While making the bold prediction that his team’s league position will withstand this weekend’s football, columnist and Chelsea fan Giles Smith decides this is an ideal moment for a state-of-the-season address...
So, as we head reluctantly into the second international break of the 2019/20 season, let’s use the enforced pause in the action to perform a full analytical review of where we are, shall we? Let’s drill down into the data and assemble a granular picture of the situation to hand.Our team currently sits in fifth place in the league, equal on points with the team in fourth, just two points behind Manchester City and with, ahead of us, at least one team (Crystal Palace) whom it would be surprising to find above us at Christmas, and possibly as many as two others (Leicester, Arsenal) whom it would be surprising to find in front of us in the queue for Champions League football at the end of the season. Highly encouraging.We are on an impressive run of five consecutive wins in all competitions: that smoothly assured 4-1 win away at Southampton last weekend; the 2-1 win away at Lille in the Champions League; the 2-0 win at home to Brighton in the league just before that; the 7-1 despatching of Grimsby in the Carabao Cup; and the moral victory over Liverpool on September 22nd. Hugely impressive form. (Incidentally, I think I’m right in saying that we are the only team this season to have managed a moral victory over Liverpool, who are otherwise undefeated. Indeed, if you count the Super Cup, we’ve managed a moral victory over Liverpool twice. An exceptional attainment.)Our 22-year-old Academy-product striker has scored eight Premier League goals, is joint top of the Premier League goal-scorer list with Sergio Aguero, and is averaging a league goal for every 72 minutes he spends on the pitch. And he’s scored another one in the Champions League as well. Sensational returns.
Amid a spirit of well-adjusted optimism and with a genuinely warm atmosphere of encouragement suffusing the club, familiar, trusted names are combining with a batch of fresh first-team regulars who are only just old enough to get in the pub at the end of my road yet who are currently turning in performances which combine exquisitely mature professionalism with bold ambition, and thereby earning the purring approval of a rapt and grateful nation. Beautiful to witness.Jody Morris has been filmed dancing unreservedly in a dressing room. Also beautiful to witness.
Jorginho is entirely on fire – again, beautiful to witness.
And Tottenham have just shipped 10 goals in two games including, at the last time of asking, three away at Brighton, while Manchester United recently confirmed for the benefit of any doubters that this really IS their worst start to a season for 30 years by losing to Newcastle, who hadn’t exactly been making a habit of beating people this season, nor indeed this decade. Did I already use the expression ‘beautiful to witness’?
All in all, we have been royally entertained since the season opened – even during some of those early 'teething trouble’ moments, where a few things didn’t go quite according to plan.
At the same time, of course, complacency is always to be resisted, not least in the early days of a fledgling project such as ours. There will inevitably be complications somewhere around the corner, substantial challenges to the current status quo most certainly lie ahead, and it stands to reason that things won’t remain as thoroughly rose-tinted as they are now. After all, Tottenham can’t possibly go on shipping goals in enormous clumps forever.
Can they?But even now, it’s not all negatives for our north London neighbours. Very much on the plus side, I saw some pictures from Sunday’s ‘London Series’ NFL match between the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears at the new White Hart Lane, and wow. I’m more of a baseball person myself, but I have to say, I thought it looked absolutely stunning – the colour, the scale, the perfect meeting of sports event and purpose-built architecture.Suddenly, for the first time, the full grandeur of that ground made sense to me. Forget the sight of Spurs getting dragged around by Bayern Munich like a sack full of recycling on a damp Tuesday night: it’s big American football occasions like last Sunday which that stadium was built for. And maybe also Ariana Grande concerts.So, to sum up: it feels like we’re all in a good place, and with no reason why we shouldn't be able to stay there until October 19, when football is eventually allowed to resume, and, with any luck, well beyond that.
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