Two come from behind victories, three points off second spot and a side that’s still neither settled or gelling but chock full of exciting talent, the current ManUre manager – for how long? – would give plenty of body parts for that crisis.
Still an unsettled side with Chiriches and Vertonghen now injured it meant a new face at centre-back, well new there as Capoue has a few games under his belt. Perhaps it was lucky he had to take the spot against Sunderland, also lucky it was the league’s bottom team with it meaning Naughton was back at left-back.
Somehow Defoe was retained up front. While Holtby and Chadli moved in from the side that beat Fulham. Which brought the usual gnashing of teeth from certain sections. The kind that want Defoe to play it mainly seems.
Again while being on top Spurs weren’t gelling, things just not coming off and chances were being squandered. Again during this domination an error lead to the opposition scoring. Lloris didn’t get any sort of meaningful touch on an attempted punch and before he knew it Johnson had opened the scoring.
Teeth started gnashing again. from those who probably became fans post Pat Jennings and so are witnessing the best ‘keeper they’ve ever seen at the club and conveniently forgetting all those great saves he made at Fulham just a few days before. ‘Keepers make mistakes, but this fella is gonna make less than the others.
Those that bemoaning Chadli’s presence on the field up to and after his 84th minute substitution conveniently ignored his part in the equaliser just before the break. Making sure Walker’s over hit free-kick wasn’t a complete waste he nodded the ball back for Paulinho to prod it in with his studs.
But why is Chadli starting and Townsend not they scream. Well in just under 500 minutes playing time Chadli has one assist and no goals in just under 900 minutes Townsend has one assist and one goal – which was a fluke. You’d think the latter was banging them in like Bale the criticism Chadli is getting.
Paulinho was along with Defoe one of the main culprits in making this game tighter than it should have been. Both got in good scoring positions. Both missed regularly.
The second half started with a Spurs tempo and purpose that we’ve rarely seen this season. Completely bossing things, with Holtby at the heart of most of the good stuff.
Spurs did take the lead five minutes after the break. Nice run by Dembele, something he should do more of, on the left wing into the box, muscling his way past defenders. The cross wasn’t the greatest but enough for O’Shea to score an own-goal.
So Defoe, back to his usual best that I’ve posted about so many times before. Hitting the woodwork. Did it twice here but the worst of all was missing the target completely after being played through witha glorious ball from Holtby that should have been finished. Soldado would have, you just know it. Holtby’s ball was of course ignored while Defoe’s shocking miss glossed over.
Things got a little hairy at the end, some stout defending and one stray Sandro arm that unbelievably wasn’t whistled for the penalty it was. But it should have been more comfortable than that.
But where would you prefer to be on 30 points after playing brilliantly at the top of your game or on 27 points having been crap and reaching nowhere near your full potential or on 22 points playing crap and having nothing else to offer?