Traditionally, November has always been a tough month. Every year we are forced to put up with the inevitable onslaught of men doing their best to look like a bunch of hillbillies and pornstars, all in the name of “charity”. It is like being forced to spend a month living in 1980’s San Francisco. But November 2015 has been particularly tough. This year we have also had to deal with ISIS being a murderous bunch of shits because they grossly misinterpreted a fictitious document and Vladimir Putin seemingly intent on starting World War III with the first person who looks at him a bit funny. It’s ironic, that we are so close to Christmas but by the 25th December, there might not be any Turkey left for anyone! But all of this pales into insignificance when you consider the enormous month that Spurs had to face, with three consecutive London derbies and a trip to Azerbaijan on the agenda. We faced Arsenal (A), West Ham (H) and Chelski (H) in the league and the mighty Qarabag in the Europa League. This is the sort of run that Spurs fans used to dread…..except for the Qarabag bit. But for once, we have come out on top.....sort of. Although 5 points from a potential 9 is nothing to write home about, it is the nature of the performances that have left us with great cause for optimism. And as a result of this fine form, the majority of our players were also busy representing England, with Tottenham now providing more England internationals to date than any other club. It’s just a shame that England are so crap nowadays…..hopefully that isn’t the reason why! Obviously, the highlight of this international break was the emergence of Dele Alli on the international stage. Not only was he awarded man of the match for his performance against France but he also scored an absolute belter from distance against our very own Hugo Lloris. It is performances like this that go a long way towards confirming that Mauricio Pochettino, much like Roman Polanski, has a great eye for a youngster.
So, to the North London derby. It is that glorious time of the year when Tottenham fans dust off their Sol Campbell lyrics, Paul Merson is inexplicably given more air time than any certified moron has ever previously been given (with the exception of Piers Morgan) and the Arsenal hierarchy try desperately to conjure up some form of atmosphere in their fancy new shrine to corporate sponsorship and prawn sandwiches. Normally, the Spursy thing to do would be to try hard for 20-25 minutes before capitulating and losing 5-1. But not this time. Spurs are no longer….Spursy. We dominated the game from start to finish and took the lead through an early Harry Kane strike. After all, he does score when he wants. Unfortunately, so does Kieran Gibbs and we succumbed to a late and thoroughly undeserved equaliser. And believe it or not, it could have been worse. On several occasions, we gave Olivier Giroud so much time and space in the box that I am surprised Steven Hawking hasn’t yet written a book about it! But thankfully, Giroud couldn’t hit a barn door. Which came as no surprise to me as I have always felt that the only thing holding his career back was his distinct lack of ability. But at the end of the day, we were easily the better team and a point away from home against our bitter rivals is not the end of the world and as the youngest team in the league, we will learn from this. As my mother always used to remind me as a child, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger……except for Polio, of course.
If we didn’t take our chances against Arsenal, we certainly did against West Ham. It was probably our best performance of the season and it put West Ham well and truly back in their little box. Mousa Dembele's renaissance continued with another phenomenal midfield performance and Harry Kane put on another striking master class, coming away with a brace. We hit the woodwork a couple of times to boot and even Kyle Walker managed to get on the scoresheet, before reverting to type and gifting Manuel Lanzini a late consolation goal. But in all honesty, West Ham have bigger issues to worry about right now. As if filling the Olympic Stadium with 54,000 cockneys on day release isn't going to be hard enough for them, they now have to deal with the looming threat of international terrorism. With ISIS becoming increasingly sinister and vocal in recent weeks, the last thing you need is for your football club to be named after the two things that they hate most in the world!!!
And finally, the Chelsea game. This must be one of the few times in recent history that we have gone into a game with Chelsea as the favourites. And Jose Mourinho treated us as such, deciding to park the very same bus that he normally reserves for the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Stoke City. Frustrating though this may be, it is actually testimony to how far we have come under Mauricio Pochettino in the last few years. That and the fact that Jose Mourinho is as negative as he is obnoxious. Because the game was a bit of a non event, the highlights actually revolved around Chelsea’s current personnel woes. Firstly, Cesc Fabregas continued his one man crusade to get Mourinho fired by putting in the most laughable performance I have since seen Chris Armstrong made his England debut. His highlights reel for the game lasted about 30 seconds and his only telling contribution was blasting a quick free kick into the face of his own team mate. I suppose this proves the age old adage that at Chelsea, form is temporary but class is….well, also temporary. And then there is Diego Costa, the most petulant, bib throwing 27 year old you are ever likely to see. And whilst we are on the subject, there is no way that this guy is 27 unless he is suffering from the same curious case as Benjamin Button. And he certainly doesn't appear to be getting any younger. Regardless of his real age, I find it priceless that Mourinho has created a monster that he can no longer control…..kind of like when Rod Hull created Emu.
So there you have it. A difficult run of games in November has actually seen us go from top four candidates to potential title contenders in the eyes of the media. I am sure that this sort of conjecture is a little premature but I cannot remember such a level of enthusiasm around Spurs since Harry Redknapp had us gunning for the top three in the 2011/12 season. But as we all remember, on the back of this success he was widely tipped as the next coach of the national team and as a result, the wheels came off our season as he lost interest in our lowly club, choosing instead to watch constant re-runs of Mike Bassett: England Manager by way of preparation. But it's OK, lightning never strikes twice. Which is why I wasn't at all concerned when I read that Mauricio Pochettino was being touted as a future England manager in the papers this week. Thankfully, he was very quick to deny this rumour publicly and re-affirm his long term commitment to Spurs……oh no, wait.