Well Shawcross made a fool of me, whilst I plumped for a 3-1 win beforehand, I actually thought they would fight like a Northern Drug Dealers Pit bull to stop us humiliating them again. (Congratulations to the two posters that accurately predicted a 5-1 rout).
Clearly, they didn’t.
I have to admit on a freezing cold afternoon at Wembley for the first few numbing minutes until Shawcross duly obliged I was concerned at what again seemed to me and my fellow stiffs was another slow start.
Shawcross defrosted their defence for us and we proceeded to blow them away. That said, may I suggest to Poch that for our next game against Brighton you make them all drink some hot-toddies before kick-off and get them to run their engines for 30 mins beforehand as these slow starts are looking increasing like an embedded trait, and it isn’t endearing or desirable.
Son was particularly effective and once again warmed the cockles of my heart with an all action display, Kane was sharper, Eriksen looked happy to be back after an absence of one game and Delli stopped deliberately giving the ball away – what more could you ask for?
Winks my favourite player, was once again my favourite player. Dembele doubters such as me showed that he might have something left in his badly battered body after all. Was there a glimpse of him threatening to get his form back? I hope so, a fit and well Dembele would be a like a new signing.
I could also say the defence did well, but in fairness they really weren’t called upon to do too much and that is what I am putting Lloris’s howler down to; his arse must have been as numb as mine after 85 mins of doing almost absolutely nothing and his mind must have followed as he decided that he needed to finally touch the ball, only to miss horribly so that he could gift Shawcross a compensatory goal.
On this occasion Lloris gets a free pass as I think he didn’t realise that his feet had frozen together before attempting his leap.
A nod to Lamela, he’s trying and I suspect it won’t belong before he starts making a difference too.
For the Must-Have-A-Stat-Fix readers among you we had 71% possession, 20 shot and they had 29% and 4. If anything Harry should have bagged 4, but he also gets a pass as you could see that he is just tweaking his fitness nicely now. And of course let us not forget (as if you would!) that we made 635 passes of which 88% were successful, by contrast Stoke made a grand total of 228 attempts and only 65% were successful.
Hughes boast before the game that this was a ‘different set’ of players and the past was history, must now look at himself and wonder why we keep whacking them and why we would love to play them every single week. – which was of course our Xmas Carol we song loud and clear for him to cringe over.
Same again against Brighton please gentlemen, although I suspect they will put up more of a fight …