Date: 21st November 2018 at 7:30am
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It was a successful November international break in many ways for Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Kane helped England to victory over Croatia and some small measure of revenge whilst Juan Foyth picked up his maiden Argentina cap…this is what many were waiting for though, Saturday evening and Spurs v Chelsea.

We welcome Maurizio Sarri’s third-placed side to Wembley for a 5.30pm kickoff and there is only a point separating both sides with 12 games played in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, so as ever, it’s all to play for.

Form-wise, they come into the game with three wins and two draws, whilst we boast four wins and one defeat but their injury situation is more positive than our own as we continue to have Kieran Trippier, Davinson Sanchez, Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Jansson (remember him) listed as being out injured by physioroom.

However, I’m not aware (unless I’ve missed something) of any additional issues from the recent internationals and I believe both facial injuries picked up by Foyth and Erik Lamela recently continue to not keep them out of contention.

So, subject to manager Mauricio Pochettino’s usual tinkering, it’s pretty much as we were before for this one.

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114 Replies to “Real Football Returns As We Host The Pensioners This Weekend – Match Thread”

  • BS …. ‘Presenting the situation as you did would imply that our squad is good enough as it is and doesn’t need to be strengthened’. Maybe, but you implied it, not me.

  • Finding the positive in a situation, whilst simultaneously pinpointing the same argument as also a negative?

    Is that like sitting on the fence that is sitting atop another fence.

    All joking aside… Boom Boom! To me, I can only see our overall results this season, given our upheavals, as wholly positive.

    Not only in seeing a welcome if unexpected (not by me), strength to our depleted squad. But that surely this can only serve to make it stronger. When it is back to near complete strength and if looking at the simple end result of our current PL position and points total. And when looking at the obvious strengths of our main PL rivals that we are still in contention with.

    To even think that we should somehow also be playing more fluid, open and attractive football as well as winning matches, kind of defies any realistic expectations we should really hold in this. But especially if we also start from the premise that we are not quite good enough (squad-wise) in the first place, without all of the injuries we have seen.

    If people want to see it as some kind of ongoing good fortune, whilst also telling me they are not into witchcraft and superstition, then I’ll not be taking you all too seriously I’m afraid. If you want to praise MP and the players for it, then I think I might have to agree with you. Haha!

  • … Please excuse me (f not forgive me) for being simultaneously serious and lighthearted, all in the same post… What was I thinking?

    Spurs Reserves 4-1 Chelsea First Eleven! I mean 3-1…. 1-0? 0-0? 5 all?

  • HT….keep going with your English sense of humour/sarcasm, some of us chuckle and understand.

    5 all now that’s sarcasm/taking the P, expecting Chavski to score 5, I don’t know. COYS

  • Chelsea scoring 5 is taking the P, PY?

    Not if Hugo has been pissin’ it up all Friday night on Pastis De Marseilles and knocking them back with a few Napoleon Brandy chasers through ’til Sat’day mornin’!

    Then again, maybe it’s the booze that helps him stay world class but trying to remain sober and getting the shakes, is what brings on the errors? (One for TK there)…

    Mines a Pernod with water, on the rocks please… What’s yours?

  • Bring on Alfie Whiteman until Hugo passes the delirium jitters.

    Scum and Arse ‘n holes in quick succession. Could make the whole season worthwhile. But let’s see Alfie Whiteman get his first clean sheets.

  • Is this another “must win” game? That’d make it x5 games I think. We may as well make every game a must win, win the league, every other trophy and call it a day. All this with our reserve squad. Would Eriksen even get a medal? Not sure he’s played enough, although Sissoko definitely would!

    I think we’ve got enough to deal with the Rent Boys, despite rotating with our depleted squad.

    Would we be 9 points better off if we had a fully fit squad? Simply answer is ‘no’ seeing as we’ve managed this record with our ‘b’ grade employees.

    Sissoko hattrick for a 3-0 victory.

  • I see it as more of a must-not-draw match.

    Another new PL record for Spurs would be nice. An entire season without drawing.

    No trophy but no draws! Medals all round!

  • A must-not-draw game? If they equate to more of those must-wins then I suppose it’ll do, although I will be expecting those to won with style, finesse and elegance playing the Tottenham way!

    I, like yourself HT, ain’t surprised by our results thus far – only team in the top 3 for the past 3 seasons confirms our consistency, while noting that if the majority of our players have yet to reach their prime, their individual development would improve our overall squad despite no transfers in.

    Yesterday, I heard a pundit state that if we did buy a few players in the window the likes of Foyth, KWP and Skipp may not have had a chance at all – so, Spurs are slated for not buying anyone on one hand, then praised for bringing through youth and giving them a chance. Sounds a bit contradictory to me. And no, this isn’t me suggesting that we didn’t need to buy anyone because our squad was great blah, blah… but it does highlight the fickle/inconsistent perspective by many a fan/pundit, all the while playing away from home, fatigue for World Cup players and unfortunate injuries.

    Evidently, we didn’t need to buy anyone seeing as we’ve had a better start than any other PL (THFC?) season 😉

    The benefit of having an adaptable squad.

    Being perennial slow starters to pick up points, coupled with the return of players to form or fitness, we should continue to see improvements throughout the season and hopefully be in good standing to finish off the season closer to the top than some may have expected, ideally perched at the summit.

    Big 3 games coming up. Am I worried? Not in the slightest. Class to bring us through. COYS!

  • I want to see Spurs turning it on and thrashing the likes of Huddersfield, Cardiff and Palace.
    I want to see us go head to head with Pool, City, Chelsea and give them a run for their money. Not only beating them but doing it in style.

    I don’t see it as making excuses for not doing so, when I talk about the hurdles we have to overcome, in the way of injuries, no home, etc. And I’ve not heard or read Poch and any of the players using any such excuses for not putting on the stye.

    The team will want to play at their best and many players (along with MP), have expressed their own disappointments in not scoring more and not performing as well as they would like. They are however showing us some pride in managing to at least get the desired wins most of the time, in spite of all this. And that shows me a strong team and squad spirit and good individual character.

    The way I see it is that we can only really be down about the teams disappointing performances overall, because we already know just what they are capable of. And that is exactly what I’ve expressed in the opening paragraph. They’ve already proved to us how good a footballing team they can be, in the past few seasons. And this will not have gone. It hasn’t vanished into thin-air.

    And when there is more consistency of line-ups and less of the necessary chopping and changing, I’m certain that the goals and the entertainment value will go up a notch or two. But it still ain’t gonna be easy.

    But, meanwhile, we are seeing a different side. It may be a less attractive one but it is also an essential component of being ‘winners’. And this when added to what we already know about our players and their best abilities can only serve to make us stronger. A better all round squad and a more formidable force to be reckoned with I’m sure. A more of a complete footballing team, if you like.

    This may seem like pie-in the-sky idealism and wishful thinking. But we are not City, so we can’t do it the City way. We can’t just jump the rungs to the top of the PL ladder. We have to work all the harder for it. We have to do it our way, as Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. And I don’t mind. In fact I’m loving it. The Spurs way (in whichever way) is my way…. Cue Sinatra!

    Alternatively, we could just crumble and fall and I will look the complete fool….. But, I don’t think so…

  • Well I guess that’s the whole point. We are doing it a different way, which means that there is no track record of success doing things this way. Building a team with money may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is a very tangible track record to suggest that it’s an effective way of winning.

    We are in uncharted territory on the other hand, with, let’s be honest, only hope to hang on to. Depending on one’s outlook, that can be a cause for optimism (having an opportunity to show the world that we can win doing it a different way) or concern (adopting a method with no evidence that it’s going to eventually lead to success). The issue is that the longer we wait ti see the expected results, the more questions will be asked of the credibility of the strategy.

  • melloSPUR – “I, like yourself HT, ain’t surprised by our results thus far – only team in the top 3 for the past 3 seasons confirms our consistency, while noting that if the majority of our players have yet to reach their prime, their individual development would improve our overall squad despite no transfers in.”

    You are making the dangerous assumption there that young players get better each year, and show linear year on year progression. That’s hardly the case.

    Young players typically take 2 steps forward and one step back. We’ve seen it with Alli, Eriksen, Son, Lamela, Dier, Sanchez and several others. Good spells are followed by poorer ones. We have been blessed to have a once in a generation talent at the club in Harry Kane, whose goals have kept us afloat, but most of the others have had ups and downs.

    This is all normal and part of a young player’s development, but counting on the fact that our squad is just going to get better every year without any influx of talent is having unrealistic expectations.

    The other problem is that while we have youth and talent in abundance in certain areas, we rely on an older core of players at the back (Hugo, Jan, Toby, Mousa) which still accounts for significant minutes. Unlike their younger counterparts, it’s unlikely that their performance is going to improve over the next 2-3 seasons.

    All of these factors point to a certain need to strengthen the squad – something MP has stressed recently. I just wonder what will happen if Levy fails to back him yet again in January. MP has been protective of our lack of summer transfer activity (at least in public) so far, but I can only assume that won’t last if reinforcements don’t arrive sooner or later.

    Finally, having our best ever start to a season has to be taken with a bit of context. A few years ago under AVB, we set our highest points total in the PL, with 72 points. That was a club record. However, beating a club record was only good for 5th in the PL that year.

    We may have had our best start to a season ever so far, but 3 clubs are still doing better. Club records only mean so much. If we are aiming to keep up with the best, club records can’t be used as reliable benchmarks. We are what the PL table says.

  • Our way is already working…

    And my alternative of crumbling, falling and failing was not that serious but is not impossible. But, to be like City at this time, really isn’t an alternative… It is what it is and it’s not failing so far under Pochettino. It’s developing. The road will never be a straight and straightforward one and we should expect setbacks as we have seen and will see. But this is the reality of Spurs. And it really aint so bad.

    And so, on a more lighthearted note… I don’t really think that part of our strategy for future success included this seasons injury concerns… It happens and the key thing in this is how our manager and players deal with it and get through it as undamaged as possible. And I think that we are doing well.

    And as I think we are coping well, better than I think it is fair to expect… Then that has to be seen as a positive in my eyes. We all know that the reality could be so much worse. And to predict it actually ending worse doesn’t help to make it any better right now does it?… But, positivity certainly is more a help than a hindrance. And our players do show this regardless of what any miserable forecasts from us supporters there are…

    Tomorrow we play Chelsea. We know they are a very talented team. Some classy players and a manager that is getting good results from them. They have continuity with their squad this season in stark contrast to Spurs. So even if we fail to beat them tomorrow, I’ll not change any of my opinions. As long as we do our best and don’t roll over. I don’t see this Spurs doing that. Win, lose or draw.

    If we get our first PL draw tomorrow and it’s seen as a fair result between two good and equal sides then that’ll be okay with me. But if anyone is to inflict Chelsea’s first PL defeat of the season, then Spurs are good enough to be the team to do it. If not, then so be it… It won’t define our entire season.

    But, we’ll just have to wait and see…

  • So, BS having our best start to a PL season is not good because it could get worse. Well the best start is actually better than before which is good, no?. We could have had our worst start. That would seem to suit your mood more, than the reality of it all…

    You have accused me of being a fantasist in the past. But you too are a fantasist. Your future is as much of a fantasy as you may consider mine to be. But, mine makes me happy… Yours will not change that no matter how hard you may try… Cheer up, it may actually happen… Please stop being so determined to convince us all that your future version of Spurs is the more real one.

  • You making some good points today BS as you do HT, there’s more than one way to see how things are going, I personally think the truth is in the middle. But it is good to hear other points of views other than the usual 3 or 4 who all seem to think the same.

  • I go along with that Ossie.

    I like BS posting his views because it helps me to reaffirm my own opinions, whether I agree or not. After all, BS is not my enemy. At least I hope not…

    I would hate to think of him sitting at his desk or wherever, writing what he does, whilst wearing an Arsenal “Invincible’s” shirt, laughing hysterically like a drunken and coked up Paul Merson might do…

  • BS – It’s not a dangerous assumption that the younger players will improve over time. This is a fact, given Kane, Eriksen, Lamela, Alli, Winks, Foyth, Rose, Dier and the majority of the squad have done so since Poch has taken over. Note the word ‘majority’ which would indicate progression for most, if not all, of the players.

    If you can tell me which of our younger players have not progressed year on year in a quantifiable way, I could see you may have a point, but this does appear to be the case for our squad.

    You’re assuming that that I expect linear progression, which I am not so your point is moot.

    The majority of the squad have also, not yet reached their peak (28-31 years) so I will continue to expect improvement from them, as the evidence would suggest.

    I doubt many, if any, players were considered “world class” before Poch got there, yet here we in Nov 2018 and have the likes of Kane, Eriksen, Alli, Toby, Hugo, Jan, Dembele, Wanyama and Son, to name a few, being shown to be at/near that level now. Again, this shows improvement of individuals and thus the team.

    Please don’t assume that I only expect our team to improve without additional talent being bought. I have not suggested that.

    Lastly, feel free to look back at my posts over the years; where we are today isn’t unexpected for me as I was confident of players improving in a realistic manner, whereas this may not have been the case for yourself.

    If this is about managing expectations and we’re currently doing better than you expected, maybe you should look at the value as to what you use to reach your conclusions, seeing as we’ve exceeded your expectations for points with our current squad.

    The fact we’ve been in the top 3 for the past 3 seasons shows a level of consistency that appears to be quite accurate and reflective of the talents within our squad, so they’ve hit the targets for my expectations. Maybe I just manage mine well.

  • I’ll stick to my tried and trusted method of realistic expectations; player development, financial parity with rival clubs, affects of playing away from home and others, to provide me with perspective and support me to reach my conclusions.

    Each to their own, but like HT highlighted, I’ve enjoyed the journey and can still look optimistic for the rest of the season.

    I find it’s usually unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment and a bleak outlook.

  • HT – “So, BS having our best start to a PL season is not good because it could get worse. Well the best start is actually better than before which is good, no?. We could have had our worst start. That would seem to suit your mood more, than the reality of it all…”

    That’s not what I said. I said that our best start ever only tells part of the story. Of course, having a good start is better than a poor one. But the essence of my post was that even if it’s our best start ever, it could be a poor indicator of success overall. If we are historically slow starters, beating a club record may not necessarily mean much. Case in point: our best start sees us sit in 4th, which isn’t bad by any means, but it’s still only the 4th best start in the PL this year. In other words, 3 teams are already doing better. That’s not a fantasy, that’s a fact.

    I also don’t know what the rest of the season is made of. We could well win every game left and set countless club records along the way. But if City do almost the same (only losing to us in the process), they’ll still finish higher than us.

    My point was that rather than us club records as a benchmark of our performance, we should be worried about how other teams around us are performing this season.

    As for the rest of your posts, I agree that we have done relatively well given the injuries. But as for “our way is already working”, you know how I feel about that. I will come to that conclusion only when our trophy cabinet is fuller than it is today. Until then it’s a work in progress for me.

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