What lessons can we draw from “The Battle of the Bridge”?

So, l know it’s been a few days but it was a lot to take in. What a game: goals, passion, hand stamping, eye gouging, snot flinging and to top it all off? A title was won. Unfortunately not what we were all longing for – but at least we could stop hoping in the back of our minds, stop wishing for terrible events to transpire and wash the Leicester first team bus into a lake.

Article by Lachlan Peters @loque91

As we look toward the last game at the Lane for the season, against a side that at the time of writing has me a bit anxious in our race to cement second place – Southampton – what lessons can we pull from the bloody battle ground of Stamford Bridge? A few stick out in my mind (there are no doubt others) but I’ve elected to pick a positive, a negative and one that can be seen through both lenses.

The Positive

Eriksen and Lamela’s excellent assists keep on coming!

Remember when Lamela came off the bench against City? Course you do. He was an injection of pure energy and skill into a game that was looking like it could easily fall away from us and remind us all of recent season’s anguish. He ran at the City defence and played a beautiful pass to Eriksen who coolly slotted past Hart in what would end up being a real highlight in an already amazing season for Spurs. Lamela has really started to prove himself this season, becoming almost indispensable in my opinion. He showed his growing worth again against Chelsea, opening his body and side footing a delicate and pinpoint ball through for Kane who finished with aplomb. It was his ninth assist of the season. Couple that with his running, awareness and willingness to get back and make a tackle, he played a great game.

Eriksen also played in a pivotal ball for us to go up by two on the night. His vision and awareness to quickly play in Son with a genius, defence-splitting ball was another testament to the stamp he has put on the creative side of our midfield. He is such a vital player for us - which of course every Spurs fan knows – but importantly, he shows up on the big occasions. Much like that sublime ball he played in for Alli to open the scoring against Manchester United, Eriksen showed us all again that we aren’t missing that much in life after Modric.

For me both these guys are ‘must starts’ in any game of magnitude for Spurs, because they have shown time and again this season that they are up to the task – no matter who the opposition is. Both of them can provide that pivotal spark and moment of genius that wins you football games, especially given the natural scoring instincts of Kane in front of them. Their assists against Chelsea were of real comfort in a game that ended up being a bit of a disappointment.

The Negative

Spurs undone again by poor defending from set pieces.

Newcastle, Leicester, West Ham, West Brom and Chelsea. These five games ended up being pivotal in the title race, and for me they were all decided by one thing – really poor defending from a corner (or a free kick near the corner in the case of Newcastle). The capitulation that opened the door for Chelsea’s confident fight back was shambolic. Alderweireld was miles away from the man he was supposed to be marking, Cahill had time to control the ball in space before picking out his shot, which Dier could only limply raise a leg toward in an attempt to block. I really do not want to criticise Dier at all. I love the boy, and he loves the club. That being said, he has been at fault for a few of the crucial goals I mentioned at the top of the paragraph. It was a shame to see the boys crumble under the weight of a corner for the second time in a week, especially as it had become a bit of a recurring theme throughout the season.

In what has become a real goal getting strategy for a lot of teams that look to block us out and frustrate our flowing attacking game, set pieces are killing us. It strikes me as odd as well; our defence is as solid as you can get; they are not wanting for height as our central pairing can dominate in the air, Dier slightly less so but he makes up for that by being a legitimate unit.

Thankfully this problem is probably the easiest to solve. I don’t see why a concerted effort by Poch in this area couldn’t produce results in a timely fashion. Defensive drilling, working on communication between Loris and the rest of the defence and an awareness that teams will be looking to exploit this more often than not should prepare us well for the new season. A concerted effort not to give away the daft free kicks in the first place would be nice too.

The Neutral

Our young squad collected the league record for yellow cards in a match.

OK, this one seems to have really divided opinion. Reddit and Twitter seemed to be equally split between fans that were encouraged by and admiring of some of the ah… “tackles”, that the boys were producing against Chelsea. Others were, less pleased. Some felt that they simply went too far, were too caught up in the antagonism, that they lost sight of playing the game and quite simply lost the plot and then a couple of points.

I have to say that I sit right on the middle of the fence here. I will admit that I quite enjoyed seeing Dier literally fly in and clean up Fabregas. I cheered. However, I also realised that it was not technically the ‘right’ thing to do, and was left wondering how he didn’t receive a red card following his endeavour to bring on ‘the painy season’.

Similarly, watching Fabregas wave his hand in front of the referees in an attempt to show them his ‘owie’, left me with a wry smile on my face. Obviously Lamela wouldn’t have meant to leave his foot there, right? 

“Eye gouge shmeye shmouge”. Except that… it kind of was. How much of this was made worse through the magic of slow motion replays? I don’t know. Perhaps some, however the reality of a very long ban for Dembele quickly doused any happiness I may have felt when seeing Diego Costa made rather uncomfortable.

You knew once Mason, Eriksen and Kane got in on the act that these tackles were being born out of frustration, which was saddening, but understandable. I can see why this was happening. And the why is what makes this into a semi-positive for me. Sure these young players cracked, but they only cracked because of how much they care about this season, this team and us, the fans. You could see the desperation, the will to win, to play hard, to not just be pushed over. It is something I want from the team I support, something that has been lacking in recent years and it is also something that I feel will help us win games and perhaps trophies in the future. If it can be properly channelled, and if Levy doesn’t go bankrupt paying fines for a hundred yellow card offences and bailing players out of sports gaol.

What do you reckon? Again, I came away from this game with pride, admittedly disappointed – but very proud nonetheless. Feel free to shout out what you thought I missed or got wrong on social media or in the comments below.


You can find me on Twitter @loque91 and for all your Spurs needs follow e-Spurs on Twitter, Facebook and all other internet platforms! The e-Spurs Podcast is also out twice weekly, so get on board!

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  1. I think the opertive word in the second half was focus. Or rather losing focus. Getting wound up always makes you lose focus. The handbags are part of that. Winding us up will be a part of many teams tactics against us. Succumbing to that will always cost us.

    Mats Anderson

  2. I think the opertive word in the second half was focus. Or rather losing focus. Getting wound up always makes you lose focus. The handbags are part of that. Winding us up will be a part of many teams tactics against us. Succumbing to that will always cost us.

    Mats Anderson


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