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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Friday, December 21

Our version of a year in review!

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Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Hello, all!

We’re getting very close to Christmas and to the end of the year, which means you’ll be checking in, but mostly out, depending on your schedules. I’ll still be here with some possibly small rambles as the year comes to an end and the next one begins, but before that, I have a pair of questions for everyone.

Ramble of the Day

I always hate to do this with a few games and days left in the year, but we’ve basically soaked up almost all of what 2018 had to offer us. First, congratulate yourself and anyone you like on making it through a year — whether it was difficult or not, I feel like calling it a fairly impressive achievement, so job well done, everyone! Now, let’s reflect on 2018 in football, but in two parts.

  1. The necessary question as the year ends: What was your favorite Tottenham moment of 2018?
  2. A fun one, because football is always good for things like this: What was your favorite moment or story in the sport this year that made you laugh at how ridiculous it was?

For the first, I’m going to be very flexible with the word “moment.” For me, the most impressive and simply enjoyable part of Spurs’ 2018 has been the evolution of the midfield, and the parts Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have played in the process. I was essentially looking through Spurs’ results over the last year and came to the conclusion that all of the really good games Spurs enjoyed in 2018 were because Alli and Eriksen had remarkable matches.

Under Mauricio Pochettino, the attack has genuinely been a highlight of watching Spurs on any given day, but there is something so special about Alli and Eriksen. Over the course of their Spurs careers — and this is applicable to Alli especially — they’ve been asked to play a few varying roles, and as time has passed, it seems as if they’re just good at whatever is asked of them. I continue to be convinced that they’re both just so good at almost everything, within reasonable limits. They’re the ultimate pleasures to watch.

As for the second, there are a couple of contenders. That said, I think the story that made me laugh out loud the most was the Malcolm transfer saga. This is more about my personal setting than anything else, but the story itself is funny: Malcom is close to a deal with AS Roma, FC Barcelona hijack it at the last minute, and Malcom’s mom doesn’t find out until after she lands in Rome. I happened to be away from the internet most of that day and was a little bit frustrated looking for free wi-fi that I needed, and reading this automatically put a smile to my face.

I do feel bad for Roma as I say this, but there was a collective laugh shared around the internet football world that I still think about sometimes. Getting ghosted by a transfer target sometimes happens — I just remembered that Moussa Sissoko ghosted Everton and now I’m laughing again. It’s a somewhat ordinary thing in the sport, and maybe outside of it in some contexts, but it’s just funny. I’m sorry, Roma, I really am, but I’m laughing again.

tl;dr: Quick reflections on 2018.

Links of the Day

Arsenal is investigating claims that a fan made antisemitic references during Carabao Cup game against Tottenham, and has also identified the person that threw a bottle at Dele Alli.

A recent study found that referees in England are seven times more likely to receive abuse from players than referees in France and the Netherlands.

Barcelona has signed defender Jeison Murillo on a loan until the end of the season from Valencia.

Bolton Wanderers have canceled Stephen Ireland’s contract, ending his two-month stay at the club without a game played.

Today’s longer read: Owen Brown on the transformation of Dele Alli for StatsBomb