It was just another Wednesday afternoon until we witnessed a sight we hadn’t seen for months. It wasn’t as though either side set the pitch ablaze, but there was more than enough drama to make up for it. And, thankfully, a lack of yellow to be shown. It was just another Wednesday afternoon until someone decided to take down the beast—if only for a week.
And All Things Will End
Folks, there’s this club that goes by the name of Chelsea, and they were on the brink of history. With 13 straight Premier League victories in the bag, one more would have seen them top Arsenal’s stretch from that historic 2002 campaign. Well, depending on how you look at it. Because Arsenal went on to win 14 Premier League matches in a row that year, they just needed the first match of the following season to notch that final result.
But back to Wednesday, when all eyes were on Chelsea. And all that stood in their way was Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane—one last time. As we know, it wasn’t to be. A 2-0 defeat brought their incredible streak to a momentary halt. A streak that included 10 clean sheets and 32 goals scored to just four conceded. And, a streak that still keeps them five points atop the table.
Now we get to see how they respond to defeat. Well, again. After being unraveled 3-0 by Arsenal back in September, they became unstoppable. Will other sides finally start figuring them out?
Dropping Points is Dropping Points
Look, Arsenal did a helluva job to come back from 3-0 down against Bournemouth this past Tuesday. A helluva job. Down three goals is down three goals, and scoring all three in response after the 70th minute cannot be shrugged aside. And while Bournemouth will certainly be kicking themselves for falling apart, Arsenal should never have been in that position to begin with.
This was 2015-16 Newcastle-Tottenham all over again, just significantly less embarrassing for the better side. And, well okay, Arsenal actually got a point out of the ordeal. Okay fine, this was nothing like 2015-16 Newcastle-Tottenham. I’m still bitter, that’s all. But a draw is a draw is a draw and at the end of the day, two points lost. The Gunners would see themselves fall to fifth, but there’s no need to worry. Swansea, Burnley and Watford await, and two of those take place at home.
Then there’s Liverpool. Ah yes, the week Chelsea loses and the Reds fail to close out Sunderland. You know, those bottom-dwellers who somehow always avoid relegation. This time they would overturn a deficit. Twice. Through penalties. Twice. How do you let that happen, Liverpool? Still, Jürgen Klopp’s side would at least pick up a point. But now, on 44, Liverpool has Tottenham (42), Manchester City (42) and Arsenal (41) breathing down their neck.
For the Love of Spurs, Don’t Lose Dele
Back in September, I wrote about Harry Kane’s injury. More specifically, the odd notion that it was a “blessing in disguise.” I believed then (and still do, to some extent) that a portion of the Tottenham fanbase—even pundits—took Kane for granted. I genuinely hope they have learned their lesson. And going forward, do not make the same mistake with Dele Alli. Or Dele, as he now affectionately goes by.
I cannot stress that enough: please do not do this. Again.
I will admit that a few weeks ago, things were not going swimmingly for the boys of North London. While numbers at the same point last season were actually worse than the current campaign, things didn’t seem to be clicking. Tottenham would become reliant on penalties upon penalties. They would continue to struggle to carve out chances. And, injuries seemed to keep piling up.
Dele himself was one of the healthy handful, but productions levels weren’t quite there. Fast forward four matches later, and it’s as though he was never struggling. Three consecutive braces. 10 goals in 19 league games. (He had 10 in 33 last season.) 20 goals in his first 52 league matches—far faster than Paul Scholes (74), David Beckham (90), Frank Lampard (140) and Steven Gerrard (169). On and on the numbers go.
Injuries and slumps behind them, Tottenham are in cruise control. And midfield play is arguably the biggest reason why. Lately, that begins with Dele Alli. Now, don’t go running off to China, ya hear?