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Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Middlesbrough

Tottenham Hotspur
1 - 0

White Hart Lane

04/02/2017 17:30

Attendance: 31,949


If you`re a team trying to win the title, these are the type of games you need to win. You win titles by beating the teams in the lower part of the league, the results against the sides around you are just added bonuses. With Chelsea humiliating 'TheSameOld` Arsenal, and Liverpool losing to Hull; we had a great chance of consolidating on the 2nd position. But that`s the difference between this side and the Spurs we`ve seen in the previous years. We believe in ourselves, we have the mentality of a top side now. The players are motivated to fight for the title and not just the Top4. We trust our abilities to overtake the above us, we aren`t worried about the pack that stands below. And this is exactly the kind of belief that gets you over the line.
The game started in an expected fashion. Boro sitting deep and Spurs dominating possession. Traore went on a run and played in a cross which was headed over by Negredo. Few minutes later we had the best chance with Alli playing in Son, only for Valdes to make a brilliant save. We huffed and puffed but hardly created anything substantial. Son and Davies were constantly finding space only to mess up the end product. Then Alli was played in by Eriksen only to find the side netting. The only time when Son managed to find the perfect cross, our very own Harry put it over the bar. Suddenly the demons of the Sunderland game were knocking the door again. We ended the half strongly, but nothing on the score line. It started to seem like one of those days, to be honest it was. A resolute organised defence with 10 players behind the ball, with lots of indecisiveness on our part. The good thing about today was the crowd, whenever there were moans and boos from some part, the rest of the crowd started to sing. And the whole stadium started rocking again. It really spurred on the players and the intensity didn`t drop. Again this is what has changed, not just the players but the crowd believes too. There are some who`ll always be pessimistic but then this team is giving them very chances to stay the same. Dembele played in Alli and who found Son in the box, who again didn`t opt for the first time shot/cross and pulled the ball back. Luckily he was caught and we earned a penalty, eventually slotted home by Kane. The rest of the game continued in similar fashion, with our players suddenly decerebrating as soon as they reached the box. We seriously should`ve scored quite a few today. Boro came to life in the final few minutes and almost gave us a scare when De Roon was giving time and space in the box. His shot went wide, and so did our smiles.

Lloris was largely a spectator, and didn`t have a single save to make.
Toby was his usual best, the way he dealt with Traore shows why he is the best defender in the PL. Traore was supposed to be Davies` man but Toby realised he`s Boro`s biggest threat and cleaned him out of the game whenever he entered our half. His pace, his trickery didn`t move a single strand in Toby`s slick hairstyle.
Dier did what was required of him, like he always does. But he needs improve a lot if wants to be first choice. He needs to work on his passing, especially long balls. You cannot keep playing balls out of play or in spaces where none of your team mates are. Also, he still has problems dealing with bouncing balls, once he sorts that out his sheer discipline can make him one of the best defenders in the league.
Walker had an OK game by his standards. We didn`t see a lot of him today going ahead, but that was pretty much down to Downing`s good work. On the other flank Davies tried his best to fill in Rose` shoes and actually had a really good game. Along with Son he was our main threat.
Moussa was the huge wall that glides all over without leaving a trail. Wanyama was the huge monster barraging everything that came his way with his stamp. Nothing new from them, same old scintillating stuff. It`s almost getting boring now.
Eriksen tried his best but he`s almost never been able to do it against a well organised defence, and it showed again today. He tested Valdes a few times but that was all. I`ll give Alli a 10 on 10 just for keeping his calm when Valdes was trying some weird stuff on his nose. As soon as the replay started I was looking forward to a 3 match ban, so relieved that I was wrong. Son had an equivocal performance today, with the positions he got in you could argue he could`ve done better but then he was the one who made the difference. He should`ve been on the score-sheet today, and he`ll be kicking himself for that.
Kane in the post-match interview said we`ll take a 1-0. Just goes to show how concentrated the players are. The way he took the penalty sums him up, when the whole stadium was shaking with nerves, he didn`t feel any of them.

I like one-nils. It shows how efficient you are even when you`re not at your best. It irritates your rivals, it hurts them more than a resounding win. It almost always feels undeserved and then they start blaming luck. Continue winning and we might just start to upset Chelsea. There is nothing more annoying than a team with no chance just staying there hanging by the side. We certainly aren`t letting go of them. When all other managers have stated it`s difficult to catch Chelsea now, Poch has been calm saying we just need to keep winning games. We start with Liverpool next week, beat them and suddenly Chelsea are looking at a tough away trip to Burnley as a must win. But we need to show more than what we did today if we want to win against Liverpool. We need to stay with our belief that we can win title. And that`s just because we really can.

Date:Sunday February 5 2017
Time: 6:28AM

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Good analysis nikhilavin. Keep up the support!
Mandakini Bhowmick
05/02/2017 09:56:00
Thanks for the article but I actually disagree, much like I said in other threads. As the beginning of the article says, in order to win titles we have to beat teams like Sunderland. We didn't. Geof's article on dropped points shows what you have to do to win titles, and Chelsea are doing it. Second would still be an outstanding season and I will be wanting Chelsea to win against all other rivals from now on. I don't think anyone can catch them, so they might as well help us put space between us and other big teams.
05/02/2017 10:10:00
If Spurs win the title this year then it would be one of the most impressive shows in the PL for many years. To do so chelsea will have to suddenly start dropping a lot of points and we will have to do very well to drop hardly any. I can see Tottenham carrying on as we are but I can't see Chelsea suddenly failing. I'll Never give up hope but realistically it's as much about them losing a few as us winning almost every match and I can't see us going unbeaten for the rest of the season let alone winning every week. Its not over yet but.
05/02/2017 10:40:00
The thing is we need to look above and not below us, Chelsea will drop points. It's a matter of 3 games, but we need to be there when the chance comes. Our chances are bleak, Chelsea obviously have one hand on the title but still we need to believe we can. The players do i think, we should too.
05/02/2017 10:51:00
I believe. Ive believed it all season. I'm just being realistic about the points gap. Chelsea can of course lose a few but today it doesn't reallylook like it. That can always change.Now if they had to play spurs every week, id put money on us being champions.
05/02/2017 10:54:00
It's difficult, even more so with our cup commitments. But we could be within 3-4 points of them in a space of 2 games. I'm being really optimistic here, but I can't help it!
05/02/2017 11:11:00
nikhilavin. That's a good thing. So am I.
05/02/2017 11:16:00
nik .... The players and manager have to say we can still win the title .... whether they believe it or not!
05/02/2017 11:19:00
Nikhilavin, this is a really good time to be playing Liverpool,win and I will really fancy our chances but I think MP will be cautious next week and avoid defeat. Sometimes you just have to go for it, 3 pts is a must if we want the title or has MP settled for 2nd, 3rd?
Thats Entertainment
05/02/2017 11:33:00
Ah well, other teams have sussed out that we are not clever enough and don't have the guile to be able to unpick a packed defence, happened last game, happened this game, we were lucky tht we got the pen otherwise there is no way we could have scored. Liverpool next, all they will do (if they have any sense at all) is pack the defence and hit us with long high balls, that will do the trick as we are really poor against that tactic as has been shown time and again against the so called "lesser" teams.
05/02/2017 12:18:00
Oh and as for the poll for MOTM why can't you get our own player's name right????? It is NOT Heung-Min Son It IS Son Heung-Min. This just shows the depth of ignorance from the person who wrote the poll.
05/02/2017 12:21:00
Heung-Min Son -

05/02/2017 12:28:00
chris ... We all make mistakes.
05/02/2017 12:28:00
Hey all, hope you're good. Not too much time these days for in dept analysis but regularly reading along (hmm went on a small splurge here:D). I dunno, I thought it was a v good performance, we're improving all the time at creating different variations on attacking angles... rose was almost becoming a no10 over the past few weeks, sitting directly behind the front 2, dembele has been drifting left far more when we need a goal, I've no bloody idea where CE plays now haha! VM is chipping in crosses to himself!! :D, it's all f'kn brilliant, the way I see it. BIG thing yesterday is that we didn't close the game out in any shape or form... I don't mind looking for another goal, but there were some unnecessary and daft balls across their back line that broke down into predictable counter-attacks. We can make end-game far easier on ourselves I think, we're so capable, why don't we just do it!? Son has days like this, I believe, he should have scored 2 (normally would). He was the focal point and I like, again, how Poch alters the tactics with small, simple changes having obvious influence. I don't see the reason for concern, we're doing great. Borough also played well and were very fast to recover, looked a very fit team to me, good attitude. They managed good pressure on all our counters, but yeah, we should have done better at testing the goal on prob 3 occasions. Mostly I'm just going 'WOW!' at the moves we're trying. Our player are so tuned in to what they want to do on the pitch, and the bigger picture, it's just engrossing. For me, i now want the players to win something for themselves, for their effort and commitment, instead of whatever association I've got with supporting Spurs. I honestly just respect these players and am happy for the good times they provide. Although...I'd BLOODY LOVE to catch CFC to win the title!
05/02/2017 13:25:00
Yep, we've every reason to be happy, ardone.
05/02/2017 14:39:00
The problem yesterday was our finishing. Poch named his only 18 fits players in the squad and picked his best 11. They played well but were just a bit wasteful in front of goal. Otherwise it would have been a 3 or 4 nil game.

Realistically, Chelsea are going to win the title. They've lost 3 games in 24 and there's little chance they're going to lose 5 or 6 in the last 14 to let us back in. I don't see them drawing a load of games either. All we can do is take one game at a time and hope we get the squad fully fit for the run in. Starting next Sat, Poch's squad will have 5 games in 15 days. It will be interesting to see whether guys like Walker-Peters and Edwards get some game time.
05/02/2017 15:04:00
I personally chose Messi Dumbdele as my MOTM. Followed closely by Vikki Bananarama!
05/02/2017 15:28:00
Yes he scored again but I personally don't think that Harry is doing enough to unsettle defences and create space for others. We are relying on defensive errors or through balls against parked busses.
Love totty
05/02/2017 17:39:00
Agree with muttley. Don't see Chelsea collapsing.
05/02/2017 19:54:00
chrishove123 I wish we would stop talking about our inability to break down bus parkers. Damn we broke them down, inside out and upside down. We just can't finish worth a damn. Some had two shots wide into the side netting, Kane headed a foot overbars from 10 feet away on a free header, Kane sent Ali wide right when he could have passed a second earlier, another 3 shots were spectacular saves but should have been placed better. It's the finishing not the defending. We should have won 4 nil!
05/02/2017 21:24:00
For me Liverpool will be a big test. Their form right now is pretty poor and they have little confidence. However we have a pretty poor record against them and this is like a Derby game. It will be a difficult game and it will give us a good gauge of the mental strength of our players. Away fans are going to play a huge part in this game. You guys have to sing your hearts out!!!
05/02/2017 21:27:00
I'm in 2 minds about the Liverpool game. On one hand we know that there is a risk that Eriksen won't turn up to a tough away game playing against 11 workaholics that will be in his face. Then there's the risk and reward strategy with Son, who can be anonymous in these games but come alive to score important goals. Then we have Coutinho playing in that space between Dier and Walker with Firmino buzzing around as well. We shouldn't expect to do what we did against Boro and get 65% possession and stroke the ball around our back line before starting moves. Klopp showed us at WHL that his teams won't let us do that.

Then there is the side of me that looks at their weaknesses. Lovren has been out so Lucas is coving in at centre half. Surely we can exploit that. I also noticed that Wijnaldum has been rotated with Can. Surely Wanyama and Dembele can win that midfield battle. Then there is Milner, a right footed midfielder playing at LB. Yes, he is one of the best pro's in the game but if there is one player he won't want to play against it is Walker, with Eriksen tucking in and pulling the strings.

One thing we did well against Boro was not getting too obsessed with keep ball. We were quite happy to knock it long and pick up the loose ball. In my opinion, we need to get the ball back to front quickly at Anfield and expose their weaknesses.
06/02/2017 09:11:00
muttley ... I was becoming depressed at the start of your comment but got more optimistic as I came to the end. I'm a bit worried about Eriksen, too. Whatever the result is, it won't be easy. Can't wait. I've already started working on my prediction ... maybe a difficult 3-0 win to the away team? :-)
06/02/2017 09:30:00
I look at that team and I see the potential to hurt us, but as you say, I also see the potential for Kane to torment their leaky back four. That team can run with us all day (and not many can), so I think it would be risky to rely on a possession-based game plan. Much like City did to us a few days ago, we should try to be very direct. It was unlike Pep but it caught us completely off guard and every ball over the top was a threat. We should look to go long when the opportunity presents itself. In Kane, Son, Alli and our wing backs, we have willing runners, who all are fast enough, especially when you are matched against the Lovrens or Milners of this world.If we are tight at the back, the least we should walk away with is a draw.
06/02/2017 09:39:00
Geof - looking forward to Saturday. I'll be watching the game in the Walkabout in Reading. Wales vs England in the 6 nations on at 4-50pm and Liverpool vs Spurs on at 5-30pm. A bunch of us are meeting at 2pm. It's gonna be a messy one and if your 3-0 away predication is right it could be a really messy one :-)
06/02/2017 10:01:00
Muttley, sounds like you're in for a great day whatever happens. Good on ya.
06/02/2017 10:09:00
Seems the easiest way to beat Liverpool at the moment is to park the bus like a relegation side and hit them on the break. They were much better vs Chelsea than they were vs Swansea and Hull.
06/02/2017 10:50:00
Don't think that MP knows how to park a bus...
06/02/2017 11:37:00
What number bus? 30? 3-0!
06/02/2017 11:40:00
We seem to be finding that elusive final pass much more often recently. That’s nice to see. It also surprises me how often we make quick intricate moves without looking around to find a player; they just seem to know where everyone will be. Good to see that, too! We could easily have had four goals in the first half on Saturday. We’ve hammered a few teams so far this season and a few more are going to get hammered on the days when it all goes right, methinks.
06/02/2017 12:09:00
Perspective people!! Chelsea have nearly double the gap to us, in 2nd then we do to United in 6th! We need to stop worrying about Chelsea and take care of our own business. We made the same mistake last season and started adding the pressure of closing the gap to the Foxes as our main goal then every mis-step became dropped points. We are in a 5 way slugging match for 3 champions league spots. We are outsiders for the title and only three points better off then the other outsiders in that one horse race. Lets consolidate our top four spot over the next few games. Beat Liverpool and they are out of the equation. Those three points allow us to take advantage of further implosion by the gooner's. United and City are coming back strong. We are out in front by a neck at the moment. Sunderland was a good point considering what went on around us. I want to stop talk of titles and narrow our focus to weekly results. We have a little bit of wiggle room, Chelsea have a lot. I'd like more going into cup run season!!
Slurms McKenzie
06/02/2017 16:30:00
Fully agree with Slurms.
06/02/2017 16:33:00
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