I approached Wembley with a sense of dread and it wasn’t just the thought of 65,000 odd Tottenham fans in close vicinity that was making my stomach churn. There had been a lot of opinions bandied about since our loss to Burnley and little of it was good. But, historically, Chelsea always seem to pull it out of the bag when most under the cosh, so I should have had a bit more faith.
The Wembley Spurs experience was predictably stage managed and made for a strange atmosphere from the “home” fans. Jingoistic Spurs songs played at 140 decibels, a man with a very gravely voice booming out Spurs poetry (yes, really) and a drum played over the PA system was Tottenham’s idea of trying to make Wembley feel like home. In truth it fell very far from the mark and in fact their crowd was pretty quiet throughout. It makes me fear our own inevitable sabbatical at the national stadium all the more. Still at least they’ve shown us what not to do.
But back to the actual football. This week we’ve had the Costa saga ramped up by the man himself trying to garner sympathy from the footballing community at large. “Boo-hoo – I just wanna leave cos that nasty old Antonio doesn’t want me – I wanted to stay but he was mean to me and all my friends agree”. The rights and wrongs of sending that text apart, Costa had made no secret of his wanting to leave to go back to Spain almost since he signed for us. He also allegedly formally asked Conte if he could leave three times last season. What manager would want a player with such little commitment leading the line for his team?
Speaking of Conte he seemed much happier this week. Perhaps some assurances of new players have been made on the back of last week’s result and significant press comment on the weakness of our squad. He certainly seemed more relaxed in Friday’s press conference and during the game he was back to his usual passionate self. He should take great satisfaction out of that game as he played it exactly right. David Luiz called it a “clever” game as we knew that given the enforced 11 we had to play and the short time our newbies had had to settle in the team and the Premiership we couldn’t go head to head in terms of passing, possession, nor attacking. Instead we were patient absorbed the pressure, allowed them possession and took our chances when they arose. Of course we also rode our luck a couple of times but it’s proved that Conte and the players have more than one string to their bow.
I know it’s pointless my even discussing the refereeing performance but I have to just get it out of my system. Cahill saw red last week yet Vertonghen on Moses and Dier on Luiz, which in my mind were much worse tackles saw them stay on the pitch. But Tottenham do seem to see more leniency than other teams and I really don’t understand why. How’s this for a stat, Tottenham haven’t had a red in 81 league games. Strange huh? Anyway…..
The Spurs fans didn’t seem to take the loss particularly well launching coins, drinks and plastic flag sticks at us from the tier above – rather unsporting hey? That said, never let it be said that they’re mean as there were one and two pound coins amongst the incoming – had I hung around long enough I’m sure they could have paid for my celebration drinks!
Unlike the fans, the Spurs manager was happy with his team and they way they played, going as far as saying he could accept losing this way. Which in one sentence has summed up why Tottenham fail to win the league every year. In fact it is very Arsenal-esque in it’s philosophy – must be a north London thing. We’ll just keep winning by whatever means necessary and never accepting defeat willingly – after all, that’s what makes Champions.
Posted by Trizia
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