So we’re finally up and running. After an indifferent pre-season, countless speculation regarding the possible departures of key players and what appears to be a media witch-hunt, intent on destabilising the squad (helped by the naivety/stupidity of Danny Rose), Spurs have opened their account with a comfortable 2-0 win at St James’ Park.
I knew, as I trundled off to bed, that the demons of my last visit to that impressive stadium had been exorcised. Three points away from home, at a ground that historically has not been welcoming for Tottenham, is a fine start to the campaign. Maybe the media will find themselves another crisis club to discuss for the week? Are you sitting comfortably, Mr Conte?
Let’s not get too carried away however. This Newcastle side is a far cry from even the team that was relegated fifteen months ago. They were distinctly average. Attempts to expose the inexperienced Walker-Peters failed miserably, and the Magpies never really looked able to expose Tottenham anywhere else on the park. As Walker-Peters started to look more comfortable, so did Tottenham.
In truth, the red card to Jonjo Shelvey only added a degree of inevitability about this morning’s outcome. There can be no complaints about the red card, and none about the final score.
I imagine Newcastle fans will bemoan that sending off as the ‘pivotal moment’ in this fixture. Being reduced to ten men is always a handicap. However, so is starting a game with Moussa Sissoko, and the Geordies will only be too aware of that fact.
For Tottenham, we must move on and think about Sunday’s (Monday for us in NZ) derby with Chelsea. A team missing both Fabregas and Gary Cahill, but one that will still be a formidable opponent at Wembley. We must beat them in order to send a message to the rest of the league, that while we may have been inactive in the transfer market, Tottenham Hotspur is still a force to be reckoned with.
Having the stability in the squad will be key this season. Tottenham do not need a host of superstars flooding through the gates of Spurs Lodge. Our starting XI is the envy of the league. But additions would be welcome, particularly as we expect to compete on four fronts.
So we expect some transfer activity, without doubt. But we also expect, that if they remain fit for most of the season, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris will continue to demonstrate that they are world class players, in an incredibly strong team. Oh, and Harry Kane will probably open his account sometime in September, and end up with a hat full of goals. Normal service resumed.