Posted by: Paul | April 15, 2010

4th Place chase aces face race

Spurs have confounded my expectations twice in the past 3 days.

Firstly, the heartbreak of Wembley. Oh, how close we were. We were the better side. We had more posession, more shots, that is indisputable. But goals can come against the run of play, and going into extra time at 0-0 with Portsmouth looking dead on their feet I was as certain as ever of victory. But then they “nicked a goal”, as they say – a literal slip on the awful pitch from Michael Dawson let Piquionne through, and he stuck the ball past Gomes – on his third attempt at a one-on-one with our keeper, no less.

The injustice got worse as we had a perfectly legal goal disallowed, and conceded a petulant penalty which also earned our influential midfield general, Wilson Palacios, a ban for both the Arsenal and Chelsea games. Like the Spurs faithful at Wembley, I got out of my seat at this point.

Only one thing could redress the balance. Victory over the Old Enemy. And how sweet it was. Not a classic Spurs performance by any means, but we displayed something far more important than flair which is often lacking in our sides – solidity at the back, lent force by the returning Ledley King. Oh, how we missed you Ledley. And oh, how we crave a permanent replacement as soon as is physically possible, then you can be put out to pasture, much as it pains me to say it. You’re a marvellous ambassador both for Spurs and for football (except for one ill advised example outside a nightclub earlier this year, I was very disappointed in you then), but it’s time to hang up your boots.

Beating Arsenal is always a joy for Spurs fans, our reason for being. I doubt Arsenal fans treat it with quite the same seriousness – I guess it means more to us because it happens less. Anyway, we won 2-1 which was a surprise, so I wanted to check in with Spurs and Man City’s progress against my prediction exactly one month ago today.

Prediction:
Spurs – 8 points from 4 games (60 points total)
Man City – 9 points from 5 games (59 points total)

Reality:
Spurs – 9 points from 4 games (61 points total)
Man City – 12 points from 5 games (62 points total).

So both teams have outperformed my expectations and we’ve swapped places (and City have caught up with our goal difference with two crushing wins over Birmingham and Burnley). This lends even more significance to both this weekends games (City face Man Utd and Spurs play host to Chelsea), and also to our away game at City. My prediction for that – whoever wins, takes 4th. Come On You Spurs!

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