What a way to start the year! It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to be at the Lane to witness our dismantling of the Chelsea machine. Of course, it wouldn’t be Tottenham without some obligatory moments of comical defending on our part, and we duly obliged. But let’s stay with the positives.
We won with kids. The average age of Thursday’s team was 24. Four of the team were home-grown: Townsend (23 years old), Kane (21), Bentaleb (20) and Mason (23). How many other Premiership teams can boast this? The academy is looking good for the future. Add to this Danny Rose (23) who has been with us since he was 17, and Christian Eriksen who is 22 and we have a team that is only going to get better if they can be kept together.
We were up against Chelsea’s best first XI. This has to give us a psychological advantage should we come up against them in the Capital One Cup Final. Sheffield United are not to be taken lightly, but we must be favourites to reach the Wembley showpiece.
We are now unbeaten in 6, having won 5, scoring 13 goals and conceding 6. I’ll admit that a little while back I couldn’t see Pochettino’s system ever working, but now I see the light. The addition of Walker at right back has provided the width we were lacking, and on the other flank Rose exploited Ivanovic’s positional weakness superbly on Thursday. The attacking four of Chadli, Eriksen, Townsend and Kane were irresistible in the first half. Townsend actually shows signs of having been coached, and is becoming a better player for it, winning us corners and throw-ins. He still needs to work on his defensive game and was rightly taken off second half, but he’s doing much better than I expected.
Kane looks like a world-beater. It was a pleasure to see him and the front four exploit the space in between the lines time and again. Check out Spurs Fanatic’s excellent analysis for a more in-depth look.
We now go into a run of games which can definitely be described as winnable, with Burnley, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Sheffield United twice and West Brom in January. It would be classic, frustrating Tottenham to lose some of these, but hopefully we have now got the fitness, the width and the understanding of Pochettino’s pressing game to open up teams who sit back.
It’s particularly pleasing to have seen the way the team have come together so strongly since the rumoured incident in which Kaboul, Adebayor and Capoue went over Pochettino’s head to complain to Levy after Harry Kane challenged them to play with more passion. If the rumours are true, and certainly these players’ exclusion from the first team ever since suggests they are, then it’s been a turning point for our season and has enabled the rest of the squad to commit positively to Pochettino’s methods. I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2015 has to offer Spurs now. Bring it on.