“Close but no cigar.” This particular epigram is rather insular, innit? What of people who don’t fancy smoking, and prefer cakes, instead? Surely, cakes are more universal to cigars? Cakes aren’t elitists. “Close but no cake” sounds much more tragical. There, lo and behold, right in front of your, a two-storeyed chocolate rum-mud cake, on your kitchen counter, and your eyes gleam with the certitude about your delight and its destination – and just when you reach out, you feel a hand on the back of your head, of your brat brother assisting gravity, to direct your face into it with all the magnanimity of a sadist.
Reality has been Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino’s big brother, and the Premier League title, the cake. And so, the theme continues even today, in a bright and chirpy afternoon at Merseyside, where last season’s title contenders were looking to make light work of a disjointed Everton side of past season – it started off leisurely enough, until it wasn’t.
#1 Everton Twisted Knife Through Chinks in the Under-Armor
Mauricio Pochettino’s proactive, front-foot approach fell right into Ronald Koeman’s battle-hardened, continental hands. Everton’s attackers were instructed to lay a siege of attack through the vacated corridors of Tottenham’s attack-minded full-backs. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, for all their forward momentum, left glaring gaps for Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu to waltz across and twirl with the ball, and lead the Tottenham rearguard to a merry dance.
Each time the possession was turned over, the Everton midfielders made it their holy mission to bifurcate Tottenham’s nougat-filled-centre, by knifing the ball on the first opportunity to Tottenham’s wingback positions, which had all the structural integrity of a untended chocolate fudge sundae. Not before long other teams will look to the first forty-five minutes at the Goodison as an attacking template to employ against Tottenham early doors, to preheat them. Pochettino might be well-advised to take a dip or two in the pastry shop to procure, perhaps, an English hard cake or two on either side – which aren’t as easy for opponents to sink their teeth in. By this, I, of course, mean, defensively astute full-back cover, not the actual English hard cake, which I have an affinity for.
#2 Wanyama’s Boss, But…
While Victor Wanyama shone above all in his Tottenham debut, and Eric Dier was again sprightly, not more so than his bouncy hair, though (does he use beer hair product? It’s positively animated) – however, the cut and thrust from the central midfield was lacking. Chris Eriksen does an exceptional job at instigating an attacking move as the playmaker, but, perhaps a proper box-to-box midfielder is what Tottenham for a game as 100mphs as this – taking the ball from the deep and carrying it into the box on merit of sheer drive and determination, and power.
#3 The Resilience Is Brimming
As are one the youngest side in the Premier League. The second half come-back would give supporters, the manager and the team themselves a lot of heart. This is slowly but surely growing into one of closest knit units in the top half of The Premier League. While despite their best efforts and coming close on a few occasions couldn’t take the lead and the win they probably deserved, if the youngish Spurs can keep up such vein of character, it won’t be too, too long, before they can have their cake and eat it too.
Jon Depp (JD)
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