While the rest of the Premier League readies itself for Boxing Day fixtures, the Spurs squad waits until the 28th for the trip to Southampton. I suppose it gives a good inkling of what a winter break would be like and I’m not entirely sure that it’s a good thing for supporters. Nice for the players to have a rare Christmas at home without the need to be suspended to enjoy that luxury.
Some clubs face two games in two days and that may work in our favour, especially as one of them is Arsenal. With their welcome poor form, the exertions may cause them problems. It’s just a shame their two fixtures are Crystal Palace and Bournemouth. We may need them to drop points with Chelsea visiting the Lane on 4th January.
Conveniently, Diego Costa was booked in Chelsea’s last game and is suspended for their Boxing Day match. A tactical booking if ever there was one.
It’s been a strange season so far. A long unbeaten run at the start still only left us fifth when it eventually came to a crunching halt at Stamford Bridge. It had to be, didn’t it? Poch has worked hard on the defensive side of the game this season and we’re rarely as brittle as we’ve traditionally been, even when we were playing badly.
However, the trade-off has been a reduced goal threat ourselves. There’s a balance which we couldn’t find earlier in the season but it seems as if we’re now getting toward a vision of Poch’s ideas on the pitch which the players are comfortable with.
Four wins out of six is a good return, especially after the run of draws we endured, although the two defeats were disappointing. We threw the Chelsea game away at half-time. God knows what went on in the dressing room but we didn’t respond to the enlivened home performance and that was disappointing.
Losing to United was criminal; they are bang average this season and were there for the taking but we didn’t push onto them at all and paid the price for a reluctant performance. The flipside has been turning around the West Ham and Burnley matches, getting three points from a losing position. A little bit of resilience is a good thing.
That the goals are spread through the squad is a good thing. Harry Kane leads the way but Eriksen, Son and Dele Alli are a couple of goals behind; we’re not reliant on one man to score as we were earlier in the campaign. That, if we’re to continue to move on, needs to stay the same. If we become too reliant on Kane again, an injury could scupper our chances of a place in the top four.
Not that it’s been worth much this season. What a miserable Champions League campaign we endured and if the club insist on playing Europa League ties at Wembley, I insist we go all out to win the damn trophy. At least it puts us back at the top table if we do.
But, Jesus wept, we were awful. Without rhyme or reason and especially in Monaco. That made sixty seconds or so summed up the hopelessness of the performances. Wembley has been an unmitigated disaster; we just have to hope it proves more inspirational in the Lesser League when we play the ties.
Looking forward to a fantastic 2017. Enjoy your Christmas.