NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 357
Submitted by Norman Giller
Arsenal bossed most of yesterday’s North London Derby and deserved the three points, despite a few "if only" moments from Spurs. Lamela's rabona made it memorable, and his red card made it miserable. But let’s remember there are still two trophies in Tottenham sights and a rather distant view of a top four place, so let’s not become suicidal.
That was my immediate summary at the final whistle, and I have no reason to change my instant view. Our guru Paul H. Smith draws his own conclusions HERE, and the marathon season rolls on.
I’ll be honest and admit that it was only when we saw replays that I realised Lamela had scored with a rare rabona. It was a speciality of his back home in Argentina and when I watched him producing it for River Plate as a teenager they were describing him as “Coco the clown … the next Maradona.”
He has a full box of tricks and the rabona – loosely translated, the swish of a cow’s tail in Spanish, or playing hookey – was commonplace for him, but this was only the second time he had produced it as a goal-scoring party piece for Spurs (the first in 2014 against Greek side Asteras Tripolis in a Europa League tie).
You only have to see Sergio Reguilon’s hands-to-head reaction (highlighted in Paul’s match report) to realise it was something special as Lamela scored, his left foot going around the outside of his standing right foot to steer the ball home. The action replay machine will be worked overtime showing the goal time and again.
I thought at my first look he had done something even rarer – scoring with his right foot; now that would have been a miracle. I have rarely seen such a one-footed player in a Spurs shirt.
This was the talent of Erik on show. Then his suspect temperament was exposed with a reckless hand-off that earned him a red card soon after a harshly conceded yellow. As Jose Mourinho said recently, ‘Things are often chaotic around Erik.’
Lamela is the last of the ‘Insignificant Seven’ players who were signed to replace Gareth Bale when he was transferred to Real Madrid. The Welsh Wizard was virtually invisible in this NLD as Spurs suddenly reverted to the negativity that proceeded five successive victories.
I saw shrivelling criticism of Harry Kane’s performance online, ignorantly overlooking the fact that he had appalling service. I have news for you – even Our Harry cannot play unless he has the ball. Yet with only limited input, he managed to hit a post, was inches off setting up a headed goal for Dele and had a goal ruled narrowly off-side.
The match-winning penalty awarded against the hugely improved Davinson Sanchez had Mourinho puzzled and perplexed. I was confident VAR would overturn it, but it was ruled that the tackle on Alexandre Lacazette was a foul. Is it just me, or has what happens in the penalty area with tackles and handballs been reduced to Russian roulette?
Heads up everybody. The defeat by the Woolwich Nomads – a very average side by their standards – cut deep, but there is still much to play for. Keep the faith. COYS!
We continue to 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 April, with two Thursday last eight Europa League matches to be added, provided – protecting a 2-0 lead – they finish the job against Dinamo on Thursday.
Thur 18 Mar Dinamo Zagreb (away, 5.55 Europa League, 2nd leg)
Sun 21 Mar Aston Villa (away, 7.30, Premier League)
Sat 03 Apl Newcastle (away, 3.00, Premier League)
Sat 10 Apl Man United (home, 3.00, Premier League)
Sat 17 Apl Everton (away, 3.00, Premier League)
Sun 25 Apl Man City (Wembley, 4.00, League Cup final)
Yes, keep the faith. COYS!
The 28th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge. A quick call-over: There are more than 40 of you jostling for first place, including two-times champion David Guthrie, 2019 title holder from Down Under Graham Eyre and reigning Quiz Queen Emily Hadjinicolaou. All of you have got every question right and have each amassed a maximum 81 points. I will be “sorting you out” in May with my killer tie break challenge. Meantime, this week’s question is:
Which Surrey-born player won 28 Scottish caps, played in a League Cup Final for Tottenham team and from which club did he join Spurs in 2000?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL28@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
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 the year Tottenham won the Double, played twice for England, joined Spurs from Coventry and against which team did he help Spurs win the Uefa Cup?
The answer: This was the desperately unlucky Danny Thomas, whose career was ended by injury at the age of 26. He was on the winning side against Anderlecht in the 1983-84 Uefa Cup final and many of you recalled how the fans chanted his name after he had missed his penalty in the dramatic shoot-out. These days I think he would have been jeered instead of cheered. We were nicer back then. Danny had the character to climb above the disappointment of his early retirement, and became a prominent physiotherapist with a master’s degree, and he built a successful business in Florida.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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