It's only a game lads, only a game.
Get used to it. The Spurs are coming
We've played better and lost. Why don't we play the second half first? There's nothing in the rules to prevent it. It would make life a lot easier for us long suffering fans. That’s the eighth time we've gone a goal down and yet we've recovered 4 times to win and once to draw. The win against Arsenal away from home has been a long time coming but when it came it chose its moment with care and delivered multiple simultaneous orgasms. The whole Spurs community is suffering severe post coital deflation.
After the high fives, the hugging,, and the spilling of beer after the Kaboul goal I felt a flash of anger as I thought, 'About bloody time'. Our failure to beat a 'Top Four side away from home for so long has just been ridiculous and honestly inexplicable. The Emirates was just the place to break the hoodoo. Now for Old Trafford.
The win was satisfying on a number of levels: it stopped Arsenal from going top: it anointed captain for the day Gallas in some style, and what a psychological master stroke by Harry to give him the job on his first league return to the Arsenal; it was a timely boost for our own Premier League aspirations and keeps us well in touch with 4th place; it gives us impetus for Wednesday's game against Werder Bremen which could seal our entry to the next round of the Champions' League; and it makes an old man very happy. But that's another story.
Apart from that it was just another game. Harry's cunning plan to go two goals behind, lull them into a false sense of security and then, when they thought it was all over, whack em with three goals was brilliantly executed. Van de Vaart, who didn't have a great game apart from two assists and a goal, has made the difference this season.
Firstly for his goals but mainly for his attitude. He has inspired his team-mates, particularly Bale but also Modric and Jenas to up their game. He clearly doesn't like losing and won't accept defeatism in the other players. He leads by example and his will to win is infectious. His work rate even when carrying an injury is phenomenal. What we were calling 'mental strength' last season is embodied in him and it has spread throughout the team.
He must have sat on Robbie's towel in the showers as he has unfortunately contracted 'Keanes Disease': a tendency to try to do everyone else's job and neglect his own. At one point he collected the ball on the edge of our penalty area level with Gallas and Kaboul and some 50yds from Pavlyuchenko who he was supposed to be supporting. However he was once again in the right place to collect Defoe's header on and set up Bale for the crucial comeback goal early in the second half. 'Very small striker out-jumps two very tall defenders to set up first goal shock'.
There is no doubt that we were much tighter in the second half, closed down Fabregas, and populated the midfield in a way that we hadn't done in the first half. Also there is no doubt that they relaxed and couldn't respond when we took up the initiative. Defoe,Van der Vaart, Modric and Bale no longer marooned on the wing took the game to Arsenal and they were forced to lump the ball forward which played into the hands of Kaboul who clearly gets off on heading the ball. Gallas had a good game for the second match running and was my MOM. His early tackle on Nasri set the tone for his performance.
Gomes has taken some stick for his hesitancy for the first goal but in view of his sending off against Inter he was probably wary of making a premature rush. He retreated when it looked as if Nasri would control the ball and too late when he realised that in fact his first touch was poor. His one handed save from Fabregas which would have given them a 3-2 lead was top class and balances the scales for me.
Nasri's childish gesture in not shaking hands with Gallas rebounded spectacularly as all such gestures are likely to do and though he scored a good goal early on: it's always better to have the last laugh than the first.
Bale coming off the wing again scored another goal from a central position and that's not counting his near post header from Van der Vaart's corner last week. People will start to talk if they get together as frequently in the future. He seems to be moving inside more to escape the double marking and because coming from there onto his left foot is an effective tactic. It also leaves space for Ekotto to overlap which he is willing and able to do.
So Harry, thinking on his feet, triumphs again. It wasn't working in the first half so he fixed it in the second. Lennon was replaced by Defoe, Jenas moved closer to Fabregas. Harry has said that he favours going for broke by attacking and it is something of a return to the Ossie Ardiles philosophy of scoring one more than the opposition. That certainly suits me.
We have gone 17 games without a clean sheet and the old days of tight defence have been replaced by a more buccaneering attitude. Perhaps things will change when we get our regular centre halves back and that includes Woodgate by all accounts. Where are we going to put them all? Harry has taught us this season that when everything looks lost it's not necessarily so. That whatever it is, we can do it. That records are there to be broken no matter how many years or games they go back.
Our recent revival pre-dates Harry; two fifth placed finishes under Jol, the Carling Cup under Ramos; The home wins against Arsenal and Chelsea in the run in last season; qualifying for the Champions'League qualifyers; beating Inter Milan; winning away at the Emirates from 2-0 down are all markers on the upward graph of the Mighty Spurs and Harry has been instrumental in accelerating this ascent.
On Wednesday at the Lane we have the chance to qualify for the next stage of the Champions' League at the first time of asking. Harry has done us proud and is a good fit for the club. He is experienced, down to earth, good with players and has created an effective force out of a good squad. He is not perfect but neither are you or I and today is not the day to dwell on negativity. A big 'thankyou' to Harry and the boys.
Carling Cup Mr.Wenger? It's all yours.