If you left White Hart Lane in the 90th minute and missed the Jenas goal, don't fret. I'm sure Spurs will be releasing the Special Edition DVD of the game, including the directors cut ending where Jenas adds another goal in the 97th minute (the directors cut ending is included in narrative format only and accompanied with black and white illustrations of the alternative fictional finale. DVD extras also include a construction of what the open-top bus parade would have looked like).
It was a poor second half performance. Post-match hype from Robbie Keane (we proved this that and the other - read tonights Standard) does not hide the fact that we appeared to do nothing but sit back and invite Arsenal to attack in the second forty-five. Sorry Robbie, but we were plain lucky to get a point. It wasn't so much painful but typical to witness. Same old, same old. Shame really as the first 45 minutes was not too bad. 1-0 to the good and creating chances, though Arsenal still looked dangerous.
Jol's team talk at half-time. I wish I was a fly on the wall. "Go out there, and play shit" must have been the war cry from the big man. "Play shit? I do that every week, guv", responds the shy Jenas.
No chance however this match can be used as a gauge to display the differences between the two clubs. We all know they have better quality overall and play to a system that's been in the making for a decade. Head-start is an understatement. At the end of last season, I said Spurs would compete for 4th spot. An Arsenal fan said no chance, and that the blip that allowed us to sit pretty in 4th for 4 months would never happen again because Arsenal would shift up a couple of levels.
Well, Arsenal, in comparison to their 'standards' and what their fans expect, have been relatively average. Sure, the fancy quick passing football is still there. The brilliant young players also. But if you believe their fans, injuries have meant top 2 or 3 has been out of their reach. When in reality, they are simply not as good as they were. But still good enough to have a second successive average season (in the Prem) but still finish 4th. And still in a healthy position to become better and (ouch) as good as previous years. Credit to Wenger. Again I hear that next year, they wont have another blip.
I'm going to be a little bit dramatic here (hold onto your hats).
Whether it be Spurs or whoever, someone other than the current top four HAS to finish in the top four next season. Obviously, I'm hoping (expecting) that Arsenal are once more the weakest and thus the most catchable. And I'm looking at Spurs at claiming that spot.
Because we have no other choice.
We had a poor start and a poor Christmas. We've had plenty of decent Cup runs. Players (like Zokora and Berbatov) are settling into Prem life. Jol (if he couldn't before he can now) can see what HAS to be done during the summer. Both in player selection (and transfers) and his own personal tactical ploys - especially away from home.
4th spot has to go to Tottenham next season. The players have to genuinely believe it. I'm not asking for much, am I?
Well, if we don't make it then the likes of Berbatov will dancing a jig of joy celebrating another goal for Man Utd by the 2009 season.
I'm being a little broad (with my dramatics). Spurs have improved this season in some areas but (as previous blogs etc state and if you've watched us this season) we will have ongoing issues to resolve (the left side, set pieces, choking against the big clubs in big games). And breeding winners means having to win in the first place. Catch 22. But again, if you compare us against the top 4 today and then look back 4 or 5 years, there has been improvement. The final gulf is always going to be a bitch. Especially with players nowadays looking to jump ship to pick up their silverware the easy (and only) way.
But when do you (as a fan) stop saying 'we have to do this' in order to compete for the top 4? When do you come to the conclusion that the gulf is impossible to get across? Well, for all you West Ham fan's, there's no fucking way I'm going give up. Football, for 95% of all clubs is about dreams. Mine are in black and white and in the 60's. I want to fucking upgrade to HDTV and this century.
As I said, 'broad'. See next season, Arsenal might hit big time form again and suddenly become a player in the race for the title. If that happens then hoping Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool drop a level is like asking for Robbo to save a shot from 30 yards.
And the 'best' players will always sign for the 'big' clubs. But you don't need to spunk money on the Ballacks and Shevs of this world. Hate to say it, but look at the Goons. Cheap buys = world class players. It's a big ask isn't it, competing against Romans cash, Wengers know-how, Liverpool's history and Man Utd's franchise.
Which means 5th may will be the only option, unless the 'self belief' carries itself off with a nice little miracle. 5th, wouldn't complain, would you? But it would then mean greater emphasis on winning the League Cup or FA Cup or hopefully the UEFA Cup.
(though 5th would be nice this season too).
Giving up, and just admitting we will never catch anyone would mean the club wouldn't bother trying. All you can do is hope. And pray. And wait. One thing can change everything. Just ask Man Utd fans and Arsenal fans.
There's no delusions of grandeur here. I'm not stating we deserve 4th spot. I'm not stating we are a big club (sorry 'ammers fans). What I'm saying is, its about fucking time the players shut the fuck up about 'we're nearly there' so that me and other yids can also shut the fuck up with our what-has-to-be-done and what-jol-needs-to-do lists.
TO DARE IS TO DO............well fucking do it then if you want the glory.
Two seasons on the trot now, and both have been progressive rather than transitional. Season three has to have a new arc, otherwise the network might can it.