To the End
We all knew what this was. Crucial does not even begin to cover it. After the heroics at the Bridge it would be so like us to slip up against lesser opposition. This simply could not be allowed to happen. No margin for error, and Stoke away is always such a tough ask. A draw was not an option. This was a match for Spurs fans to dread. Fear not. We did the unexpected. A professional job. We cleared the hurdle.
We gave ourselves a lot to do by conceding early. We're not so good at clean sheets at the minute, which considering centre half is where we apparently have the most strength in depth is puzzling. And worrying. Terrible defending at a set piece (again). Lloris really shouldn't have let that one get by him. But we came back at them and created a few chances. Dempsey scored another crucial goal - does he score any other kind? - in bizarre fashion and it was back on. Brilliant or blind luck? Not sure I really care.
We dominated the second half, helped by the sending off of Charlie Adam. Harsh? Probably. Deserved? For what happened in Blackpool two years ago, undoubtedly. Stoke dropped deep and we had to find a way through. There were chances, we looked capable. We stayed patient, probed and, yet again, we scored late on. Resilience was never a trait traditionally associated with Spurs but yet again we have shown that we simply will not give up. And, for the first time since New Year's Day, we won a match without a goal from Gareth Bale. That's an unbelievable 22 matches. Which can only mean that Adebayor has finally woken up. If he'd started a couple of months ago we may already have made it. It's infuriating to know that the striker we so desperately need has been among us all along. We all knew it really, which is why we've got so hacked off with him. No point worrying about that now. Just perform in the next match. We'll deal with the rest later.
We did what was needed and now find ourselves needing a favour from Wigan at Arsenal. This would not be an entirely selfless act on Wigan's part. They need to win to stay up. Anything else and they are down. A draw suits neither team but it'd us nicely. Should the worst happen and Arsenal win we will be asking a favour of Newcastle. Which, given their terrible form and the comments made by Alan Pardew, is not something a desirable position to be in. Speaking of which, seriously? What manager ever says he doesn't care if they lose 4-0 at home? I digress.
Whatever happens on Tuesday at the Emirates, the fight for Champions' League football cannot be resolved until the last day of the season. Another final day shoot out with Arsenal. 2006 saw some bad mince producing a dose of the squits which is largely held to account for our failure to beat West Ham and qualify. (Point of fact: Arsenal's opponents that day? Wigan Athletic. Spooky...) 2012 saw a catastrophic second half of the season put us in a position that we should never have found ourselves in. Third should've been wrapped up weeks before. It wasn't. We finished fourth and, thanks to Chelsea (and Liverpool) we found ourselves out in the cold again. The only time that rule has ever been put into practice. This season we could make a similar kind of unwanted history if we become the team with the highest ever points tally to finish fifth. It seems likely that someone is going to. Our previous two final day shoot outs with Arsenal have not been successful. Will it be third time lucky?
It's going to the wire. There is now something to play for on the last day of the season on a regular basis. The next step is to have it all sewn up several weeks before. Can't imagine that idea catching on... Whatever happens we have already equalled last season's points tally, so we have at least matched last year's performance. We haven't capitulated when many suggested we would. We've found consistency. It's been a good year. It's just that the competition has been stiffer. It would be so sweet to cap it all by finishing in the top four. On Saturday we did all we could. We will know at 10pm on Tuesday what else is required. Wigan, we saluted your triumph on Saturday. We are praying for another. To quote Ox: COYWA!!!
Written by Yorkspur