The hunt is on


A cold Monday in Stoke, yup this Spurs side can do that, as they cut the gap on the league leaders to five points with four games to go.

Leicester’s game against the Spam looked on paper like a banana skin for them, which it turned out to be, though could have been worse. Spurs trip to the dark ages, Stoke twinned with Mos Eisley – You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy – looked like a potential one for the chasers.

A chance to capitalise on dropped points away to the thugs, who had a ‘keeper making his club debut… what could go wrong..?

Shay Given in goal, hadn’t started a Premier League game in nearly a year, when he conceded six. Cue a Tim Krul career highlight day between the sticks for the old man…

When Harry Kane butchered his first chance on goal, it had you thinking but this isn’t your old Spurs. The Spurs that would spurn any chance to claw back ground, would be bullied by aimless cloggers with no interest in football and just Spurs it all up.

It was just a sighter for Kane, his opener came very shortly after. Mr Electra Glide in Blue, Mousa Dembele, glides past a striped shirt to the edge of the box where he dinks it off to Kane, who cuts in and puts in another trademark Kane goal. A curler into the far post from the left side of the area, it’s taken over from his low powerful one from the opposite side.

No mask to rip off but the celebrations were there, including from Pochettino, who lived this one.

I tweeted at the time that early goals were more enjoyable these days. In the past they would do so and then be hanging on until the inevitable equaliser. Now getting one early gives them more chance to extend the lead and reduces that feeling of “one of those days” after yet another chance has been wasted.

The opposition has to now come out and play, leaving nice big gaps for Spurs to exploit. Well Stoke came out and played. Far too much stuff was happening in and around Spurs’ box. When it did go away from the danger area there was a lack of composure and the ball was coughed up far too easily and back at the 18 yard line. Luckily they really didn’t have any clear cut chances, one Hugo save but Toby was there to see away most of the danger.

But the quick break out was always there. Walker butchered a couple of good goes with his dithering and inept crossing and then Eriksen shortly before half-time had Poch putting his head in his hands in disbelief. Lamela through the middle fed Alli, his lovely backheel finds Eriksen all on his lonesome in the middle of the goal at the edge of the box. He waited and waited and then lifted the ball with some power over Given and straight onto the crossbar.

Would they live to regret that?

Second half started with Stoke on the attack but quickly changed to being Spurs’ game but the goals weren’t coming. What was needed was that well, that escalated quickly few minutes of the ManUre game.

It happened over 15 minutes not long after the hour.

After Hugo’s goal-kick, Walker’s head on, Lamela is strong to hold off another thug, his backheel luckily bounces of said thug back to Eriksen, whose first time ball exquisitely finds Alli all in his lonesome heading into the box, he lifts it over the ‘keeper and it should be game over now.

Three minutes later he really should have finished it off. Again one ball finds him in acres of space in the middle of the goal, all on his lonesome, he rounds the ‘keeper and with and open goal at his mercy he hit the post.

That tweet had to be dug out again…

…what a miss. Some players you know doing that would really screw them up, but Alli has the confidence to put it out of his mind and carry on doing what he does so well. Even if Eric Dier did give him stick about it later.

Pochettino was now on all fours pounding the floor.

Alli was back in action very shortly after though, making sure they wouldn’t regret that miss. From a Stoke corner in a blink of an eye Alli has it at the halfway line, through the the charging Lamela. Through in with just the ‘keeper to beat the Argentinian squares the ball for Kane to tap in his second. An unselfish act that shows the strength of the team.

Poch was looking happier.

The fifteen minutes were up as again Eriksen found Dele Alli just heading into the box. His curving volley nestling nicely in the corner of the net for his second, his 10th of the league campaign.

Poch was far happier.

Only one thing could spoil the night and it duly appeared. The player that pretty much sums up Stoke, the city, the team and the manager. Charlie Adam. Here comes Fanny. Lumbering around kicking anything in a Spurs kit. This player, amongst other at the club along with their celebration of their thuggishness is why they never get to have the nice things.

Luckily all those players you wanted to see immediately subbed at his arrival – Toby, Harry, Dele, Mousa, Lamela, Eriksen – survived the last 15 minutes or so.

Only downside was that the fifth goal didn’t come. It would have just rounded up the goal difference to a nice plus 40. Plus forty, unbelievable and yet Toby not listed for player of the year.

Best goal difference in the league by a mile, due having scored the most, conceded the fewest, with the league’s top scorer and youngest squad. This is the fairy tale… the fox hunt goes on…

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