As we passed the 80 minute mark on Monday, the Carty Free writers room was basically split between people going “typical Spurs, deserve a win and don’t get it because they can’t finish their bloody chances,” and people saying “ehhhh, we don’t really have a record of under-performing relative to our statistical performance. If anything, we often over-perform.”
On the substance of the point, I’m with the second group, but it does sometimes seem like we under-achieve, doesn’t it? When I remember the first AVB season, I don’t remember Gareth Bale single-handedly winning us like 20 points. I remember us drawing to friggin Wigan in the season’s final weeks, thereby dropping two points that were enough to see us finish just off Arsenal. Is that Spurs under-performing relative to their performance? Of course not. The truth is we won tons of games that year we had no business winning thanks to Gareth Frank Bale. But you never remember the games you should have lost but somehow didn’t; you remember the ones that were just sitting there that you let go.
After the 80th minute, I thought that was how we’d remember this Palace game. By mid-April we’d be locked into the battle for top four and we’d be looking at old fixtures in order to find new opportunities to torture ourselves as Spurs fans. And that game against relegation stragglers Crystal Palace (which they may well be come April) would stand out to us.
Then Victor Wanyama (Victor Wanyama!) found a goal.
It felt like an odd mixture of Pochettino Year 2 and Pochettino Year 1. We were decidedly year two in that we dominated huge chunks of play and won comfortably on expected goals. It was year 1 in that we rescued a result with an improbable goal in the dying moments. In any event, the big news is we’re on four points from our first six possible, which is a nice outcome given that one of those games was a trip to Goodison Park (winnable, but not easy).
Now we’re set up for our first big Sky Six clash of the season bright and early Saturday morning (for Spurs fans) against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Given that Liverpool still hasn’t discovered that sublime thing called “a holding midfielder” I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, even if playing Liverpool still sometimes gives me flashbacks to the final AVB match and the resulting reign of Tactics Tim.
On to the links:
Sharing an Arsenal Fan TV video is probably too easy but FAM:
The folks at Managing Madrid put together a nice tactical review that, amongst other things, explains how a smart holding midfielder can break the opposition’s high press.
Sevilla won their opener (and the first game under new manager, crazy man, and Bielsa disciple—but I repeat myself—Jorge Sampaoli) against Espanyol by a score of 6-4. Yes, 6-4. The Sevilla fans enjoyed themselves.
Harry Reardon’s latest for These Football Times is a close look at how player transfers work and why “for every Lamela, you get a Soldado.”
ICYMI, Diego Costa is still bad:
So Diego Costa has now— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) August 20, 2016
-attempted leg murder on Adrian
-executed the worst dive of the season
without picking up a second yellow.
Atletico seemed to win it with a 93rd minute penalty in yesterday’s opener against Alaves. Then this happened. If I have a second team after Spurs, it’s Atletico. But I still found this mostly ridiculous and hilarious.