Look to the future now
Its only just begun (Slade)
But first a quick look at the past.
A fourth consecutive clean sheet for the first time since 2001; 10 points out of 12 over Xmas, our best Yuletide performance for,for, well ages. This could be the crucial launch pad for the third phase of the season.
Away to Fulham, who were fresh from beating Man.Utd 3-0, Harry was clearly wary and so were they. We traveled intending not to lose and turned in a determined performance by all concerned, particularly Dawson as captain and a match saving one by Gomes. But then that's what goalkeepers are for. A year ago here he dropped a Simon Davies' shot into the net and entered Goalkeeper Hell. He became the butt of tabloid and not a few Spurs 'supporters' jokes but proved over the past year that 'class is permanent'.
Against a poorly performing W.Ham side with both injury and financial problems we scored early but didn't manage to secure the game until Defoe's powerful strike in the 80th minute. But even at 1-0 there was no real danger as we out possessed them; out passed them; out cornered them and out shot them, on and off target. For the first time in years I wasn't even edgy with just a one goal lead. Ledley completed 90 minutes and Modric returned and scored. We played some sparkling football, Lennon was magical and nobody had a bad game.
1)To carry on enjoying it whatever happens.
2)To continue arguing for as little change to the squad as possible in January.
3)To continue to believe that whatever I say, or hope, or believe does not affect the results. I may make a fool of myself but it doesn't actually damage Spurs prospects.
4)To believe with Sir Bill that, 'It is better to fail aiming high than succeed aiming low'
Heroes so far:
Dawson who has stepped into the centre half breach and staked a claim for the captaincy.
Gomes for his triumph over adversity and return to top form.
Kranjcar who almost made us forget that Modric was injured.
Lennon our fleet footed flier who can now cross, chew gum, and run all at the same time.
Villains so far:
David Bentley. Never has so much been spent on somebody for so little return.
Robbie Keane. More of a disappointment than a villain to be fair.
This squad can certainly break into the Top Four. It has the necessary quality and depth and is getting belief and consistency of performance.
Our next 13 games in the run up to the Arsenal game are crucial as we play 3 of the usual suspects in the last five games and need to be ahead of the game by then. At least our fate will be in our own hands.
But in this next batch of matches only Liverpool away and Man.City away are difficult (on paper). The other 11 are all winnable. I know, I know 'famous last words' and matches aren't played 'on paper'.
A Liverpool late run in the home straight cannot be discounted. Man.City with a new jockey aboard are perhaps more of a threat and have won their last two outings. Aston Villa don't have the pedigree to sustain their challenge. Birmingham's early show will soon peter out. Sunderland and Fulham are unsuited to this quality of race. Everton were non-starters this time out and are rumoured to be going out to stud.
My prediction is that Spurs will challenge with Man.City for fourth behind Chelsea, Man.Utd, and Arsenal. Aston Villa and Liverpool will compete for sixth.
Would I be disappointed if we lose out in the battle for 4th place? Of course, but that would still represent real progress. We are playing attractive, attacking football with more determination in the midfield and tightness in defence. The squad is young and can make further progress next season under Harry even if we fade in the run in this year.
Modric, Kranjcar, and the return of Woodgate might just tip the odds in our favour and good luck with injuries might just allow us to claim the 4th spot.
Its a pleasant change to note that with just one more win we are safe from relegation well before the end of January. I'm not sure whether to blog this or write it on rice paper and swallow it, just in case. Nope. See resolution 3)
Preview; Peterborough (F.A. Cup )
This kind of fixture over the years has produced more banana skins than a Chimpanzee's tea party but I'm not sure that even Tottenham can mess this one up.
Peterborough are bottom of the Championship and have won only three matches in 24 games, none of then away.
I would protect as many first choice regulars as possible so hopefully young Bale will play himself in for the Liverpool match, Dawson and Bassong and perhaps Hutton or Naughton will complete the back line. Jenas and Keane will probably start and whoever plays we should keep another clean sheet and score 3or 4 as we did against them pre-season.
You can get good odds on either Pavlyuchenko or Gio starting or even appearing, but I live in hope.
Happy New Year from JimmyG2.