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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 114) (07.03.16)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 114
Submitted by Norman Giller

Norman Giller writes for Spurs Odyssey

Reality time, folks!

Reality time, folks! The odds are that following Saturday’s rollercoaster North London Derby, Tottenham – at best – will finish second in the Premier League title race. The championship is Leicester’s to lose, and the way they have been playing all season I just cannot see them tossing away their five-point lead. You must be somebody without any romance in your soul if you can’t reach out to Leicester and wish them luck in what is one of the most remarkable football fairytales of all time.

Now, friends (and even foes), can we all pause for a moment and consider what I just typed in that first paragraph: SECOND IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE RACE.

Hand on heart, how many of you would have gladly accepted that situation before a ball was kicked last August? I believe the championship challenge has come a year earlier than even Generalissimo Pochettino anticipated.

Yet to hear the moaners and the groaners after the 2-2 draw with the Nomads, you would think Tottenham were having a disastrous season.

I just wish Harry Kane’s scrumptious goal that lifted the score to 2-1 on Saturday had arrived ten minutes later. The Tottenham players celebrated too soon, as if they had the game won.

They literally took their eye off the ball and their foot off the accelerator, and allowed the ten men of Woolwich to poach an equaliser. It has to be said that by the sky-high standards Hugo Lloris sets for himself he will be disappointed that he did not save the Sanchez shot.

I hear people saying that maximum points from our next two League games against Aston Villa and Bournemouth are in the bag, but that is dangerous talk that can take the team into the clutches of complacency.

And as our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul Smith pointed out in his balanced match report, there are minefield trips to Liverpool and Chelsea waiting down the road. You think they’re going to hand us the points on a plate? They will be as nasty as Donald Trump on the stump.

From here on in, every game is an Everest climb. Tottenham cannot afford to drop any points if they are to continue to lead the chase of the Foxes. No hunting ban in the Premier League.

And, of course, getting in the way of the League title challenge is the little matter of the Europa League, and the first of two legs on Thursday against German giants Borussia Dortmund.

For those of you lucky to be going to Dortmund, prepare yourself for one of the most electric ground atmospheres in European football. Westfalenstadion, with an 81,000 capacity, bounces with enthusiasm on which you can warm your hands. Good luck to the excellent travelling Spurs choir in trying to make themselves heard.

Several of Tottenham’s key players – in particular Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen – are looking fairly knackered as they come to the business end of the season, and it will be interesting to see the strength of the team that Mauricio fields in the first leg. The high energy pressing game that Pochettino demands makes me feel tired watching it, so goodness knows what it must do to the men who have to do the running.

Will he be tempted to rest some of his major players, and put the main effort into the return leg at the Lane next week?

Over to you, Mauricio. Time to earn your pesos.


SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 31

Could you be the winner of the second Spurs Odyssey Quiz League?

Week THIRTY-ONE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and the large majority of you were on the ball with last week’s teaser: “I scored 15 goals in 75 international matches, and was signed for Tottenham for £11 million by George Graham. Who am I and which London club did I join when I left Spurs?”

The answer: Serhiy Rebrov, who failed to live up to expectations and Glenn Hoddle was happy to see him shipped off to West Ham. He is now manager at Dynamo Kiev, where he had his peak years as a player.

This week’s teaser: “I have won 74 international caps and scored six goals, and I played my early games under Martin Jol. Who am I and against which team was I sent off while playing for Spurs in a Europa League quarter-final?”

You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the club against which he was sent off.

Keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a huge, personally autographed photograph of Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2015-16 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.

PLEASE NOTE that because my server gave me problems for a couple of weeks I failed to receive some SOQL responses, and so I would like you to tell me if you think you have maximum points. I have discovered three contestants not listed in last week’s League table who should have been included among the leaders.

Email your answers, please, to SOQL31@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Closing date for entries: midnight this Friday.

First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Jack Harris of Swindon. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Jack, who is originally from Edmonton and has followed Spurs since his schooldays in the 1950s.

Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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