White Hart Lane.
There were many things during Spurs latest Premier League game against Swansea that had that deja-vu feeling all over again.
From taking early leads, to being pegged back, to old Spurs players causing trouble and scoring, to defensive frailties to hanging on in desperation, Hugo saving the day, when it should never have come to that, to a player collapsing. We’ve all seen it before.
That latter part though we didn’t think we’d see again just a couple weeks short of three years since Patrice Muamba collapsed in almost the same spot. Luckily this time it was just a feinting episode that Bafetimbi Gomis had. The players though looked visibly shocked and the medical staff were on the pitch quickly, as memories came flooding back.
The players had just made their way back to the halfway line for Swansea to kick-off again after Nacer Chadli had opened the scoring just seven minutes in. Danny Rose, yes that Danny Rose actually put a decent cross in and Chadli met it sweetly with a cushioned volley back across the ‘keeper. Another player on another team and we wouldn’t see or hear the end of it, it was that nice a finish.
Then the break in play and you wonder how it’ll affect the players, after Gomis is stretchered off obviously concious and not looking too serious and you’ve seen the Tweets about previous feinting incidents.
It didn’t take long after that for an old boy to make his presence felt. Sigurdsson with an Eriksenesque free-kick, well one like Eriksen played in the cup final, not one that went in. From the rebound the usual defensive malaise saw Ki put the ball between Lloris’ legs for the equaliser. Shambles all round.
Spurs were having all the ball but were looking vulnerable to the lofted ball over the top for another old boy Routledge. He had the pace to cause the back four problems but he didn’t have the timing and was constantly offside when the pass was made.
It was about the same time after the break as it was after the start that Spurs retook the lead. Eriksen running across the face of the box, lost the ball, I originally thought he’d tried to play it to Townsend but Mason was rushing into the box picked up the ball and fired it into the top of the next. A right crowd pleaser.
Less than 10 minutes later it looked to be job done. Swansea were exerting a lot of pressure on the home goal, when Dier finally clear the box with a header, Bentaleb was taken out by a Swansea player – best thing he did all night. It was a free kick but Townsend had the ball and a clear path in front of him so the ref in a bizarre twist of fate, especially in this season, did the right thing and played the advantage. Townsend ran into the box and you figured he’d Townsend’d it , especially when he cut back and four Swansea defenders were suddenly there but again bizarrely he scored. It was like Bentaleb the only decent thing he did on the night.
That should have been it, done and dusted, it certainly looked that way when later on even Dembele was having a shot. Party time. But this is Spurs and it’s never going to be that easy and so it wasn’t as that first old boy made it a nervy end.
Montero had come on to Swansea’s left and should from the off that Spurs should be really grateful that he didn’t start. Far too good for an inept defender like Walker. Walker who was getting great praise from the TV commentators for running up and down. His crosses were generally rubbish and his defending was even worse but he can run so he’s great.
Montero didn’t need to do much to get space enough for a cross. Davies got the blame for not stopping Sigurdsson from scoring the visitor’s second. But it should never have got to him in the first place. And that’s Walker’s fault. As it was when Montero put another cross into the box that brought the game saving save from Lloris. It really looked like it was in until Hugo did his party piece.
Spurs hadn’t won since the beginning of last month and after the cup final defeat and exiting Europe and the death of Dave Mackay, who was celebrated before kick-off, this was a much needed victory.