NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 391
Submitted by Norman Giller
What are you doing to us, Tottenham? We were on the the ceiling after the fantastic (freak) finish at Leicester … and then down in the dumps yesterday when Chelsea could claim to have won us outright. From freaks to geeks.
Three victories for Chelsea in three weeks underlines that Thomas Tuchell's Tigers have Tottenham by the tail. Our guru Paul H. Smith gives his armchair account of the match HERE, and even home comforts could not compensate him for a miserable result.
The main talking point from Tottenham's point of view is whether Harry Kane's 'goal' should have been allowed, netted against the run of play late in the first-half. He lightly pushed Chelsea defender Thiago Silva before clinically firing the ball into the net.
Silva went down as if shot, but the fact is that Harry did make contact, and in this day and age of cynical professionalism most defenders would have reacted in the same way.
I always try to judge such controversial moments by wondering what if it had happened at the other end. Tottenham fans would have screamed Blues murder if, say, Lukaku had shoved Eric Dier before firing the ball home.
Having watched many replays, I would say referee Paul Tierney got it right but he should have let VAR make the decision without instantly awarding a free-kick.
The bottom line is that Spurs were the second best side for most of the match and Chelsea thoroughly deserved their victory, particularly when taking into account Hakim Ziyech's magnificent goal early in the second-half that squashed the Spurs spirit.
Some people on line were knocking Hugo Lloris for not diving to try to save, but no goalkeeper in the world could have stopped the left foot wonder shot from the Dutchman, who regrettably picked this match to at last show his true power and poise.
For once, I thought Antonio Conte got his team selection wrong. From the moment he named a 4-4-2 selection featuring four full backs it was obvious he had made up his mind to try to pinch a point from Chelsea. We saw a performance that was more muscular than musical and Tottenham's lack of adventure got its just reward.
I was hoping Conte would try to cash in on the exultation that we all felt as Steven Bergwijn scored his two injury-time goals at Leicester (from immaculate passes by Hojbjerg and Harry Kane that deserve a place in the Tottenham Hall of Fame).
But we started on the back foot and never really got out of second gear. From the miracle of Leicester we found Chelsea a Bridge too far.
The defeat added fuel to the speculation that Conte will walk if Daniel Levy does not release the money to strengthen a squad that has too many ordinary players.
If Spurs win all their games in hand, they could easily find themselves in a top four position. Surely it makes sense to back Conte, with the FA Cup and Champions League qualification prizes still to play for.
It could be that we have seen the last of Dele Alli, who would thrive on the new challenge from a club like Newcastle. Also on the way out is Tanguy Ndombele, with PSG likely to sign a player of immense talent who just never got his act together for Tottenham.
There are all sorts of rumours of players coming in but time is running out.
A top four place still beckons, but only if we strengthen the squad. Come on, Mr Levy, get that chequebook out.
I shall be taking a week off as we go into the mid-winter break. See you back here on Monday week when we will know if we have progressed in the FA Cup at the expense of Brighton … and whether Daniel Levy has managed to convince Antonio Conte that he is prepared to back him in the transfer market.
Meantime, I am now taking orders for my official, authorised biography The One and Only Jimmy Greaves. You will find full details at www.normangillerbooks.com. I hope you will support me, knowing that for every book I sell a donation will go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, to help our old heroes.
The 23rd week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Which former Tottenham player has won 71 caps, played in the 2014 World Cup and which manager bought him from Newcastle United on transfer deadline day?
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 23. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in the previous seven 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. That’s when I become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.
This year’s prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book from my now very special Greavsie collection with autographs from the late, great Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay and Steve Perryman, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion 2022. Plus a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book AND a special bonus prize, the Eighty At Eighty book that I have written in harness with Sir Geoff Hurst, still the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick.
Answer to question No 22: Which son of a Dutch woman has won 27 international caps, and against which team was he sent off during a 3-0 home win in his first season as a Tottenham player?
Matt Doherty, who was sent off playing against Leeds United. The 'Dutch mother' clue took many of you down the wrong path.
See you back here same time, same place in twwo weeks. COYS!
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