There's people all over the media. They think its all over. Its not yet. Managers; ex-managers; managers about to become ex-managers; ex-managers about to become managers are all over Spurs like a rash. The latest is Sir Alex` but as we play them on Tuesday in the Carling Cup we have to examine this gift horse with care. Does he want us to play Huddlestone , our most gifted but most vulnerable player and Palacios, who has been off form for a while? Or not?
What sort of team will he put out? What sort of team will Harry put out? Given that this Cup gives maximum benefit for the minimum of effort will we go for it? If you have a clue drop me a line. I've no idea.
In the meantime after Villa its not just the managerial ranks who are auditioning to be in our backing group. Its senior pundits too. Hold the front page! Senior pundit says Spurs are favorites to take Top Four place ahead of Man.City and Aston Villa. (But don't write of Liverpool just yet, obviously) And who was this senior pundit? Well actually it was Alan Shearer on Match Of The Day, but let's not split hairs here. Be nice to those you meet on the way up you might meet them on the way down.
Do we need 'Our Alan' to tell us what we already knew after Saturdays game? Man.City, they of the award winning seven consecutive draws couldn't beat Hull at home, and we exposed Villa as mere 'pretenders' while establishing our own credentials as the real 'contenders' as the TV. billing had it.
We were put onto the back foot for 25 minutes by their early scrambled goal and they had six corners in this time, but by the end of the match they were hanging on and we had claimed every statistic. This included an astonishing successful pass tally of over 300 to their 170 and 64% possession. We played like the home team and on the front foot which is where I like us to play.
They defended well and got a grip on Lennon but last week against Wigan everything flew in and this week it didn't. We would have taken a point before the game and so would they but in the event we might easily have won it. More importantly we played as if we thought we could do so. This without our two first choice centre halves and Modric.
Dawson was captain and goalscorer and playing for the first time in the league with Bassong they gave a convincing impression of a first choice pairing. If Kranjcar hadn't turned in another classy performance I would have made Dawson man of the match.
Gomes did not have a single save to make in the whole game. Jenas came on for Palacios to confound his critics again, as he did against Man.Utd, to give a demonstration of forceful attacking midfield play. He immediately struck up a partnership with Huddlestone which threatened to win the game for us and we pressed for the winner until the end.
I was completely fooled by Harry's pre-match interviews and thought that Keane would start and that Jenas might be preferred to Huddlestone. I aught to know better by now. Tom has started every game this season and so far Palacios has been our midfield anchorman.
This was a statement of intent by Harry and the squad and added the element of belief to our play. And why not? We've been in the top four almost the whole season, we are well into the second third and there is clear blue Lillywhite water appearing between us and the rest. We are developing an attitude and the mentality to achieve success.
The return of Lennon and Defoe and the quality of Kranjcar have given us a lift and one wonders where Modric will fit in. Only joking Luka you can play where you like mate, we'll slot the rest in around you. Unfortunately I don't think we will see the best of him until after Xmas now. What price a cameo role for him or Gio on Tuesday in the Carling Cup where even the ghost of Pavlyuchenko might get a start. He wasn't even on the bench on Saturday.
We are the only team standing now between a return to the 'normal' Top Four. It makes us an objective for a new level of player and helps to keep our own top players happy to stay. If we slip up then the bloodhounds will be sniffing around and cocking their legs on Modric, Lennon and Defoe and marking out their territory on our key players.
Tottenham supporters as always are more circumspect not to say downright fearful that we are peaking to early, getting too much attention, putting our heads above the parapet and drawing the sniper's fire. All this praise is a Trojan horse designed to swell our heads and unbalance us from the high wire. Now you don't recall the Trojan horse episode but friends I was there. Its a load of balony. Remember Bill Nicholson
' Its better to fail aiming high than succeed aiming low.'
I'm with Bill on this one and I don't intend to keep quiet about it. 'Chutzpah' covers it.