Tempting Fate? Spurs supporter on Blackpool Beach
Your response to the Chelsea game will partly depend on your temperament. Are you a half empty sort of supporter or a half full type of fan? Depending on your answer you will either be lamenting two points lost by inept defending or thankfully accepting a single point snatched out of the jaws of imminent defeat by a dramatic extra time penalty save.
This was an enthralling game in which a growing fear that we might not hold on to a slender lead was dramatically proved correct after a blunder by Gomes. But in the end sheer relief prevailed as he committed another one to give away a penalty and then saved it to preserve the draw. Another classic performance by Spurs then. Unlucky not to win, lucky not to lose, relieved to get a draw in the end.
A clean sheet and it was ours but there's little chance of that this season. Firstly though 'welcome back Wilson Palacios'. His passing was excellent ,his discipline with Modric in midfield was commendable and the two of them though tactically outnumbered played excellently especially for the first half. The Chelsea change to 442 was not matched by Harry and the substitution of Defoe for Crouch pointless, as was the introduction of the old warhorse Robbie Keane. He gave his usual impression of a blue-bottle trapped under an upturned jam-jar and I am not certain that he actually touched the ball in his fifteen minutes of fame.
With Sandro, Kaboul, Corluka and Giovani on the bench there were more logical and interesting moves to bolster the midfield and having a striker whose main use is defensive headers from set pieces is intriguing to say the least. But Gomes was the main cause of our downfall although his save from, er Palacios, was brilliant.
Pavlyuchenko delighted his supporters with a classic striker's goal from an assist from Defoe which is in itself a rarity. He made a yard on three defenders by dropping off, then a beautiful take, turn and drive into the corner for the goal. He is top scorer ( 7 with Bale) and leading scorer in terms of goals scored/minutes played. (1/123 mins.) Mathematicians amongst you can easily calculate that in a 60 game season that is 40 goals.
So the question is: Why doesn' he get more starts? He doesn't do assists it is true but neither does Defoe. One of life's great mysteries. I like Peter Crouch but not as a striker for Spurs.
But we took on the current champions and played as if we thought we could win. I like my Spurs cocky and overall we were a good match for them. We maintained our unbeaten run against the current top five so far this season, except for Manchester United of course and I'm working on my voodoo doll for the return fixture. We asserted our right to be considered as one of the elite. Moreover we are being crowned as the most entertaining team to watch on a weekly basis, the neutrals' favourite club. Outside of London apparently all clubs have a 'Stand up if you love Spurs' chant.
We are still in touch with the Champions' League places despite our injury list and the bare bones once again dragged themselves from their coffins in the crypt to delight those who agree with Danny Blanchflower that '"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom." Don't step back Danny I'm right behind you.
I like Harry too but this match demonstrated both his strengths and weaknesses. He put out a decent team and deployed his restricted choices well. He sent them out ready, confident, and 'up for it'. Players who have been lacklustre or injured were primed to go: Dawson,Palacios, Lennon, Defoe. Former rejects like Hutton and Bale are regulars if not stars now; the recently overlooked, like Bassong, all turned up and they played like a team. All this is tribute to the restorative powers of whatever is in Harry's Special Tonic.
But in the substitutions and tactics department Harry either needs a crash course or to get some better advisers. He doesn't respond quickly or creatively enough. But then as Mrs JimmyG2 is always pointing out to me, 'Nobody's perfect'. I notice with a detached half smile she seems to exclude herself from this judgment.
On the good news front, I think, Harry seems to have become the frontrunner in a field of one for the England Managership which even Harry himself realises is a poisoned chalice. Roy's inability to inspire Liverpool and Sam's second sacking in two years leaves our man only needing to complete the course to win.
There are one or two hurdles ahead but Harry could win this at a canter, hands down. Perhaps it should have been declared a walkover from the start. Unless a dark horse looms up on the rails in the final furlong or Harry stumbles and has to be humanely shot then it's job done.
Anyway like Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen I am putting the telescope to my blind eye and only looking as far ahead as Sunday. With a full week to prepare, recover and rest we might just tear into Blackpool before we do the same to our Christmas turkey, content that we have negotiated the first half of the season with some distinction. Blackpool at home under Ian Holloway will be open and attacking.
That will make two of us but we have more quality weapons to play with and should outgun them by a distance, subject to no more casualties. Actually they've run out of beds in the sick bay and they are lining them up in the corridor. Joe Jordan is holding their hands and Kevin Bond is taking their temperatures hourly.
As the official toastmaster of 'The Glass More Than Half Full Society' I feel that we can face the second half of the season with a smile on our faces.Firstly because of the way we are playing; secondly because our injury list cannot be as long in the new year; thirdly because confidence comes from success and what does success mean? Prizes: exactly.