Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4

Tottenham has always been a strange fixture for me. I have never really felt a strong animosity towards Spurs as I have to media darlings such as Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United. Even the players have never been ones that you could particularly detest and I must admit feeling guilty after Gary Mabbutt signed an autograph for me in the East Lower tunnel at a derby game in the late 1980s and all I could say to him was, "nice own goal, Gary".

The fans of Spurs are a different matter, but just like West Ham fans those that I know personally are entirely reasonable. It is only when you approach the environs of one of the ugliest areas of Britain to have an away fixture take place that a darkness descends. While walking from Northumberland Park station towards the away end it felt like I was back to where I grew up in Camberwell in the 1980s.

The difference between the two teams yesterday was simply the quality of finishing. Chelsea started the game brightly and really should have gone in at half-time two goals to the good. Cahill's goal brought a tear to my eye and he is currently looking an excellent understudy for John Terry both in the short- and long-term. Four goals already this season! Tottenham created many chances and Sigurdsson in particular squandered a fair few with many being hit straight at the 'keeper. Lennon and Defoe impressed as per usual but many including me were thankful that Dembele, Bale and Parker were missing. At full strength their first team could easily finish in the top four again this season.

As the first half wore on Chelsea became more sloppy and cocky. Silly flicks to try to show off in dangerous areas of the park led to Tottenham finishing the stronger. When the second half started I had a bad feeling in my bones which was for once correct as Tottenham raced into the lead. Luiz again showed what a liability he can be at times with a silly foul and this followed another strange decision not to head a ball away early from defence - he needs to worry less about style and more about substance - get a bloody haircut!

Mikel had an excellent game and some of his touches were sublime. Mata was thoroughly excellent although his constant cutting inside while on the right wing due to his dependency on his left foot will be noticed by our better opponents. Nevertheless, his brilliantly placed equalizer showed that he still is our most consistent attacking midfielder and the interplay for our third between him and Hazard was sublime.

The biggest worry for me was the general attitude of Torres again. Quite why he receives so much support from our fans when better players who wear the blue shirt have been booed is beyond me. He acts like a spoilt child when things do not go his way and this later reflected in his general effort during the second half. Chelsea fans can forgive ineptness as long as the attitude and effort of the player is correct. It is the first time for a decade that I have actually shouted out for one of our players to eff off. Something is not right mentally with him and he needs to improve his demeanour soon or else a place on the bench will call for a man who undoubtedly has the potential to be a Chelsea great. Let's hope there is nothing going on behind the scenes that we do not know about.

Cech saved us from losing two points with minutes to go before we scored the fourth and White Hart Lane emptied. He is a player of enormous quality and professionalism who I am thankful is in our starting XI.

There is no doubt that this is a Chelsea side that is exciting to watch and it feels like finally Roman has the kind of side he has been after since taking over the club. We do look vulnerable at the back against the better teams with such an attacking setup (essentially 4-1-4-1) although we have only conceded six goals in the league.

As the confidence builds perhaps this could be a chance to win the league in style and shut the allegedly neutral media up. This could be a very interesting couple of weeks so come on Chelsea - keep up the good work!

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