Nearly, but not quite...
Being frustrated at dropping two points against Manchester United must be considered a huge indication that Tottenham are getting ever closer to the established top four contenders.
Now perhaps that was already obvious, in our recent league finishes, however, there has always been that feeling that we have made it as much because of our own quality as with the failings or those around us. Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool were the masters of their own capitulations and that Tottenham had merely taken a once in a lifetime chance to steal a place. What perhaps still offers a question mark are convincing defeats against Chelsea and Arsenal this season as well as a tighter loss at Man City. It could well still be open for debate that until we at least match ourselves more successfully against all the established elite that we can't truly feel comfortable being placed alongside them.
Watching again yesterday it was still obvious that we lacked that elite striker and lock picker, however, everywhere else you feel we are as good or even better than those above and just below us. It is hard to argue that we are better on paper than the likes of Chelsea, City and United, but what we have had for some time is an excellent team ethic and unity that certainly the billions of Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour, have yet managed to purchase. Questions have to again be asked as to whether games like yesterday would have resulted in 3 points as opposed to a last gasp one, if we had our own RVP to score with a half chance or a Silva or Mata to create and cause an opposition nightmares.
Whether we can get these players in during this window remains to be seen, but at least you get the impression that the management and board are aware of the areas that need adding and are trying to address them, however whether all parties agree on which players are ideal in terms of value attainability and quality is another debate. Elsewhere, I was impressed yet again that our squad players seemed ready, willing and more than able to seamlessly step in and look equally comfortable in their roles. Though Aaron Lennon rightfully received the plaudits, Scott Parker was excellent I'n my opinion and ran him a close second. Caulker, Dempsey and Naughton, all players who are perhaps only currently seen as cover, all played their part and looked comfortable in their roles. Watching Lewis Holtby at the weekend, gave me great hope that he is a player of real vision and quality and one that I feel will fit in really well at WHL and is a great signing and one that fits well into out limited budget.
In a game that was always going to be tough, both in conditions and against a side that were rooting for revenge, I felt we were always at the very least, just as good, though again our lack of creativity and outstanding striker, caused us to struggle in the opposing third during the first half. For that we can also credit Fergie's tactics and the outstanding displays of Carrick and Jones in the middle and Ferdinand and Vidic at the back. Credit is also very much due to Andre Villas-Boas, for his own tactical awareness. Perhaps the team picked itself to a degree, though the illness of Vertonghen was unfortunate, he also saw the logic in bringing on the greater attacking threat at Left back of BAE, which added greater balance to the side. No criticism of Naughton here, but we look far better with BAE in is rightful position and I hope he is fit enough to play for the remainder of the season.