just not necessarily all at once.
Ange Postecoglou’s record of never having lost a home game went in a wild and furious 111 minute game that made the Battle of the Bridge look tame, as Spurs lost 4-1 to he that shall not be named and the mob he’s at now.
It started so well. Too early of course was the old Spursy thing. As the previously unbeaten home side took a six minute lead. Again it involved Maddison as he started it rolling with an excellent ball through from his own half to Sarr, who quickly moved it on to Kulusevski. Yet again the Swede cut inside, this time having a pop which took a big deflection to beat the keeper.
This was the turning point. Things now started going a bit… haywire.
It started with Udogie winning the ball, yeah he went in wildly, but barely touched Sterling, who took a step then threw himself to the floor screaming. A desperate attempt get a player sent off, any different from waving an imaginary card? No. It wasn’t his last dive of the night.
Then after a charge up field by Romero, he was taken out, and in the space left Chelsea attacked, with Sterling putting the ball in the net. Unlike last week VAR got it right and chalked the goal off for his handball. But VAR wasn’t finished, it was looking at Romero, who had kicked the back off the legs of the Chelsea player that fouled him. Gary Neville who was desperate all night to get Spurs players into trouble, was wanting Romero off, much like with Udogie.
It was deemed petulant not vicious, so Romero was let off, much to Neville and Sky’s disgust. Of course no one bothered about the foul on Romero in the first place.
Spurs though seemed to have lost their head by now. It was compounded not long after with a bit of a stramash in the Spurs box. Micky van de Ven went in and had a swipe at the ball, at Sterling’s feet, he missed everything, Sterling threw himself to the ground screaming, again – it wasn’t his last dive. The ball isn’t cleared and a Chelsea player has a pop from outside the box with goes past Vicario in the corner of the net.
But wait. Here’s VAR, the goal is after an age chalked off again. It goes through the legs of another Chlesea player who was offside. Of course the media pundits say this should stand, the ball travelled a distance, he wasn’t interfering, the keeper wasn’t blinded. The bias was unbelievable.
But they were helped out as VAR is still checking. Not it wasn’t a foul by Micky but we’ll just overlook Sterling’s dive. But Romero, what has Romero done? Of course Neville is screaming for a penalty and a red card.
Well, let’s compare and contrast. A couple of weeks ago, Jones for Liverpool goes in high, went over the ball, studs up, slightly touched the ball then went through the Spurs player. The media straight in with he touched the ball and was unlucky, it shouldn’t have been a red. Romero goes in low, takes the ball fully, and in the action goes through the Chelsea player. No, that’s definite red and penalty. And so it was given.
Vicario got fingers on it, almost saved the day. I think Ange made a mistake with his substitution, Dier came on for Johnson. It should have been for Kulusevski. Johnson’s pace and directness would have been a better outlet for a team down to 10.
It could have been oh so different, before that first brouhaha Spurs could have been 2 up. A lovely team goal, Sarr to Udogie then onto Johnson quickly, his first time curling cross was perfect for Son to finish it off, but he was fractionally offside. If that had stood would what happened after have happened?
Well, we will never know.
It got worse, much worse near in the first minute of the 12 added on to the end of the first half. First Maddison went down in the Chelsea box, untouched and stayed down. Yes, that ankle that’s taken such a battering so far this season, including in the game of course unpunished, had finally gone. And then as the ball went up the other end Micky’s hamstring went, violently. Emerson and Hojbjerg were coming on for VdV and Maddison, this wasn’t like-for-like changes. And Spurs fans worst nightmare was coming true.
Amazingly it would get even worse in the second half. Spurs playing the high line are caught, Sterling’s ball though is cut out by Udogie, then he rashly goes to ground to tackle Sterling who of course goes down screaming. Udogie receives his second yellow and the red.
Again lets compare and contrast. When Jota was sent off against Spurs it was much the same. On a yellow Jota lost the ball to Udogie then had a wild swipe at the Italian from behind, nowhere near the ball no intention of even trying to get the ball, just a revenge tackle. Udogie was trying for the ball, made a mistake, he didn’t need to do anything Sterling was running sideways, wasn’t going to beat Udogie for pace. It was needless, especially with already having a yellow and the way the game was going.
Of course Udogie was on the end of one that didn’t result in even a yellow card…
Not even a booking pic.twitter.com/18uPN0jzni
— The Spurs Web (@thespursweb) November 6, 2023
…Sterling also put in another penalty box dive, which should have seen him off, which of course would play a part later on. What was lost in Udogie’s departure was the ineptitude of Emerson in the build up. Ridiculously jumping in and falling over well into the Chelsea half, leaving Chelsea with a three on two.
It took the visitors another 20 minutes to get the winner. 20 minutes of Spurs’ high line that they couldn’t break. But Spurs back four were too flat for playing on the halfway line. The centre backs needed to drop back just a bit. Emerson is clueless at the best of time but here he was totally out of his depth.
Ange ball is wild 😂 pic.twitter.com/2M4gN2WcLV
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) November 6, 2023
Meanwhile Dier and Hojbjerg were putting in a Herculean effort in the centre while Vicario was pulling off more cracking saves. Of course Sterling was the one that broke the offside trap to lay on that winner. The following two goals were much the same. Spurs still going for it, wanting to do something rather than sit there and accept a 2-1 scoreline.
And they could have won it. Dier, with a brilliant volley from a free kick, but just again partially offside, when it was 2-1. Bentancur could have added another but didn’t know whether to go with his head or foot, went with both and totally Sterling’d the chance. Then just before their third, which came in added time, Son had a great chance, he knew it and looked distraught.
He who is dead to me said his team deserved the win, when they didn’t. They struggled against 9 men, struggled against a team that was going for it, not one that played a flat back nine. No, as that tweet above shows.
Ange was proud of the display, and wasn’t like me, nor indeed certain other managers, having a dig at the officials. It’s funny when you point out Ange taking the decisions and showing respect for the officials, certain fans point to him getting a yellow card, when that card was for being out of his technical area, a punishment that would see their petulant child of a manager shown more cards than anyone in history as he jumps around the touchline all game.
But then look what happened after others whinged. Spurs have been on the wrong end of numerous decisions, I mean a couple of Chelsea players that should have seen red join the numerous Palace players who should have gone last week. Refs will be bending over backwards for Arteta, like they actually have all season. I mean, that Havertz challenge.
But now comes the real part for Ange. It’s been good with his first XI but now that’s been decimated. Three of his preferred back four are missing. Udogie for one game, Romero for three and Micky for god knows how long, this being Spurs it could be years. And if Maddison is out for any length then we’re almost back to the Conte team.
I hope Ange is also brave with his team selection, doesn’t try and fill gaps with players out of position, so Ashley Phillips alongside Dier. An attacking player to replace Maddison. Now is the time we see what Ange is all about. We knew it was coming, we knew there’d be defeats, we knew the squad was thin behind the starting XI, we could have just done without it all coming at once…