Hoodoo Dragon only half dead I'm afraid.
The JimmyG2 Column.
.I had this pretty piece all ready in my head after the Borussia Dortmund win at Wembley in the week in the Champions' league. A nagging doubt and second thoughts stopped me from posting it born of a long devotion to Tottenham.
You know the stuff: brilliant tactical Managership; fine performance; Dragons slain; myths put to bed; onwards and upwards; Harry world class; didn't miss Dele; defining week; blah blah blah.
Definite grounds for optimism, Wembley included at this point. but like politics a week is a long time and anything can happen. Actually 4 days in this case
Now of course all this is true and yet and yet. I am now puzzled over team selection and tactics against Swansea who we beat 5-0 last year at the Lane and 3-1 away and a little angry over the way we played.
But poor decisions and the crossbar and some excellent keeping by Fabiansky were the difference between a win and a draw. But in the minds of the Press the Wembley Hoodoo lives on at least in the Premiership.
We used the first half as a warm up for the real thing and Swansea had time to hone and perfect their game plan. I'm not sure that their bus won't require towing away: more broken down than parked.
Against Borussia Dortmund we looked prepared and as if we knew what we were doing, pressing higher in the second half . Against Swansea we didn't look at at all sure about anything.
Sissoko starting is never a good sign though he played as well as some. Trippier at left back is a stretch; bringing on Llorente and then ignoring him was just silly.
Six defenders at times against a team that didn't come to play is a waste. Resting players that could have been given next week off and not making full use of substitutes only Mauricio can explain.
So did we underestimate Swansea and not play at full pace and at full strength after a fine performance in midweek? Were we complacent? Did Mauricio overthink things? Were we just unlucky?
Some or all of the above? It was certainly an opportunity missed in so many ways and the slumbering Wembley Hoodoo Dragon lives on to breath fire for another day.
In the final analysis Trippier and Sissoko are not good enough, though Keiran is more effective on the right and Sissoko through the middle. Dele is not quite with us currently though not as bad as some are making out.
Aurier was good against Dortmund and lively in his limited appearance yesterday. Sanchez was excellent midweek but a bit ragged marking shadows on Saturday. Kane was inspired in the CL and unlucky against Swansea.
Son was lively in both games. He scored from a narrow angle against Dortmund but his attempt to do the same against Swansea was well saved. Eriksen shoulders the full burden of creativity when Dele is not quite fully on his game.
We are certainly better against teams that come to play. But our build up is too slow and we still lack movement and invention in the final third. Harry's hard work can't do everything.
Swansea's defence was packed and effective but Dortmund's was not in the same class as its attack. An unfortunate blip certainly but whether it is more than this or signs of a worrying trend remains to be seen.
We started slowly last year too and it won't be until at least ten games before we can make any assessment but we are already points and goal difference down, 1 point above Arsenal but one below below Newcastle.
With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all drawing the damage is not quite as bad as it could have been. But the 'Manchesters' are striding away in some style.
It's been the Tottenham way for decades: two steps forward: one step back, and it certainly feels like it this week after a fine start at away to Everton and then a home win against Dortmund.
Is it just the fact that is not White Hart Lane and that a move to any new venue would have unsettled us. Has it come just at the wrong moment after our wonderful record last year.
Watch this...........space. On the bright side we didn't lose, kept a clean sheet and we're still fifth.
Jimmy's Video spot:
Serge Aurier: Welcome to Spurs.
Victor and Serge will compete for the 'Tough Guy Challenge' and probably for the 'Yellow and Red Card Stakes' too. But the boy has made an impressive start.