May. I was really thinking – hoping – that an Everton who were playing well recently would beat them and move the gap to 9 points.

    Maybe im old and just used to them getting one over on us

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  7. Isn’t it grand? Loved every minute of yesterday. Perhaps the happiest complete 90 mins I’ve personally experienced as a Spurs fan. We were just totally in control from start to finish.

    Like

  8. Wouldn’t it be just Spurs to be top of the league for the first and only time right at the end of the season. Hey I can dream if I want but wouldn’t that just be magical!! COYS!! Whatever happens between now and the end of the season now is the time to dream and boy is it fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant all round. Nothing to fear against Liverpool and Manchester United except fear itself. We’ve been consistently better than both all season, so as you say, leave nothing in the changing room and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be six more points**
    I’m not sure I’m angry at this pointless and unnecessary international break or relieved that I can have a weekend free from football related stress.
    **I’m possibly not as confident as this statement may suggest!!
    Enjoyable read as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent Blog, Alan. IMHO we are playing the most attractive, exciting football in PL. An expansive, possession based, attacking brand of football. We are #1 in GF, GA and GD (when in recent memory did we do that)! As much as people like the poetry of Ranieri’s Foxes story, I personally dislike their DEFENSE first (“we will not be scored upon”) brand. It reminds me of the Roman Legions in TESTUDO formation, with shields up like a tortoise— who cares about possession or attractive play, let’s just rely on swift counter-attacking (yes Mahrez is a delight to watch) and set-pieces to nick a result. Would we want our team to play Leicester’s way? I don’t think so. Having said that, if they win it all, fair play to them. But you’ll never get me to like their defense-first, 10 men behind the ball strategy — the ultimate park the bus. The only difference from all the other park the bus teams is that they have players to counter-attack effectively. MoPo says with only one game a week, and more time to spend on training and prepping, we will only “get stronger” in the run in. Let’s take care of our biz, and see if those above crumble away, and those below fade away. COYS!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Alan

    Would take seven 1-0 wins now if it were offered to me. I am sure that Leicester will drop points because as both a player and a manager I know that when the winning line comes into sight players become more wary of making mistakes and then tend to play with less freedom and that’s when points are dropped. This is something new for both Leicester and Spurs, which is why I wouldn’t ignore the gooners, they’ve been here before
    I confidently predict that the team that holds its nerve will win the league, I just hope its us
    Up The Spurs

    Like

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