Somehow we're still alive... and creating history

Discussion in 'Featured' started by Craig Emanuel, April 18, 2019.

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  1. Craig Emanuel Member

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    And somehow we’re still alive. I’m exhausted. Shattered. I’m an emotional mess. And it is exactly for nights like these that we do it to ourselves. We put ourselves through the wringer for these moments. We might not be able to put it in a trophy cabinet (yet), but it’s the raw emotion of nights like these, the unforgettable memories that we create together, that’s the unwritten contract we write with our clubs. That is truly what being a football supporter is about. The feeling of utter emptiness and despair contrasted with moments of sheer elation. This game – in fact, the last few minutes of this game – was football fandom in a microcosm.

    So let’s rewind to minute 90+3. I’m on the floor – literally and metaphorically. I’ve seen this film before. On repeat. For 25 years. It’s another cruel and crushing blow. “Spursy” if you must.

    It had been coming. It had been building. I was straining every sinew with the team to repel the onslaught. Pain etched across my face. The clock was ticking in slow motion. It was eking its way towards the hallowed minute 95. And, just as I allowed myself to think that we might hold on, we buckled. Eriksen! What have you done?!! To misquote ex-City forward, Mario Balotelli, “Why always us?!”

    But wait a minute! There’s a VAR review! What are they looking at? Surely not. This doesn’t happen to us. We don’t get these breaks. But we did. We did. Someone somewhere was looking down on us and protecting us last night – maybe it was that beautiful cockerel above our new temple, maybe it was one of the departed, perhaps Chas Hodges, create your own narrative – but, from the depths of despair, they dragged us out into the light. And with Easter weekend approaching, this was a fitting resurrection.

    I’m struggling to make sense of it all. My emotions are still all over the place. The elation hasn’t even yet taken hold.

    Rewind again to the 73 minute. We were already dead at this point. Out on our feet. Our midfield non existent following the removal of Sissoko. Aguero had all but ended our resistance when he belted the ball past Hugo on 59 to give them the aggregate lead. It was the first time in the tie that they had been leading and it felt like the killer blow. And yet we found the resilience, the bloody mindedness to come back. To bundle a corner in off a hip.

    Trippier has come in for plenty of criticism this season and had a torrid first half last night. Both full backs suffered from the narrow diamond we started with in midfield that left them hopelessly exposed to the overload on the flanks. But this was Trippier’s moment. It was his perfectly weighted delivery that ended up making the difference. For all his defensive weaknesses – and they were far less evident second half when the change of system gave him better protection – he can deliver going forward. And he did. When it mattered.

    Another VAR controversy. Llorente had no doubts when he wheeled away. This was a legit goal. Surely! Surely?! Oh ****, it’s hit his arm. No, one minute, it’s his hip. It’s his hip! Jenas agrees. Thank god for that. What? An On Field Review (OFR). Why? It’s come off his hip!!! They’re going to disallow it. Whenever it goes for an OFR the ref overturns it. And then he watched it. And then he watched it again. And again and again. Why is he watching it over and over? It’s clearly his hip. And then, Cuneyt Cakir turns away and the world stops, for a brief moment at least. It’s a goal! He shrugs to seemingly indicate that he’s not sure why it was referred in the first place and then gesticulates that it was, indeed, Fernando’s hip. Unbridled joy gives way for sheer relief.

    And then, in an instant, the demons reappear. It’s too early. We’ve scored too early. We’ve got to hang on for 20 minutes. It’s not going to happen. Yet more false hope. Why do you do it to us Spurs?

    In truth, Llorente was the wrong substitution. It stifled us in attack, mainly because it meant Son had to play much deeper and nullified his threat. Yet it was Llorente who scored the crucial goal. Nothing makes sense any more.

    They had killed us at least twice but we refused to die. In fact, tracing back to the back end of 2018, we had 1 point from 3 games in the group and were facing extinction before the campaign had even achieved lift off. We are using the proverbial nine lives in this competition. And this is the magic of Pochettino. Our stubborn refusal to surrender. This isn’t the old Spurs. This is Pochettino’s Spurs. Belligerent until the last.

    This squad has been overstretched to beyond breaking point. Our talisman out. A patched up midfield, bound together with glue and sticking plasters.

    A knackered Wanyama pushed beyond his limits, having been out for the best part of two seasons, and after playing 90 minutes on Saturday against Huddersfield, thrown into the lions den as a one man screen for a Champions League quarter final against probably the most potent attacking side in Europe.

    Dele – playing in a protective glove to guard the two bones in his hand that he broke in the first leg – seemed to be inhibited. He was not his usual, expressive self, perhaps because he was playing in a less suited deeper lying midfield role. Needs must and it was all hands to the deck.

    Sissoko – our redemption man, the engine room of our team all season – his body finally gave out, having been overplayed to the point of collapse given the lack of alternative fit midfield options all season. He joins Winks, Dier and Amos on the injury list. The decision to let Dembele leave in January grows more inexplicable with every passing game.

    To add insult to injury, our replacement talisman, the irrepressible Son Heung-Min, picked up a booking that will rule him out of the first leg of the semi final. Those are probably the only two yellow cards he’s received all season.

    But we somehow progressed. Over two legs, we beat the best team in Europe, who were at full strength. They were led by (widely considered to be) the best coach in Europe, although for me the Argentine in the opposite dugout last night is that man. They have financially doped their way to the top of world football. In contrast we have lived within our means and haven’t spent a penny in 15 months. What Poch, Jesus, Micky and Toni are achieving with this squad, against far more affluent opposition, is quite remarkable.

    Against all the odds, we’re still alive. And we know that, with Pochettino at the helm, whatever cobbled together team we can put out in two weeks’ time against Ajax will fight until the last.



    There is that uncomfortable feeling that the extra two games (hopefully three) will put even more strain on a depleted squad in a desperate fight for the top 4, to ensure that we can do this all over again next year. But that can wait for another day. Maybe we’ll win the bloody thing and the race for the top 4 will all be academic. Maybe. Maybe the gods are finally smiling on us. Maybe just maybe.

    As was plastered across the Park Lane wall before the first leg, “To Dare Is To Do”. And we are doing exactly that. This is the furthest we’ve gone into Europe’s premier cup competition since 1962. We are creating history. Audere Est Facere. Somehow we’re still alive.

    COYS!!!!
     
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  3. barney Guest

    Craig Emanuel great blog mate perhaps its our year i love this club C.O.Y.S
     
  4. voiceofreason Member

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    Nice blog

    Fair point re Trippier, I was dismissive of him but you maybe right that the diamond setup is what really left him out to dry
     
  5. dnoll5

    dnoll5 Member Blogger

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    One of the best pieces written here in a while. Well said.
     
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  6. Remy Uwilin

    Remy Uwilin Active Member

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    Well done!! Great article! Hell of a game, my goodness...it definitely took a few years off for me. My goodness, our squad is bare bones. The belief Poch always talks about is showing, I've drank the kool-aid; god I hope it's our year!! Let's go on and win it!!

    COYS!
     
  7. Big fran Guest

    Great article. Got to again Saturday somehow. Have we enough players fit to even start lol. Is it a game worth writing off and freshening on or two players up I'm not sure.. We need 12 points from our remaining games to guarantee top four but I think 9 could do it given Chelsea play utd so points will be dropped either way. United have City to play which city must win and I think they will certainly take at least a point.
    We should beat Brighton and Bournemouth so a win v mid table Everton or wet spam should suffice.
     
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  8. Cheshuntboy Guest

    Nearly thirty years of disappointments and false dawns have taken their toll on me, and I just can't help worrying that we're in serious danger of aiming at two targets, and missing them both. Winning the CL would be amazing, but there's still the little matter of beating the best young team in Europe, and then seeing-off Liverpool or Barcelona in Madrid, all this with a squad so depleted that Parrott or even Janssen might well be getting a game over the next few weeks - it's not absolutely impossible, but it would make Leicester's 2016 title win seem like child's play if we pull it off. If we do, top four in the PL obviously won't matter, but we mustn't be so blinded by the CL that we drop points in what should be bread and butter league games, and end up with nothing. Liverpool came close to that last season, barely hanging-on to fourth and losing the final, and that without four teams within a couple of points of each other like this year - 'Spurs will always let you down', said Alan Hansen, and he's yet to be proved wrong!
     
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  9. Big fran Guest

    Surely have to prioritise the CL. If we got beat in the final I'd have no problems forgiving the boys missing out on the top 4.
     
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  10. P reed Guest

    Brilliant article by Craig Emanuel and his description of last 5 mins brilliant.He seems to be the only one that wondered what Erickson was doing when he should have cleared the ball instead of being caught in possession and only VAR saved him from total embarrassment.This is why we get the Spursey comments because we have brain fades under pressure.11Lets not kid ourselves that we were the better side and thanks to some strange team selections over the two legs by City we have progressed.but now is not the time to worry and we must concentrate firstly on top four and the semi is a bonus where we will probably have to win away as we have no strike force for the first leg.But nobody can deny being a spurs fan tests your heart and nerves
     
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  11. FatherJack Guest

    I bet when that goal was ruled offside Cheshuntboy politely clapped and thought how can I be miserable about this night.
     
  12. Cheshuntboy Guest

    No, I was shouting 'feck, girls and drink' throughout the match - weren't we all?
     
  13. Felon82 Well-Known Member Blogger

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    Come on Cheshuntboy you know you're not allowed to be critical of anything Spurs related , conceding 4 goals and even the 5th that was ruled out was all part of the polished plan.....

    Seriously though a great achievement to make it through, but ultimately there are still a possible 3 huge games to nagate alongside not letting a top 4 finish slip
     
  14. Cheshuntboy Guest

    Just for once, I wasn't criticising Pochettino, or ENIC, or Alli, but was pointing-out the real danger we face of falling between two stools, and ending up flat on our collective arse. Some people are hard-wired to see everything in the best possible light, expecting it all to turn out fine in the end, and denying the evidence of their own experience in order to retain that mindset. Others perhaps go too far the other way, expecting the worst, and thus being pleased when catastrophe is avoided, at least for now, and I'm - surprise surprise - one of the second group. I think I'm a realist more than a pessimist, but my pleasure when Spurs win is probably greater than that of someone who expected the victory, and I'll certainly be ecstatically happy if by some miracle we lift the CL Trophy in Madrid, but I won't hesitate to say 'I told you so' if we don't, and have blown top four in the process!
     
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  15. palmover Active Member

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    Levy must have stepped in the biggest pile of poo, at the start of this season as everything he has not done (Buy players, /replace players not to mention stadium delay) has led to spurs having a bumper pay day and the opportunity to make it into a CL final.
    Top4 is the priority as spurs have to continue to dine at the highest table. I think spurs will make it, i don't think chavs will but they may win EL, it's a toss up between the gooners and Manu, i think the arse may finnish ahead of Manu.
    If spurs lose 4-3 today i will not be happy. I hope MP, ditches the diamond as M.City will murder spurs done the flanks. 4231 keep it tight 0-0 will be a great result. Coys
     
  16. Bazza47

    Bazza47 Well-Known Member

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    Well on Tuesday night I went into the game with no expectations at all. Missed all the preamble and joined it as the teams came out.

    My heart rate was sky high all night, I couldn't even drink. The emotions, the adrenalin, I couldn't settle, awoke early Wednesday, weary still, but buoyed by one of the greatest European nights in the Club's history.

    We have SO over achieved, given what we've had to endure this year - Wembley, Stadium, Lloris, no spend, injuries to key players, to many players.

    So again today I had no expectations, missing Sissoko and Citeh able to rework their starting 11. Not us, no such luck. We had our chances, their keeper was key and whilst Bernardo Silva was awesome, Ederson was more influential to the final result.

    With Sonny and Moura we have two speedy, talented goal scorers, so fingers crossed they stay fit. I thought Foyth did okay and I'd keep him in, and play three at the back.

    I still feel 76 points will be enough, but we need Chelski to lose to Manure, and Citeh to beat Manure. Whilst three home games is good news, the Irons will be playing their Cup Final next Saturday, and Brighton are fighting for their lives.....but then who isn't.

    So....it's nearly a very good season.....nearly....COYS
     
  17. voiceofreason Member

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    Agreed. Thought Foyth was good. I don’t like Danny in the middle - he runs around like he has taken something- he is like Lamela on speed!
     
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  18. palmover Active Member

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    Frustrating results, as city were nervous and spurs failed to take advantage. I don't think 532 suits this spurs squad as the wing backs don't have the ability to push opposition back. Just like pool spurs have 3 cbs yet concede a header to an unmarked player.
    Strange game as Spurs general passing and ball retention was poor, however, created several decent scoring opportunities, Dier missed a sitter should have scored with the head at the back post.
    For all the positives Spurs inability to keep it tight and not concede in 1st half is something that shows the defence is not strong enough or set up right. This was a game the longer it stayed 0-0 the more desperate city would have become taking risks, which spurs would have punished.
    All spurs remaining games are winnable so spurs should make top4. Coys
     
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  19. Felon82 Well-Known Member Blogger

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    Eeeeeeeeaaaaaaagggggglllleeeessssss!!!!!

    It's back in our hands COYS !!!!!
     
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  20. palmover Active Member

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    The stadium delay has worked out in spurs favour for the run in, 3 home games at this stage is priceless wouldn't fancy playing the hammers or toffees away at the moment, but spurs will win all there remaining home games. Bournemouth away means spurs won't even have travel that much and it's a nice game to have as Bournemouth have nothing to play for.
    Man.u have to win all there games to have a chance of top4. Big ask imo.
    Arse will drop points as they have 3 difficult away games.
    The chavs could win all their games, however, Man.u away is where they could drop points.
    Spurs have the easiest run in and i would be very dissapointed if spurs didn't hold onto 3rd place. Coys
     
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  21. Bazza47

    Bazza47 Well-Known Member

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    Disappointed palmover ..... That's an understatement for sure.....it will not be easy, but would represent a fantastic achievement for this team, given that we will be saying goodbye to some top, top players after the campaign....I'd still like Tob's to stay.....please!!
     

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