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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Tough conditions negotiated, what's next in the title race

Another game ticked off, another solid performance and another three points on a night when most of our rivals did the same.

We remain 5 points behind Leicester and 2 points behind Manchester City ahead of Watford at home at the weekend. Leicester city's next fixture is away to Manchester City which provides us with an opportunity to make things even more congested at the top.

Of course, every Spurs fan will be delighted we moved up a place into third while Arsenal fans see red, their team dropping points again, this time at home to Southampton. Some people were mistakenly calling them title favourites no so long ago. They do have Bournemouth up next and then they play Leicester City at home.

Mauricio Pochettino was obviously as delighted as we were with the result last night in what was a tough night for the players with such a strong wind affecting the flight of the ball.

“It was fantastic from the beginning. Our plan was to try to make it difficult for Norwich. It always helps when you score an early goal and the team showed a lot of maturity and consistency. I felt very proud.”

The referee had a tough night also with 30-year-old Norwich City centre-forward Dieumerci Mbokani spending all his time falling to the floor. perhaps he hasn't heard the story about crying wolf. Clearly their game plan was to win free kicks around the box and to go over at any touch. Steven Naysmith, a decent buy from Everton, did exactly the same things when with the ball in the air he looked where the defender was and made no attempt to jump for a header. Instead, he deliberately jumped into the man, went to the floor claiming a penalty. The referee was not fooled. 

To be fair to the officials, who always get abuse, but very rarely praise, they seemed to get the decisions right and referee Kevin Friend was close to them when he had to make the big calls. Our penalty was one sometimes you get, sometimes you don't, but Bassong didn't touch the ball and came in from behind. In doing so, he has to play the ball or it is a foul. It was rather soft though and I wouldn't have been happy had we conceded one like that.

To be successful we have to look forward, you can't change history, you can only make it. so what is ahead of us and our rivals. The  immediate fixtures below show a very interesting period with the top teams playing each other.

We have Watford and then a week rest before Manchester City, what do our rivals have?

Next Fixtures (Team - Position, Points, Goal Difference)
Leicester City - 1st 50 pts +18
Manchester City (a)
Arsenal (a)

Manchester City - 2nd 47pts +23
Leicester City (h)
Tottenham Hotspur (h)

Tottenham Hotspur - 3rd 45pts +26
Watford (h)
Manchester City (a)

Arsenal - 4th 45pts +15
Bournemouth (a)
Leicester City (h)

Manchester United - 5th 40pts +10
Chelsea (a)
Sunderland (a)

With another week of rest our boys will have then had a couple of weeks to recharge the batteries before a run of fixtures. It is small matters like this that are overlooked when fans who know nothing about burnout talk about burnout.

Success is attained by welcoming and facing challenges, not hiding from them or making excuses. Pochettino believes in his squad, do you? Bring on the next task.



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