Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Efficient, ruthless - who are those strange men in white shirts?
I'm not too sure of the etymology of the word 'ruthless', so I'd hesitate to describe previous incarnations of our beloved Spurs as 'ruth', or even 'ruthful'.
I mean, I'm no expert in the English language (oh shut your face, as Frankie Howerd would have said), but neither of those sound quite right.
Whatever. We all turned up on Monday hopeful of a win, but certain of a nervous night. I thought we might go 1-0 up early, threaten to get a second for about an hour, fail to seal the deal, then get decked by a sucker punch in the last 10.
Or, as we've done a few times, go 2-0 up, then mysteriously decide to change the way we're playing, sit back, concede and leave ourselves hanging on - to three points and our sanity.
In the end, we did the first part, then just coasted to victory. Yep, you heard/saw: coasted. It was an eerie and unfamiliar atmosphere. At one point, probably about 75 minutes in, I had a strange feeling. I have asked the stewards if I can swap seats, but apparently there's nothing they can do.
Anyway, a minute after that I realised that I was.... what? Relaxed? Bored, even. Boredom! Sweet, beautiful boredom! Spurs 2-0 up and playing with such confidence that there was a complete absence of what I believe the TV and film industry call 'peril'. Without it, no show or movie is worth watching. The audience has to be unsure about what might happen next, what might befall the characters they've started to care about.
We knew what was going to happen next: we were going to win. And what wasn't going to happen next: Aston Villa were not going to score.
And now there's talk of the title. But not serious talk, not from anyone who doesn't need their food cut up for them. We remain eminently capable of going on a bad run - and eminently capable of losing against West Brom on Saturday.
As has been noted here before, at this level, jostling for position against the very best, you have to win and win and win and win and win and win. And then you look up. And you've moved up one place, if you're lucky. So you get your head down and try to do it again. And again. It's relentless. Are we ready to be relentless as well as ruthless? Not sure.
So, City and United will finish one and two. Then it's us, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for third or fourth. At the start of the season I though it would be us, Arsenal and Liverpool for fourth. So, mathematically, our chances have increased (four teams going for two spots as opposed to three teams going for one slot).
Plus, after this weekend, our 12 games will have seen us play every other side in the top 10 apart from Chelsea. I don't know what that proves or suggests - other than the fact that despite these ardor-cooling words of wisdom, I'm as guilty as anyone of staring at the league table for the last 24 hours.
It's unavoidable: the atmosphere around the club at the moment is a bit... giddy. And giddy's no good. Great teams do not get giddy. Let's calm down. Let's ignore the league table (because, in some ways, it's a bit embarrassing to be this excited about being third) and let's concentrate very, very hard on winning at the Hawthorns. Come on Spurs, bore me again. Bore me stupid.