The word “breathless” was used a few times in the commentary I listened to and it was a very apt description for this game.
I think we all sort of had an idea of how the game was going to go, with the high line being played by both sides, but I never thought it would be played at such a consistently frantic pace. The international break obviously benefitted both sides
The big question has to be how on earth did we manage to come away from the game with a superb win?
If I was a neutral football supporter, watching say, Man Utd win 2-1 in that game, I’d quite simply have said it was down to luck. I think some of that defintely applied today, but the saying “a good team makes it’s own luck” applied too.
And while on the face of it, it may have seemed like we we battered today, the stats don’t quite tell the same story.
Tottenham had 18 shots versus our 15. 8 shots were on target, compared to our 5 and 9 were off compared to our 8.
That doesn’t seem right somehow, particularly with Son having 3 goals disallowed for offside.
Yet then again, that isn’t really luck on our part. It’s more a demonstration of how well we play the high line. Indeed, before the game there was a table of teams and how many times they had caught the opposition offside. Spurs are doing well with 38 times to put them in second place. Villa top that table with a stonking 58 times. That’s some difference and it’s a massive part of our game.
Which is good, because we weren’t really at it today, especially in the first half. Konsa at right back wasn’t working with Cash ahead of him and I thought after about 15 minutes that it needed changing. Bringing on Bailey wasn’t the change I’d have had in mind though because he’s not so good at tracking back and I think the right wing area is one that Emery will be looking to improve when he can. That’s not to say I thought Bailey did poorly today. He does add options and I felt he was better than Cash. I just wish he wouldn’t keep tripping over his own feet.
Tielemans was a good addition and I’m guessing he must be quite rightly wondering when he’s going to get a sustained run in the side. It’s great that we have a player with his ability who can’t get a start regularly though and does show how we’ve seriously improved the squad in some areas.
Talking of subs, how good was it to see Ramsey again? I’m sure he’ll add to the side and it’s good timing too. Likewise, it was nice to see Duran get minutes as it was hopefully an indicator that he’s not totally out of the picture.
I did find one thing frustrating and it was what I thought was Ollie Watkins’ glaring miss. A replay showed that their defender had actually done well in blocking it and it should have been a corner, whereas the ref (who I thought was mostly okay) gave a goal kick.
For all his correct protesting, Ollie got a yellow card, which stinks.
Everything else got VAR’d to death, so why didn’t that incident?
Man of the match is a tough call as I don’t think anyone really stood out, but if pushed, I would possibly give it to Martinez, because I can think of at least two saves that kept us in the game.
So while Spurs were no doubt better than us today, how often have we seen the usual teams scrape wins when they really shouldn’t have? Usually the phrase “lucky (insert your own swear word here) comes to mind. But on this occasion, I’m quite happy to have it applied to us and doesn’t it make a refreshing change?
We beat a team in the top 4, which is something we’ve struggled with for years.
And if we can get something against Man City, well…
I’m still daring to dream.