Spurs toppling the Gooners was an immensely satisfying way to push forward with our quest for Champions League qualification whilst knocking theirs.
“That was your best performance this season” was a remark from a bitter Arsenal fan after we swept them aside in our North London derby victory yesterday.
Whilst he may have had a point in terms of the magnitude of the game and what the outcome meant on the one hand. On the other, I could think of several that had been better this term from a team perspective.
So, what has been our best performance so far this season?
Here is my top five…
A rather odd game to start off with, but this has as much to do with the performance of the team as well as the manager.
Andre Villas-Boas started with Gareth Bale at left back, Clint Dempsey ahead of him and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the advanced midfield role. Bale had a shocking first half, playing Bobby Zamora onside for QPR’s opener and Sigurdsson saw the game pass him by, rarely being involved.
At half time, we got to see the first real sign of AVB using his subs and tinkering with his formation to change a game. Steven Caulker came on; Jan Vertonghen went to left back; Bale to a left forward role and Clint Dempsey in to the advanced midfielder position.
After just 5 shots, 3 of which were blocked in the first half, Spurs had 15 shots and found the net twice in two minutes in the second. Jermain Defoe won the game and we witnessed the first exuberant celebratory fist pump from AVB on the sideline.
The Gooners’ Champions League hopes were dealt a major blow whilst keeping us on the trail to Europe’s top table.
Hugo Lloris and his defence were excellent, whilst the midfield were solid despite conceding possession to Arsenal’s central trio. This was a lesson in high line defending, which the Gunners got very wrong. Our two goals highlighted what we’ve been about this season, getting in-behind defences.
A clinical performance under immense pressure, but there have been better.
Alex Ferguson showed a lot of respect to Gareth Bale by using Phil Jones in a deeper role to provide cover for Rafael at right back. This served to open up the right flank for Aaron Lennon to be 1v1 with Patrice Evra and it was from here the little man created the equaliser.
Earlier in the season we had been conceding late goals, so it was testament to what a strong performance this was to score in the dying moments. But this was a team performance, with Gareth Bale nullified by the attention of Jones, Rafael and also Tom Cleverley, others came to the fore.
This was a great example of controlling a game and putting a top class side on the back foot for much of it.
Lyon tried to make a quick start and took the lead, but in the face of loud crowd, Spurs took control of the game when we could have so easily wavered.
Despite all our possession, shots at goal and territorial advantage, the French side held firm until Moussa Dembele sucked the life out of the party at the final whistle.
The Belgian’s dramatic strike at the death put us through, but this was an excellent demonstration of how to control a European tie away from home.
This was a game of two very different tactical halves, but also of one epic performance.
Spurs went for the jugular from the off, looking to hit runners cutting through the Man Utd defence from deep. We scored twice very quickly, then dropped off after the interval and defended resolutely while playing on the counter.
It was not just a first triumph at Old Trafford in 23 years, but also a victory for tactics and organisation, whilst showing everyone was behind the manager.
What’s been your favourite Spurs team performance this season?