Well, I didn’t expect that!
When was the last time we beat Tottenham on their own patch? I really don’t have the foggiest.
I like playing Spurs. They’re a club known for playing football as it should be played and the games are generally entertaining, even though we have a major tendency to lose them.
But wow, they were poor tonight.
That’s not to take anything away from our performance, I hasten to say. I firmly believe we made them look poor because there were excellent performances all over the pitch on our part.
Martinez was excellent and kept us in the game a few times. His reation saves have done that for us a lot this season and he surely has to be in the running for club player of the year. He could probably be in the running for Premier league player of the year, but goalies don’t generally get a look in do they?
Matt Targett was excellent too and I really don’t remember him putting a foot wrong. I constantly criticised him last season, but this year there’s been very little to complain about. He’s easily the most improved player and probably our best left back in a long while.
Konsa played right back, in place of Matty Cash and the truth is I hardly noticed him. I suspect that in this performance, this was a good thing.
A deep breath then and I thought Mings was outstanding. There, I’ve said it.
Seriously though, he marshalled the defence well and got in the way of plenty, exactly like a decent centre half should. If he keeps playing like that, I’ll have to talk him up some more.
Hause never really caught my attention either, but somehow he never does, really. He just keeps doing his job. Again, that’s good.
Nakamba slipped up to give Spurs their goal on a plate, but went on to make up for it with a very solid performance.
I’m never worried when he steps in and indeed have complained about him being dropped so Luiz can come straight back in. It must take some doing to not play for a while, but then come back in for the odd game and keep dishing out decent performances.
McGinn seems back to his best. One piece of skill sticks in the mind and it was almost a case of how can a midfielder who works that hard do something like that? He worked his guts out, simple.
Traore was the fly in the ointment.
In fairness, he did press Reguilon for our second goal, but he was the epitome of one of my biggest criticisms, which was to not take too many touches and shoot straightaway. There were a few players guilty of delaying the shot, but Traore probably did it five or six times. In a game where we we really could have done with a third goal, it was annoying.
Grealish started, which really surprised me and he was pretty good, considering he’s had a spell out. I didn’t think he looked as sharp as usual, as you’d expect, but it wasn’t an issue and he still terrified the opposition. I’ll bet Mr Levy wished he hadn’t been so tight when he was interested.
El Ghazi? He was okay. He did link up quite well on the left, but loses points for missing what should have been a straightforward goal. The club’s best finisher should have done better.
Watkins. I thought he did okay. I’ve seen it said that he’s too wasteful, given the chances he’s had this season, but I think that’s unfair. It’s true to say that he was guilty of not taking chances, but he did score the winner and I’ll happily take that. He’s had a great season and I don’t think for one minute his performance tonight warrants any complaints on my part.
And then, possibly the biggest talking point after the result was Dean Smith finally blooding Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace. The pair came on and showed all the exuberance of youth with no fear at all. I suspect they’d been told to just get stuck in, without being daft and they did. Neither looked out of place and Chukwuemeka even hit the post. How good would it have been if he’d scored?
I’m always dubious about kids coming into a fixture like this, but fair play to Smith, he called it perfectly and hopefully both will get even longer against Chelsea.
All in all, it was a great performance, especially when you consider we had nothing to play for.
But it massively wrankles with me that Spurs are challenging for Europe, yet looked so, so poor.
I’m going to look back at this season as “if only”, I just know it.