Good morning all Positives,
The NLD matched my expectations yesterday. 94 minutes of sporting combat, two good teams playing football, trying to win the game, every loose ball, every tackle, every header contested. Both sides coming into the game after a hard week’s football. By the end the game was always going to be matter of who had the stamina to endure. That is the way football should be played. No buses, no clawing at the opponent’s eyes, no shrieking when you are touched.
The opening ten minutes I thought we started well, but having huffed and puffed we had not managed to even rattle the windows of the Spuds house. Somewhat relieved they got back into the contest, began to knock the ball about with a bit of purpose and took the game to us. We seemed to shrink a little, Santi apparently “dizzy” (?). Sanchez and Campbell worked hard but with no end product. Not often you see a player as limited genetically as Kyle Walker have a good game when facing a player with the quality of Alexis. Olivier was locked out by Alderweild and Vertonghen. Not able to get boot to ball.
The goal came and, given the balance of play overall in the first half probably, a deserved lead. More disappointing was the lack of a single effort on target or Lloris required to make single proper save in the first half. Fair play to the visitors they were blocking every through ball, that we managed. On the few occasions we got to the edge of the box no one shot. As toothless as I can recall from us for a long time. Most odd.
A shrewd and seemingly necessary substitution brought the Flamster into the contest We immediately set about getting back into the game with more energy and that little bit of serrated Gallic steel the player has in his boots. Chances were created at both ends, Cech again saving well from Kane and Alderweild, Olivier centimetres out on three occasions.
No idea whether it was pure chance or shrewd tactics on the part of Arsene and his players but the moment we started putting in the high ball and putting the Spuds central defence under pressure they cracked. No reason it should have worked, as we are hardly kings of the high ball, but from being confident and in control at the back Tottenham lapsed into hysteria.
75 minutes gone and I was beginning to feel a little uneasy, with a second and probably decisive goal for Spuds looking as likely as an equalizer ! The introduction of Kieran Gibbs I admit did not quell the butterfly that was hatching. One glimmer of light was that Spuds were beginning to tire.
Fool that I am , you all saw Kieran put away what was a slightly scruffy finish. Walker nowhere to be seen. Scruffy counts just the same though. That I could have doubted for a MOMENT.
And for the final 17 minutes we had ‘em under the hammer, pressing forward against an increasingly desperate defence. Sanchez suddenly much more effectively playing inside. Mikel stroking the ball as only he can. Only one winner possible during that final phase but……… Our visitors mightily relieved when Atkinson below for the end. Even with multiple injuries we endured better than they did.
Fair result, both sides did enough to win so a point apiece the right result.
Good on our side ? Debuchy showed the quality he has, match sharp at last even if he ran out of gas a little short. Flamini again spoiled Spuds day, great effort from Giroud, never gave up.
For them ? I was impressed with Lamela – ridiculous I know but every dog has his day. Dembele was also a smooth, impressive operator.
Since the last international break we have played seven games, four wins, the draw yesterday and two defeats. Not perfect but pretty damn good.