The last home game before Santa Claus visits us all
After the highs of Tuesday, we came down to earth with a bump. We nearly blew it and walked away with just a single point. But thanks to Pochettino’s inspired substitution, Eriksen scored the deciding goal.
But are we really surprised after the great result of Tuesday (going through all that) and then being a bit lethargic against Burnley?
After getting home on Wednesday the next couple of days have been a bit of a mad rush. On top of that I have to get the articles in by a specific date, and then we start all over again. Saturday morning I left for South Ruislip at 9.50 am and got to Wembley at 10.45 am. Luckily the motorways were clear. Once there I chatted to a supporter that had come all the way from Northern Ireland. He wasn’t the only one who travelled from afar. There are people from all over the world that come to watch our team, and we sometimes complain about our journey to Wembley or N17!
I waited for Martin and his mum & dad (Martin had a spare ticket, so his mum came; by the way, when she comes we always win) and it was bloody cold, with rain on the horizon. Finally, we got in, got our table, drinks etc. Then Jeff, Terry, Jerome and Ian turned up. Cards all around and then we settled down to chat. Players came to say hello, I got my photo taken with Pat Jennings and Clive Allen (again). I mentioned to Clive that I had repurchased his book in the 80s and that he had signed it for me (then). He told me that he is in the process of writing a follow-up and it should be in the shops next year; can’t wait.
As I have said previously, we get free food – which is included in our Premium season ticket price – and usually it has been quite acceptable. But this time around there has been complaints; it was warmish (burgers and potatoes), and they limited the potatoes to two per person. That annoyed a few people, who voiced their anger. The management took it on-board and apologised. Anyway…
We got our team sheets, drinks and out we went for the 5-0 victory I predicted. Somebody reminded me that I also predicted 5-0 the last time (so… I am a wishful thinker!).
The turn out for this match was 41,645. Because Wembley holds 90,000, it looked like hardly anybody was there. The attendance was abysmal. So much for loyalty. We have to go back into the last century when I last missed a home game, and that was only through illness or for something beyond my control.
The players came out to a standing ovation (as always), the usual handshakes went around and then to their positions. The whistle blew, and we were off.
Lucas Moura's 85th-minute equaliser at Barcelona on Tuesday earned us a spot in the knockout round, and another late strike on Saturday meant we keep up the pressure on the Premier League's top two. This time it was substitute Christian Eriksen who came to our rescue when he slammed his shot past Joe Hart in the 91st minute.
It had looked as if the Clarets would come away with a point following a tremendous defensive display. They limited us to a handful of clear-cut chances, with Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min both going close, while Hart produced a magnificent save to deny Erik Lamela.
It was their time wasting – that saw two players booked – that did it for them. Joe Hart was taking his time taking the goal kicks, but once we scored you never saw him move so fast. They came to draw, not win, and the way they played was proof of this. But we won and no matter how good we are or even worse, the points in the bag are what counts. There are going to be days like this where we are just going to slog it out and try to get that goal that will make the difference. This result keeps us in third place. City beat Everton, who we’ve got next in the league. At least Southampton – who we beat – trounced Arsenal 3-2 to create a 5 point gap between them and us.
Mauricio Pochettino said it was essential to follow up our dramatic qualification for the Champions League last 16 in midweek with a victory against Burnley in the league, an understatement.
The victory moves us to 39 points and within three of Liverpool in second. Burnley remain in 17th with 12 points - two points above the relegation zone.
It wouldn’t have been that long ago that we would have settled for a draw, but under Pochettino we keep battling until we got what we want.
(I should mention; at half-time, there were mince pies laid on in the hospitality lounge – help yourself – and of course the complimentary drinks; alcoholic drinks, cokes, juice… plus tea or coffee. Yes, it was Christmas, our last home game before Santa Claus comes down one's chimney to pinch your milk or mince pies that you had left lying around… thieving bastard!)
When the final whistle went, we stayed and applauded the team off the pitch and then made our way to a table. Jeff and Jerome went home early, which left Terry, Ian, Martin and his mum and dad, plus another (can’t remember the name) to stay and chat.
What was interesting was that Paul Miller came over to chat with us. He told us of his thoughts about the new stadium, how we will be able to compete with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. That is once the debts have been paid off. As for City, who have an obscene amount of backing and are outside most teams in the league financially, can only employ a certain amount of players (and then they’ve all got to be kept satisfied). They aren’t invincible. Then there is United, their structure will be hard to overtake, at least in the short term. But that doesn’t mean we can’t win silverware or even the League title eventually. We talked about his playing days, his thoughts on the current squad etc.
We also talked about Daniel Levy, Sugar and Scholar. What he was saying was very enlightening. Finally, we had to make our way home as we were nearing the witching hour.
Eventually, I got home at 8pm.
From Sunday to Wednesday there will be no rest. Wednesday is Arsenal in the cup and a trip to North London. Thursday, Christmas shopping with my daughter, Friday I am going to see Father Christmas with my granddaughters’ and daughter and Saturday writing up the Arsenal article (hope it is one with joy; i.e. a win) and then Everton away on Sunday. That is the life and tribulations of a Spurs supporter (who probably takes things to the extreme… but then what would life be like without it? That is the question; to be, or not be! Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes… Shakespear… nice man, many times dead though).
By Glenn Renshaw