NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 260
Submitted by Norman Giller
Sunday – bloody Sunday the 13th. Just what price are Spurs going to pay for yesterday’s undeserved defeat by rejuvenated Manchester United? All eyes will be on the medical bulletins coming out of Tottenham this week as injuries to Mousa Sissoko, Dele Alli and – worse of all – Harry Kane are assessed.
Spurs Odyssey guru Paul Smith and I had been discussing the merits of the recently released Stan and Ollie film before the match, and now Spurs have gotten themselves into a fine mess because their squad is just not strong enough.
This defeat and the injury problems increases pressure on Daniel Levy to strengthen a pool of players that is about to be temporarily even more weakened by the departure of Son Heung-Min for the Asian Games.
It is the Kane ankle injury in the very last minute of a magnificent match that will cause greatest concern at Spurs. The way he hobbled off the pitch at the end told its own story that this was a serious knock, and Our Harry is the last player Tottenham can afford to be without as they continue to battle for silverware on four fronts.
Dele Alli seemed the less serious of the walking wounded, but many consider the studding of his thigh by the talented but temperamental Pogba should have been punished with a red card.
Sissoko, now recognised as one of Tottenham’s most influential players, has a groin strain that could keep him out for at least two weeks. But we all know that it’s the side-lining of Kane that will cost Mauricio Pochettino sleep.
Relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday is followed by the second leg of the Carabao Cup at Chelsea, and then comes the FA Cup fourth round challenge against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Dortmund in the Champions League wait around the corner in February.
It is a peak-pressure time of the season and Harry Kane and his goals are desperately needed. He might have had a hat-trick yesterday but for the extraordinary goalkeeping of David De Gea.
His thou-shall-not-pass performance would have revived memories for older supporters of the way Pat Jennings used to break opposition hearts with the expert use of his feet when between the posts for Spurs. It was a kick in the teeth for Tottenham’s hopes of maintaining their challenge for the Premier League title, but let’s be positive and remember that – in third place – we are still within shooting distance of Liverpool and Man City.
De Gea made eleven saves as Spurs strived to wipe out a United goal brilliantly burgled by Marcus Rashford after a surgical pass from Pogba, and recorded here in Paul H. Smith’s match report.
Those blaming Tottenham finishing rather than praising De Gea’s goalkeeping are being less than generous to the superman from Madrid.
It was a wonderful match to witness for neutrals, but for those of us who watch with our heart in our mouths it had our blood pressure soaring. Even Stan and Ollie could not have cheered us up at the end.
Yes, Sunday bloody Sunday the 13th.
Question No 22 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:
Who was a World Cup winner, collected 67 caps, won two League Cup finals with Spurs and which Yorkshire club did he briefly manage?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL22@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
This year’s prizes for the champion: A framed Harry Kane autographed picture, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and (most precious of all) a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
Last week I asked: Which defender has won 103 international caps, joined Spurs from Manchester City and which team does he now skipper?
More than 60 of you were on the ball with Vedran ‘Charlie’ Corluka, who has won 103 caps with Croatia and now skippers Lokomotive Moscow.
Please keep a check on your scores. I will be trusting you to count your points as I do not have faith in my email server.
Thank you for taking part. Have a wonderful 2019. See you back here same time, same place next week. Keep the faith. COYS!
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