Spurs Masters at the Bridge

It’s a stunning moment. Dele at full tilt pulls down the ball and strokes it into the net in a blur. Strokes, mind you. Not blasted, not bobbled, or sliced, but stroked. From the time the ball leaves Dier’s foot, a pass of such accuracy and dip that Glenn Hoddle would truly have been proud, (there is no greater praise), Dele is the master of the situation.

Out of the blue it came, falling from the sky. Except it wasn’t, out of the blue I mean, because Dele was off on his little run as Dier moved onto the ball. Both knew what was coming. From the comfort of my sofa, I just shook my head in wonder. So good, it was beyond celebration.

He jogged away, and smiled. Couldn’t resist cupping his hand behind his ear as he trotted unavoidably close to the home fans. Still 21, world at his feet, he can appear furtive and cunning as he runs into the box or gets stuck into a tackle. He knows what he’s doing when he goes over, or, sometimes, goes in high. But he charms his way into supporters’ hearts. With a nod to Barry Davies, just look at his face. Before he’s buried by jubilant team-mates, he delights in the goal like a little boy who has found the most chocolate in the Easter egg hunt. This is no rockstar preening or macho posturing, this is a kid come out to play.

We’re not very good with young people in this country. We say we want them to express themselves but when they do, we demand they know their place. Perhaps we’re envious of their fresh ideas, different ways of seeing things. Envious of their youth, that their time is yet to come when our future lies behind us. But every generation complains about the behaviour and attitude of young people. Their different ways, the fact they answer back.

This season, the difficult third season, Dele as a sign that he is an established figure in English football has been presented with his own narrative, comprising two elements. One, he’s a cheat. Yes, he dives, I don’t like it, partly because I’m old-fashioned and don’t like diving, mainly because looking for a foul shows that his thought-process is not fully focused on his game. He’s largely got rid of that backing into defenders looking for a foul thing he did. I’d prefer one touch and a five yard pass, if it keeps possession. But there’s a narrative. No matter the penalties he’s not given, or that he is one of the most fouled players in the division, or that – gasp – other players dive to, one of the most talented English young players gets booed as soon as he touches the ball.

Lately, he has also had to contend with being told he is off-form. If anything, to me this is his best season. Until yesterday, there have been fewer sensational moments, although let’s not forget he did alright versus Real Madrid. This has been more than outweighed by his hard, purposeful running, support for team-mates, his passing and clever use of space. His role is slightly different because Son is scoring frequently. He’s maturing, as you would expect, but without apparently getting much credit, except from the man who matters most, his manager.

I rarely comment directly on media stuff – there’s no conspiracy against Spurs or any other side, and anyway Jamie Redknapp’s secondhand opinions aren’t worth the effort it takes to press the keys to write ‘twat’. But young people should be valued and looked after. I’m sick of it. Dele moving into space used to be praised to the skies as a sign of his quality and intelligence. Now, the same thing is derided as his supposed lack of impact on the game. All brewing nicely for his role as world cup scapegoat. Instead of caring for our young players, we build them up then find something to demolish them, just when they need recognition in their own right as individuals. He suffers because he’s young, smart, English and plays for Spurs. Some fans see that as sin incarnate.

Yesterday, Dele answered back. This is me, this is what I can do. I was so pleased for him. Not that he needs anything more from me. Spurs’ third, his second. Mayhem in the box, bodies flying, chance looked to have gone. Everyone’s blasting it. Dele, one touch, no more than a single revolution of the ball, under control, left to right and that foot made enough space to shoot and score. The presence of mind to do that. This is what he can do.

Enough of Dele. This was a victory for teamwork, this wonderful, spirited, focused and creative group of players. Spurs began well enough, taking the game to Chelsea and making busy patterns in their half. Lamela was prominent, working with purpose, chasing back and looking for those dangerous ten-yard angled passes into channels. Dele and Eriksen tirelessly sought space, but there was little as the Blues bunched in centre midfield.

Chelsea made ground down either flank, Davies was under most pressure as he tried to both tuck inside and cover wide. He couldn’t be in two places at the same time. A cross from the right was perfect for Morata’s head, too high for Sanchez and, sadly, for Lloris, who mistakenly came and watched it fail even to scrape his fingertips.

Spurs looked lost but Eriksen would not rest. Twice he moved onto the ball to shoot from range. The first thudded into the keeper’s chest, the second was unstoppable. I mean unstoppable, genuinely. A few metres from the goal, it was still well above the bar, until it dipped and dropped home.

We saw again a feature of Spurs’ success this season, second half rejuvenation. We picked up the beat and were the better side throughout. A little tweak and Moses and Alonso had less room to move, while keeping our attacking options and flow. Then there was Dele.

My imagination or did both Lamela and Eriksen begin their goal celebrations for the third only after admonishing Son for not crossing to them. They’re hungry for more despite the win. Vertonghen and Sanchez tremendous again at the back, Jan a tiger in the tackle, Sanchez managed Hazard well. Chelsea looked spent after the third goal, their manager unable to motivate them to play for each other in the same way than Pochettino can for Spurs.

Beating Chelsea feels good, and there’s no escaping the significance of the result and performance as Spurs continue to build a side to challenge the best. From within they found the resilience to come back from being a goal down to play their best football when under the most pressure. It’s the stuff winners are made of.

33 thoughts on “Spurs Masters at the Bridge

  1. Great piece!
    And it’s not your imagination re the Eriksen/Lamela admonishment of Son. I noticed it as it happened and watched it on replays.
    Very much warranted, too, as Lamela had a tap in were Son not so selfish – and not for the first time, either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice point about how we treat young people. Spot on, Al.
    And nice to read a match report of yours again. This was a game worth writing about.
    I can’t believe we finally went and done ’em at the Bridge. London is ours!

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  3. He seemed to have gone missing for long periods this season; people thought they wouldn’t see him again in that old scintillating form, that he might just turn up for the odd half-hearted cameo … But Fisher confounds the sceptics by storming back into cyberspace with another wonderful piece – thanks Alan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Two delightful goals, and one that could have been but that ended up showing Dele wanted it, while Erik waited and should have received it too.
    What yesterday felt like was the mirror of this season; coming to its top four conclusion still with the chance to be runners up again, just with no bottlers tag this time.
    A slow start, feeling out new territory be that a hoodoo’d Wembley or a wounded floundering Chelsea, there for the taking, you felt, like when we turned up at Old Trafford or the Emirates earlier this season.
    Now though we’ve earned more stripes, in Madrid, Dortmund, and Turin and now this group of players can look to each other and know, with certainty that there is a way back from adversity. There is a trust, a bond, a knowing that we are more. Juventus will hopefully be the final lesson taught to us this season and the spur for the next. Whichever players journey with this team into our new build home, grown up from the dust and rubble of previous teams built to win, just not in this image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for posting, good to read. The spirit and trust is real. It’s something we have, Poch has created with the players and it’s different from other teams. Better.

      Cheers, Alan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent match to choose for your return!! For me, Gary Neville hit the nail on the head perfectly upon the third goal going in, when he said something along the lines of there being mayhem in the away end. That summed it up for me. Spurs fans losing it, in a good way, en masse. That the players were every bit as ecstatic made it even better. The only negative about the whole thing was that I wasn’t one of those lucky fans :-).

    It may be just my faulty memory but the last time I recall such absolute joy and pandemonium among the fans was celebrating the second of three goals away to Swansea after being 0-1 down on 89 minutes.A Brilliant Feeling just seeing it, let alone being part of it.

    Fantastic read Alan, thank you. Though given my good mood today you could have printed a picture of the Mendes ghost goal at Old Trafford, and it’s possible my blood pressure wouldn’t have spiralled out of control as it usually does on this topic ..

    Cheers, Danny Boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Danny, Swansea was another one, like Sunday, when you felt the joy radiating from the stands through the tele to our sofas. Bedlam indeed.

      Regards, Al

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  6. Am still shaking my head at that Dele goal. It all seemed to happen in slow motion, yet was over in a flash. Pure brilliance !!!!
    Oh, and by the way, nice to have you back Alan
    Up the Spurs

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As great as the first Dele goal is, the second is amazing for the way he plants his right foot behind theball nudges it out and places it in the net. This take a mind that goes into slow motion at the appropriate moment. Thank you Alan – for standing up for our great young player!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Alan, great piece!!
    What a great win and hopefully all the pessimistic supporters can stop their dribble and focus on all the positives about our club.
    We have a fantastic future with a young team , great manager and our new stadium.
    I think we can get to second and win the FA cup. Here’s hoping!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice piece, especially on Dele. Just a thought; watch again, does Sonny really have time to flick that to Erik? If he’d have tried it I suspect a Chelsea boot might have appeared and diverted it, I’m constantly amazed at how Prem defenders block things that look certain. I watched yesterday in a sports bar in south London – very few Chelsea, 75% Spurs it seemed. I went completely bonkers, lost it totally, embarrassing. Didn’t relax until 90 minutes was up, Chelsea had quite a few half chances, far more than the Gooners at Wembley. Lamela should get a big mention by the way; his movement between the lines was superb throughout, he was hyperactive, but it has to be said he did little things that upset their creative players that I’m not proud to say I loved, especially on Cesc. I was reading an interview with Lamela about the Buenos Aires derbies and what goes on… ‘it’s too much’ he said, but he brought that passion and on-the-edge niggly stuff that really helped us. Nothing to feel guilty about, just remember all the times it was done to us by Chelsea, and just a few weeks back at Wembley by Juve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Coco Lamela, practitioner of the dark arts of Argentina, as once also practiced by El Poch. He leads the pressing charge, gets his foot in, digs the ball out. A lot of it is tactical, to disrupt their skilled players, as you noted (as Juve did to us and Cheatski in the past). Long may it continue!

      Like

  10. Nice article, really enjoyed reading it, seem a talented writer (Not that I am by any means an expert in literature) But based on the amount of blogs I read followed by the lack of support on “Said” blogs, its seems your writing is well recieved, all the best and as I say thoroughly enjoyed the read.

    Up the Spurs #COYS

    Like

  11. We’ve got Dele Alli
    There is something really enjoyable about watching this young man, whether he is winding up the opposition players or fans, little tricks flicks or megs, or scoring totally outrageous goals. I genuinely love this young man. (in manly way of course)
    As for all the bullshit that comes his way, it smacks of nothing more than jealousy. Whether they admit it or not opposition fans and so called pundits, would love him in their side.
    I also feel i need to apologise to Eric lamela after his year and a bit on the sidelines i felt that we maybe should of just cut our loses on him. Never been so happy to be proved wrong. He has been fantastic recently. His inch perfet no look passes left or right foot, his attacking intent, or the bite in his tackle. He genuinely excites me. In fact being a spurs excites me these day. Did I just say that out loud? You bet your arse I did. It’s been a long time coming mind you.
    Ladies and gentlemen we have arrived.
    COYS
    Great writing again Al

    Liked by 2 people

    • Admit it’s excites you. Because it does and it should. Good to be a spur. Dele’s flicks slightly irritate to be honest if he overdoes them. Fewer of them these days. Not his first option. Part of his maturity.

      Regards, Alan

      Like

  12. Lots of reasons to enjoy the return of the best Spurs blogger, but this analysis of Dele Alli in the context of how we treat young people in British society is good enough for me. Excellent as always, Al. Thank you and welcome back. We miss you.

    Like

  13. Two treats in a week, beating Chelsea at the Bridge and the return of Alan to the keyboard. I’d almost given up on both and am delighted! My favourite moment? Seeing Harry Kane celebrating like a fan not once but twice. Not self consciously placing himself in someone else’s spotlight, just sheer joy from a Spurs fan who also happens to be the best no 9 in the world.

    Like

  14. Who needs live pictures and ‘expert’ analysis (e.g. on Sky) when we have this blog?
    Indeed, a great match to make a return, with a great essay, Alan.
    Four points less than at this stage last season, but looking stronger and hungrier into the future. Like Chris says, above, second place here we come! And that FA Cup will look lovely at the new stadium. Lofty targets we must have!
    Feel ten feet tall, walking around my corner of the world these days. How could anyone fail to notice Tottenham by now? Even in Zimbabwe!
    COYS! And you please keep it up Alan.

    Like

  15. Pingback: Momentum | The end Of The Tunnel

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