NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 343
Submitted by Norman Giller
How many of yesterday’s 2,000 Golden Ticket Spurs fans at the North London Derby are today in need of treatment by a chiropractor? Their anxious gaze was collectively locked on the Tottenham penalty area for so long that they must have risked getting ricked necks.
But the view that really matters is of Spurs again at the top of the Premier League table, and Arsenal were sent home nursing the heartache of a 2-0 defeat in a match during which they had 69 per cent possession. They sat on the ball so long it’s a wonder they didn’t hatch it.
As I said here last week, we’ve got to get used to the Jose Mourinho way of playing football. It’s called contain, counter, conquer. If I were a coroner, I would give the verdict that Arsenal passed themselves to death against a tight Spurs rearguard that was as miserly as Ebenezer Scrooge, giving nothing away.
This is just not the sort of football with which I have got old watching Spurs play for more than 70 years. It is not in our DNA to continually hide behind a deep defence.
But Jose is winning more and more people around to his way of thinking. He has certainly got the Tottenham players on board, because they are all working their socks off to make his defence-dominated plan successful.
Promoting his own particular brand of propaganda, he dismisses talk of a title challenge and insists Spurs are just a pony in a thoroughbred race. But I think already we can look forward to Spurs being in with a chance of the title coming off Tattenham – okay, Tottenham – Corner.
Anything is possible when you have world-class strikers of the quality of Heung-min Son and ‘our own’ Harry Kane to snatch cracking goals on the counter. Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H.Smith tells how each of them collared classic first-half goals HERE.
Harry’s goal makes him the leading marksman of all time in North London Derbies. Thumped home with his left foot from a precision pass by Sonny, it was his 11th goal in matches between Tottenham and Arsenal, overtaking Emmanuel Adebayor and Double hero Bobby Smith. To add to the startling stats, it was also his 250th goal for clubs and country – 32 England, 202 Tottenham, nine Millwall, five Leyton Orient and two Leicester – as well as his 100th goal at home for Tottenham.
Just as impressive as his finishing was his work rate, playing much of the game as a midfield marauder and getting back to clear up in defence. The man’s energy is just amazing.
Spurs statisticians were in ecstasy as the Kane/Sonny partnership moved to new heights. They have now combined for 31 goals in the Premier League, a record that places them behind only Didier Drogba/Frank Lampard as a modern partnership. It was also the eighth time that Kane had made a goal for Son this season, placing him one behind Stan Collymore/Robbie Fowler for Liverpool and Mike Newell/Alan Shearer for Blackburn, both in the 1995-96 season when it was Man United who took the title.
We will be keeping a close watch on the stats while Kane and Son are so hot together. ‘Clinical,’ Son calls it in his perfect English. He is also fluent in German. A linguist who is at his most articulate with his fast feet. In any language everybody loves Sonny.
Harry and Sonny are just two assists short of the 13 from-me-to-you combination record held by Chris Sutton/Shearer
The records keep piling up. This was also Kane’s tenth assist of the season, equalling the quickest time any player has reached double figures, a record set by Mesut Ozil in 2015-16. How Arsenal could have done with a peak-form Ozil to help Arsenal unlock Tottenham’s padlocked defence.
Son’s fiercely struck 13th minute goal was his tenth of this surreal Premier League season. Yes, Sonny and Harry are up there with the best Tottenham double acts I have seen: Len Duquemin and Les Bennett, Bobby Smith and Les Allen, Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves and, of course, my personal favourites, the G-Men – Alan Gilzean and Greavsie. Big Martin Chivers and Gilly were also a bit special, as were Archibald and Crooks and Berbatov and Keane.
As good as the goals were from Harry and Sonny, it is the blank sheet that pleased Mourinho even more. How great to see Sissoko and Aurier silencing the keyboard warriors who were questioning their right to be in the team, but more impressive even than the formidable Frenchmen was the perpetual motion man Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. He runs around like dear old Nobby Stiles on speed and manages to make Spurs seems as if they have twelve men on the pitch.
He is the perfect player to help make the Mourinho tactics work. And there is still the Welsh Wizard Gareth Bale to produce from the bench … and Dele Alli continues to search for his mojo.
It is all looking rather promising! Contain, counter, conquer. COYS!
Many of you comment on how you like to see the upcoming fixtures listed here (I know, better than my waffling words) … so I will repeat them here every week as we tick off the matches on the way (fingers crossed) to silverware in what is the Centenary of the 1921 FA Cup win, the Platinum celebration of the 1951 Push and Run title, the Diamond Jubilee of the 1961 Double Year, the Ruby anniversary of Ricky’s ‘Goal of the Century’ in the 1981 FA Cup final triumph, and, of course, the Pearl anniversary of the last time Spurs won the FA Cup in 1991.
These are the fixtures facing Spurs to the end of the year…
Thur 10 Dec Antwerp (home, 8.00, Europa League)
Sun 13 Dec C. Palace (home, 2.15, Premier League)
Wed 16 Dec Liverpool (away, 8.00, Premier League)
Sun 20 Dec Leicester (home, 2.15, Premier League)
Wed 23 Dec Stoke (away, 5.30, League Cup quarter-final)
Sun 27 Dec Wolves (away, 7.15, Premier League)
Wed 30 Dec Fulham (home, 6.00, Premier League)
Wonder if Spurs will still be top of the mountain after this little lot? If so, we can then start actually having title dreams. Even José might concede we are in the race. Stay safe. COYS!
The 14th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake – two for identifying the player and one for the supplementary question. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo two, books from my Greavsie collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
Last week’s SOQL question: Who was born in Hull, joined Spurs from school, was capped 23 times, played in two losing FA Cup semi-finals, and which manager sold him to Middlesbrough?
The answer: Nick Barmby, who was sold to Middlesbrough by Gerry Francis. Nick was an exceptional player but because of niggling injuries and domestic pressures never really reached his potential with Spurs.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!