Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane on Sunday typifies exactly why Andre Villas-Boas’ side deserve to be playing in the Champion’s League more than their London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.
Spurs played with quality, intelligence, ambition and, most importantly, determination. Clint Dempsey netted their equalizer on 90 minutes despite Spurs’ 52% share of possession, and 18 out of 23 shots on target but for a while it looked as if Robin van Persie’s header on 25 minutes would be the winner for United.
Spurs’ industry and endeavor earned them a point from the Premier League leaders who boast the some of the most exceptional attacking talent in the world. Yet United managed just 6 shots, 4 on target and spent long spells of the second half hemmed in to their own penalty area.
This result is just one example of how hard Spurs work for their manager, their fans, and their teammates. They are rarely outclassed, even by the best team in the country, and, unlike their rivals for the top four spot Chelsea and Arsenal (along with Everton) they rarely disappoint.
The North Londoners have lost just two games at home this season, winning 6 at home and 6 on the road. Chelsea took all three points from them at White Hart Lane back in October, adding insult to injury after the Blues swiped Tottenham’s Champion’s League spot last season.
However, despite the long list of big names the Blues brought in last summer, they simply didn’t make the grade in the Champion’s League this year and became the first winners of the competition to exit at the group stages.
Arsenal look hell bent on becoming the ‘other team in North London’ – their manager can’t seem to get his players playing for him and their 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday foregrounded how lacking in quality, desire, commitment and determination the Gunners are – they may as well have stayed in bed for the first half.
Spurs took 3 points from United at Old Trafford and a point at home – they lost 5-2 to Arsenal at the Emirates but, despite going to down to 10 men in the first half, they still gave 100 % for 90 minutes.
Come May no one can argue that the teams who put enough points on the board deserve to reap the rewards of their efforts and I have a strong suspicion that, if Spurs continue to play for each other and for their manager, their fans and for their pride, they will find themselves back in the Champion’s League next season where few could deny they probably belong.
As it stands I can’t help but feel they want it more.
Who do you think deserves to miss out this time around?
image: © Jan S0L0