Tottenham Hotspur could win the league. Makes me sick to the stomach to even contemplate the possibility let alone it being a reality. A confidence shot, out of form, demotivated Arsenal visited White Hart Lane yesterday. Even the most ardent of Gooners would have thought we would lose this one, but we didn’t. Just the thought of Tottenham winning the league sparked the players into life and that hunger, desire and bottle finally came to the fore again. It is now time to build on this, create momentum and charge towards Leicester and give this title a real shake.
There is no doubt that Tottenham were the better team in those first 38 minutes or so. We were under siege, yet we absorbed the pressure and defended like warriors. Elneny in his first start for us played like a seasoned veteran, and Ospina was brilliant as well being thrown into the deep end.
Then came the chance. It is all well and good to absorb pressure and play on the counter but you must make your chances count and it was brilliant play. Bellerin received the pass and knew a shot would be blocked and had the presence of mind to find Ramsey who finished with exceptional skill.
The goal really lifted us and we looked good for a second by half time, however it remained 1-0 at the break. Then came the moment. Look, going down to ten men is suicide especially in a league where nothing can be taken for granted. Coquelin has since apologised for his actions and rightly so, but I don’t think we should be too angry at him. There is a fine line between being passionate, having that hunger and desire and then crossing that line and getting yourself sent off. He crossed that line, but would you rather him not have any passion at all? Think about how weak we’ve been recently, how spineless, gutless and disinterested we’ve been. Coquelin could be forgiven for trying his heart out after a wretched few games, desperate to win the North London derby. Nonetheless he did cross that line and as a young man he will learn from it, but it is important to understand how far he has come and the team as a whole.
We concede two quick goals after the sending off, in many ways unlucky, a absolutely worldie from Kane and an accidental assist from Lamela from the corner. Look, on the balance of play they did deserve a goal or two, but on another day neither of those goes in and we would be talking about a win. To put things into perspective Tottenham had very few clear cut chances for the rest of the game. Ospina was brilliant and for us to keep them out barring two really unlucky goals is a credit to how the team grew mentally.
We did not let our heads drop, we were quick on the ball, we kept looking for an opening. The goal was a testament to that. Tottenham coming up to press but we were quick on the ball, Ramsey, quick to find Bellerin, Sanchez getting into space and finishing it. Quick play from a motivated team desperate to right the terrible wrongs from earlier in that half. The boys had a spring in their step, Ramsey proved the doubters wrong, Bellerin had two wonderful assists, and Sanchez, boy did he need that goal for his confidence.
Ramsey had a chance to win it in the end and Dier should have been sent off. All things considered this was a season changing performance and we deserved the three points in the end.
I spoke the other day about how the little things will chance the course of this title race. We just need to get the basics right. The mentality is back, we came back with ten men, so it is now up to us to stand up in our next game, with eleven men and really show that we want this title. If we play like we did against Spurs for the next nine games, will get close to, if not win this title. Spurs and Leicester all have difficult run ins and will definitely drop points. If we keep our end of the bargain we can achieve glory. Stranger things have happened at this stage of the title race, you can think back to Liverpool in 2014 and ourselves in 2003 where everybody thought it was over, but Liverpool dropped points, we dropped points and the respective Manchester clubs just kept winning and eventually caught them/us in the end.
With our form and mentality now back into full gear and with other teams not having the best seasons either, we are still in with a good chance of winning this thing. Let’s build on this momentum and give this title challenge a real push.
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